A new video out of Bloomberg details just exactly how a once unknown Chinese phone company has able to leapfrog the household names in technology and become the sixth largest mobile handset company in the world, and the third largest in China. Xiaomi was founded back in 2010 and went the total opposite direction in terms of strategy from Apple and Samsung. Making Android powered devices, Xiaomi has focused devices with high build quality and excellent performance.
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For instance, Xiaomi spends no money on TV marketing, and you can’t buy its devices in retail stores. The company relies entirely on word of mouth for its marketing, and so far, it appears to be working, especially in China. The company takes the money that it would spend on marketing and retail overhead and uses it to further drive down the cost of its devices. A Xiaomi device in China runs around $200, while an iPhone, as we all know, runs upwards of $700.
In 2013, Apple sold 23.1 million smarpthones in China, while Xiaomi was close behind, selling 18.7 million. In Q1 of 2014, Xiaomi sold 10.4 million smartphones, while Apple sold 9 million. This puts Xiaomi ahead of Apple for the first time.
Xiaomi also built up a strong executive team. The company was able to snag Hugo Barra from Google, in addition to executives from Microsoft. Barra was the VP of Android at Google before leaving for his “dream job” at the Chinese company. Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun was already a technological giant in China before founding the company, which of course gave it some legitimacy early on. Jun has been referred to as the “Steve Jobs of China” on several occasions
More recently, Xiaomi announced the miPad, which looks eerily similar to the iPad Mini, but runs Android instead. The company also recently launched a smart TV that it claims supports AirPlay. All of Xiaomi’s devices bare a strong resemblance to Apple’s, albeit with Android, but so far the company has run into any legal troubles.