Aping Apple…

By , Jun 5, 2013

Lei Jun unveils Xiaomi Phone 2

In an irony likely not lost on executives in Cupertino, at a time when China is becoming Apple’s chief market, a Chinese smartphone maker is earning the reputation as the ‘Apple of the East.’

Xiaomi, which makes Android-powered lookalikes of the iPhone, is led by a young, brash and wealthy CEO who appears to be the second-coming of Steve Jobs.

From his jeans and dark shirt wardrobe to his company’s $1 billion balance sheet, Xiaomi’s Lei Jun, sees Apple as the template for moving China from the cheap rip-offs of yesterday to the Fortune 500 of tomorrow, according to a New York Times profile published Wednesday…

The article explains that Xiaomi was founded as a mobile startup by a group of Chinese engineers some three years ago.

They sold a cool seven million mobile phones last year “by using designs that mimic the look and feel of the iPhone and using marketing that seems right out of Apple’s playbook,” the newspaper writes.

Steve Jobs and Lei Jun
Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs (left) and Lei Jun (right). Notice any similarities?

All told, Xiaomi sold $2 billion worth of handsets in China throughout last year.

The Mi-1 smartphone, for example, sold out just two days after it was introduced in August 2011. A year later, the Mi-2 (pictured below) also quickly sold out.

Xiaomi mi-2

The company, now worth $4 billion, has attracted the attention of venture capitalists behind Qualcomm, Facebook, Groupon and Zynga, according to the profile. Although Xiaomi is now privately-held, there is talk of taking the firm public.

Like Apple, the Chinese company focuses on young people who cannot afford a smartphone. To keep costs down, Xiaomi has no distributors, selling only online.

Xiaomi Mi-2 vs iPhone 5

The tactic allows the company to sell a handset similar to the iPhone or Galaxy at half the price asked by Apple or Samsung. According to  the profile, the firm also uses many of the suppliers Apple uses, including Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer Foxconn.

Xiaomi Box (device and remote)

This has also enabled Xiaomi to leapfrog its bigger rivals. Case in point: their Xiaomi Box, pictured above and below, has many features not found on the $99 Apple TV.

Xiaomi Box (lifestyle 001)

Lei, who began his Jobs-like leadership after reading a book about the Apple co-founder during college in 1987, bristles at his critics.

“We’re not just some cheap Chinese company making a cheap phone,” he tells. “We’re going to be a Fortune 500 company.”

His language is strikingly like Jobs in his prime, explaining why Apple won’t make a cheap iPhone to satisfy Wall Street.

Ironically, of course, it was pressure from companies such as Xiaomi which is causing Apple to develop an inexpensive smartphone.

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  • M Last

    for $64?
    no thanks

  • Mr. E

    It’s still an android :/

    • Gorgonphone

      Thats the sad reality of all andriod devices! They are damn androids

    • Akshay Waitforit Doiphode

      its miui not android i guess

      • randoms

        miui is android

  • معاذ الغضية

    LOL

  • Rupinder S

    I’d like a cookie, please.

  • Brandon Weidema

    this is kinda sad actually.

  • Andrew

    This is the most brazen rip-off I’ve ever seen! And this guy is saying he wants China moving away from rip-offs? Ridiculous²!

  • seyss

    I guess nutrients found in dog’s meat give you tendencies to copy other people’s ideas

    • Chuck Finley

      Well aren’t you an ignorant, racist, redneck piece of shit.

      • Kurt

        he’s not white you racist

      • seyss

        cry more you hypocrite. saying someone’s food is bad is racist now?

      • Mykel Monroe

        Dude, you’re an idiot. Asian’s don’t eat dog.

  • Guest

    COPYCATS OF THE UNIVERSE…

  • Kaptivator

    Its China…What do you expect?!?

  • http://www.be.net/glorin Glorin Chiourea

    Chinese are THE COPYCATS

    • Jack Wong

      Same as Android? Same as Samsung?

      • Bunna Chea

        and apple did not copy other people idea? Do some reading on the latest patent that apple try to apply

      • Jack Wong

        Do some reading, are you still in school?

        The original post I replied is being racist.

        It is not a big deal, it happens a lot on internet.

        This is what I am pointing at, there are copycats everywhere.

        Android = America

        Samsung = Korea

        Please do some thinking and look at the real world instead of just reading from the internet.

      • Bunna Chea

        Yes I am to get higher education than you. I’m saying is apple also copy other not just samsung

      • Jack Wong

        I am so glad that you are back.

        Welcome to the real world.

    • cmmb

      No copy

    • cmmb

      The real price of mobile phone.

      • Jack Wong

        The best one is here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

    The moment you realize the iPhone 5 in the graphic is an iPhone 4.

  • Amad

    I guess his found a way of making big money.

  • Gorgonphone

    Umm so he is copying apple style but using crappy android?? = fail omg super fail ….

  • Ricky

    Not satisfies copying products, now they copy people. Good job chinesr

  • Bob

    I would like 20 mins with that girl.

    • Jack Wong

      Really???? She looks like an alien…

      • Bob

        That’s not a nice thing to say is it Mr Jack Wong? :P

        I’ve never had intercourse with an oriental lady, wouldn’t mind giving it a go.

      • Jack Wong

        hahaa~ you know what, I didn’t look at that picture at all, not until I see your post. Then I scroll up… omg :x I didn’t believe that… and scroll all the way up… lol

    • batongxue

      To last for 20 seconds? LOL

      • Bob

        Why would I ask for 20 mins if I would only last for 20 seconds?

        I’m assuming you suffer from premature ejaculation which is why you’re venting your anger?

      • batongxue

        Jesus, chill out.
        Either you do not have a sense of humor, or I accidentally reopened your wounds in sexual ability. I hope it’s the former one.

    • la79

      You mean 1 right?

  • cmmb

    壮哉我大中华帝国!

    • X8QU4Ot

      笑尿

    • batongxue

      低调

    • Sputnik09

      exactly

  • iosPixel

    It’s worth saying the MIUI rom is actually pretty cool. Without it this phone wouldn’t be half as successful.

  • solo32

    Will it work in other countries or just china?

  • YzMENTALzY

    One question tho … Will it BLEND?

  • Richard Borkovec

    I love how all the comments here are all complaining and calling Xiaomi a copycat, instead of being glad that someone is looking at working to make China more in the 21st Century. China still is a poor country overall, but is slowly opening up to the world and the wealth of the people is growing. It’s nice to see someone who is looking to help fill the void in the meantime with phones everyone can afford.

  • JoshuaHulgan

    Wow, and people thought Samsung was bad…

  • Nirvana

    cheap??? p-lease! I don’t use any of those copycats’ products! Horrible!

  • inf3rn0

    This seriously sickens me. I’m not discriminating, I half chinese, but why can’t these people build their own future? Why must they follow in the footsteps of others? To me, it’s a sign of laziness. They can be inspired by others, but at least try to create something new.

  • Isa Altintas

    I used a MI-2 for a few months, and that device was pretty neat. Amazing camera and speed on it.

    • Ashton wilson

      YAY!! Something positive for once!!:D

  • Mykel Monroe

    Aaaaaactually I’ve been dating an Asian girl for the past five years and have never met a single Asian that eats dog. Saying that everyone in a race eats a certain food is both stereotypical and false.

    Thanks for the link. Nice try.

    • la79

      Nice try? You said Asian’s don’t eat dog. They do but not all of them. I never said all of them do. You assumed I did. Also, just because you are “dating” an Asian person doesn’t mean you are well versed in all things Asian. Get a clue.

      • Mykel Monroe

        I’m pretty well versed when it comes to the average asian diet. I apologize that I assumed you were agreeing that asians are a bunch of dog eaters.

      • seyss

        you homosexuals are so bipolar

      • Mykel Monroe

        You stalkers are so witty behind computer screens.

  • Disasterjunkie

    I’ll buy the phone if I can’t … I hate iPhone.