You’d think it would be pretty hard to deny that Chinese Android phone and tablet manufacturer Xiaomi copies Apple – yet that’s exactly what former Google exec and now Xiaomi’s global vice president Hugo Barra tried to do in an interview with The Verge.

Allegations of it copying Apple are “sweeping sensationalist statements because they have nothing better to talk about,” he says.

Well, let’s see …

Let’s start with the company’s phones. Admittedly they don’t look much like iPhones, but they are called … the Mi Phone. Still, I’m sure that’s coincidence.

Then there’s the company’s tablet. No prizes for guessing the name of that. And here’s what the Mi Pad looks like – remind you of anything?


Barra says that’s coincidence, too.

“If you have two similarly skilled designers, it makes sense that they would reach the same conclusion,” he argues. “It doesn’t matter if somebody else has reached the same conclusion.”

Let’s look at the marketing materials. Hmm, anyone ever seen spec boxes like these anywhere before?


What about a product launch. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but there’s something about a company CEO on a stage wearing blue jeans and a black turtleneck that looks somehow familiar …


Still, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun toned it down today, swapping the turtleneck for a t-shirt as he introduced the company’s new wearable, the Mi Band. Sacha Pallenberg tweeted this photo of Lei Jun’s original approach to the launch, making a smaller announcement first and then introducing it with the words …


But hey, two similarly skilled presenters are going to reach the same conclusion about how best to spring a surprise, right?

Top image credit: Business Insider

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13 Responses to “Xiaomi VP and former Google exec (unconvincingly) denies the company copies Apple”

  1. standardpull says:

    Like all of these nothing-to-lose knock-offs, they immediately go into a tailspin once Apple releases their new handsets and their clone machines are a year out of date.


    • silas681 says:

      Just not true in the case of Xiaomi. They are kicking Samsungs ass and dominate the Chinese market (as big as Europe and the states combined). The only hope is that the Chinese people that I met were in love with the west and the designs that are produced here. The real test will be when Xiaomi start to export large numbers of cheap android devices with Apple styling to Europe and the States.

      This is a similar situation to the manufacture of cars. Currently western brands are high profile and common in China, but they can make a perfectly useable and attractive car cheaper than we can.


  2. silas681 says:

    I am currently imagining ‘Hugo’ wincing as he reads this article……… Or maybe laughing all the way to bank knowing that the obvious copying is making them money and recognising that Apple can do little about it.

    Having visited China myself last year there is an underlying lack of understanding by established and emerging design professionals that IP is valuable. The university I went to didn’t mind using pirated software for example.


    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Your university software example is pretty telling about just how widespread the attitude appears to be.


      • silas681 says:

        I was shocked by that. Lecturers and professors saying that software piracy is rife in education and industry. Anecdotal but true I suspect. I don’t want to sound to like a racist though, we were treated very well by the most hospitable people I have ever come across. This is a real cultural difference regarding the value of IP. As it is all we have to hang onto as we have given the Chinese all our money for the past 30 years so they can make cheap stuff for us, we would think that IP is important!!!!!! (Balanced argument? Trying!)


  3. “If you have two similarly skilled designers” don’t make me laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For me Xiaomi is another cheap copy-cat, nothing else. There should be an organisation that is accepted worldwide and is able to close companies like this because this is not accepted in a normal world.


  5. This son of b****arbeque a**whole even dares to deny all the most freaking obvious, biggest and shameless EXACT millimeter by millimeter copy (except for quality and android on board!!) ….and so much lacking fantasy and talent that even presentation texts and clothing style must be copied! Apple should turn their attention from Shamesung to this Ni-hao-Mi insanity and stop, cost what it cost!


  6. Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    Yikes. Between them and Samsung it’s a tough call to choose who is imitating more.


  7. YU No says:

    This company is so ridiculous and pathetic that is somewhat funny. Mr. Hugo Barra, once a respectable executive, really embarrases himself with these kind of declarations.

    I agree Xiaomi should be stopped the moment they try to expand to other countries or export their goods with all the strength of the law.


  8. I wonder if they came to the same conclusion to use Keynotes to create their presentation too….


  9. 89p13 says:

    “Allegations of it copying Apple are “sweeping sensationalist statements because they have nothing better to talk about,” he says.”

    And all his company can do is to copy the leaders as they have no “vision” of their own.