Xiaomi … Exponential rise of the China’s challenger to Apple

October 6, 2015

Chinese electronics business Xiaomi is an exponential business, having grown to a $67 billion valuation since launching its first “MiPhone” 4 years ago, an Android smartphone that looks remarkably like the iPhone. CEO Lei Jun says that “xiao” is about starting small the thinking big … “a single grain of rice of a Buddhist, is as great as a mountain” (“mi” stands for mobile internet). Xiaomi has been a sensation, recently selling a record 2.1 million handsets in a 24 hour flash sale (a marketing tactic that dominates in urban China), and becoming the world’s third largest smartphone maker. Jun is targeting emerging markets, having focused this year on launching into India and Brazil. Next year he launches a laptop, whilst investing heavily in content, from local language apps to TV.

One other Xiaomi product, launched last month, could actually change the world. The $15 MiBand fitness tracker does everything a Fitbit and Jawbone can do, but at a fraction of the cost. We already know (from Apple Watch) how wellbeing can engage new consumers in technology. Imagine the consumer base that MiBand could reach with such a low price point, the flow of personalized data that results from usage, and subsequent desire to connect to other devices. It might even be the “tipping point” for the internet of things, as well as Xiaomi’s grain of rice that turns it into the next Apple or Google, or both.

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