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Unread 2015-08-22, 12:17 PM   #1
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Default Why Xiaomi is Apple's biggest threat in China (and soon, everywhere else)






When the new iOS 9 comes out this fall, Apple's iPhone Maps app will finally offer public-transit directions. At first, the feature will be available for just 10 cities worldwide. Except in China, that is, where it's launching in more than 300 localities at once.
This is just the latest indication of how much Apple cares about China and its booming class of affluent consumers, which Tim Cook has said he expects to become Apple's largest market. If he's right, it will be because the company has figured out how to fend off one of the most unstoppable forces the tech industry has ever seen: Xiaomi.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun in 2010 and headquartered in Beijing, Xiaomi announced its first smartphone in 2011. A little over three years later, research firm IDC declared Xiaomi to be the industry's third biggest player in terms of global unit sales, trailing only Samsung and Apple. Nearly all of the 61 million handsets it produced in 2014 were for the Chinese market.
In the West, Xiaomi has a reputation for shamelessly cribbing the iPhone's stylistic cues and applying them to dirt-cheap phones. That's clearly Apple design honcho Jonathan Ive's take: "I think it's theft, and it's lazy," he snapped, when asked about the company at a conference last October.
Xiaomi is doing too many interesting things to be dismissed as a mere Apple wannabe, though. Its Mi smartphones appeal to "a technically inclined, geeky, typically younger sort of customer who can't afford a top-of-the line Apple or Samsung phone," says Ben Thompson, whose Stratechery blog is avidly followed by tech-industry insiders. Xiaomi sells Android phones with fast chips, high-resolution screens, and other potent technologies via its own website—often via flash sales—and foregoes profits on hardware, instead generating them from its marketplace for apps, games, and other content. It rolls out weekly software updates based on input from its online community of fans, who spot bugs and propose new features. And it's using its muscle as a direct marketer to enter other product categories, ranging from 4K TVs to air purifiers.


None of this has prevented Apple from thriving in China, though, where the iPhone's powerful image as a luxury item helps it continue to command a high price tag. In fact, for two quarters in a row, Apple has sold more smartphones in the country than Xiaomi has.
The companies' global ambitions will increasingly collide, as Xiaomi has begun experimenting in markets outside China. It recently moved to sell accessories like headphones and activity trackers in the U.S. and Europe, though many of the factors that make the company a phenomenon back home—such as Lei's local celebrity—are moot here in the States. Xiaomi also lacks the sort of patent portfolio that would shield it from intellectual-property lawsuits from Apple or other companies. Meanwhile, its value proposition—high specs at low prices—may not resonate in fully developed economies. "In the U.S., the sort of person Xiaomi is competing for just doesn't exist," says Thompson. "Most geeks and enthusiasts can afford an iPhone."
A more promising battleground for Xiaomi could be India, where it has been wildly promoting the Mi4 and is setting up local manufacturing (to help it bring the price tag of its devices even lower), and where the free-spending types who snap up iPhones are scarcer than in China. There's also Brazil, which Xiaomi entered by storm in June with its $160 Redmi 2. (The iPhone retails for more than $1,000 in the country.) As Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, puts it, these are "very big markets nowhere near saturated, where Xiaomi's strategy could do really well." Which is why Apple's home turf feels like safe ground—at least for now.
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Unread 2016-10-31, 10:12 PM   #2
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Outside China, Xiaomi seeks another home on US networks

It'll have to pass the tough carrier lab tests first, though.










Xiaomi's Global VP Hugo Barra holding a Mi Note 2 and a Mi MIX.












October 9th marked Hugo Barra's third year at Xiaomi, and as its Global Vice President, he watched the company evolve from a China-centric smartphone e-tailer to an IoT ecosystem with a growing international footprint. Xiaomi's recently entered Russia, Mexico and the Middle East, with Poland, Vietnam, Thailand plus a couple other Latin American markets next on the docket. But the long list is still missing one key region: the US. While the ex-Googler continues to stay mum on a launch date, he did reveal to Engadget that his team has already started testing phones in America. Such commitment is an important milestone ahead of the notoriously tough US carrier lab tests.




You see, US mobile networks use odd bands that aren't widely adopted in most parts of the world. So, to ensure compatibility, the local major carriers are notoriously tough when it comes to testing phones that want to be deployed across their networks. The well-established mobile companies are happy to oblige, of course, because selling their devices through the big US carriers guarantees sales volume due to their channels and customer base. More importantly, they're already familiar with the process and requirements; whereas Xiaomi, a relatively newcomer, is not.
A US launch may happen as soon as 2017.
This means Barra and his team have to practically start from scratch, in the sense that they have to learn everything about the testing methods and be physically set up shop in the US. The company has embraced the idea of going global under Barra's guidance, and Xiaomi is finally willing to make the investment, but he reckoned it will take a year or two before the company is ready for the US. Barra didn't reveal when exactly his team started this project, but based on his mention of a couple of test devices, my guess is that a US launch may happen as soon as 2017.
"Earlier this year we had a special version of Mi 5 that we made just for testing in the US, just so that we can start testing and doing small-field trials to sharpen our chops, if you will," Barra said. "And now we have Mi Note 2 which is another device that we can use for some field testing in the US. That's again just another small step in the right direction or in the direction of being able to launch full-on products there."

Of course, Xiaomi could just follow other Chinese brands and sell directly to US consumers. After all, Xiaomi is already offering its accessories and 4K Android TV box in its US online store (and also Walmart for the latter). But judging by Barra's emphasis on the carrier lab tests, his company appears to have already made up its mind. To make his point, Barra brought up how a Chinese brand -- no names mentioned here -- launched a phone in the US almost a year ago, but "it ended up being a complete flop." The reason was simple: It lacked Band 17 which is used on AT&T's LTE network, but said brand wrongly assumed that it wouldn't be an issue at the time (so it's pretty obvious which phone that was). Had that company worked more closely with either AT&T or T-Mobile, it would have been a completely different story.
"We're not going to launch something until we're ready," Barra said in reference to the technical preparation and team bandwidth required for a US launch.
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Unread 2016-11-01, 12:33 PM   #3
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I hope they do, i qas wanting to get redmi note 3 pro vut found out it wont work on US carriers and 4000mA/h battery. Some other nice features for 300 bucks or so. Im gonna get RN4P if it comes to US
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Unread 2016-11-01, 02:27 PM   #4
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Love those guys.
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Unread 2017-01-23, 10:45 AM   #5
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Hugo Barra, Xiaomi's international vice president, will leave his position with the Chinese smartphone maker next month, he said Sunday on Facebook
After serving as the public face and leader of global operations for Xiaomi for three and a half years, Barra said he will leave Beijing and return to Silicon Valley.
Prior to his joining Xiaomi in the summer of 2103, Barra worked as vice president of product management for Google Android and served as the division's product spokesman. He joined the then-fledgling Chinese company "with the opportunity to help turn a young rockstar startup into a global player."
His statement Sunday shed some light on his departure, citing personal reasons:
"What I've realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I've left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return."
Bin Lin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi, replied to the Facebook post, thanking Barra for his service and announcing that his role would be filled by Xiang Wang, Xiaomi's current senior vice president.
He said that Barra and Xiaomi aren't parting ways entirely. Barra will still be "working closely with [Lin] in his new role as advisor to Xiaomi."
Xiaomi pointed to Lin's statement when asked for comment.
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Unread 2017-09-26, 04:14 PM   #6
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Report: Xiaomi May Pursue A New York IPO After $69B Valuation




Xiaomi could pursue an initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) following a $69 billion valuation of the company that’s expected in 2018, some industry watchers believe, noting how the consumer electronics firm has a realistic chance of surpassing its yearly targets and concluding its fiscal year on a high note, consequently putting itself in a position that’s extremely conducive to a successful IPO. The company which already took the title of the most valuable startup in the world from Uber three years ago before losing it to the ride-hailing service provider in 2015 may now be on the track to surpass its valuation once again, tempting potential investors with an international IPO while simultaneously allowing its old backers to cash out if they so choose to.


Recent statements from the Beijing, China-based original equipment manufacturer suggested that as much as 100 billion Yuan ($15 billion) in annual revenue may be achieved this year, and the same goes for a figure of 100 million device shipments. Some investors reportedly believe that the $69 billion figure marks the firm’s current valuation, though such notions are hard to confirm or deny in light of the fact that Xiaomi is still a privately held company whose value is determined by its backers on a regular basis and isn’t prone to outside scrutiny. The recently unveiled Mi MIX 2 flagship is projected to be a strong performer for Xiaomi in the final quarter of the year, though many of its other offerings should also contribute to its nonuple-digit 2017 shipments; the firm has been doing extremely well in both its home country and India in recent times, hence recording strong performance in two of the largest smartphone markets on the planet, one of which isn’t even showing serious signs of saturation as of yet, thus showing massive sustainability potential.



The current state of affairs marks a stark contrast to how Xiaomi’s prospects were perceived come early 2017 when its founder and Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun said the company grew too fast for its own good and should refocus its efforts on sustainability instead of aggressive expansion. Nine months later, the Chinese tech giant seemingly found a way to do both and is set to conclude 2017 in an extremely positive manner, though it remains to be seen whether Xiaomi ends up pursuing an IPO as early as next year.
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Unread 2017-11-07, 10:29 AM   #7
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Lei Jun Confirms That Xiaomi Has Big Plans For Next Year





Xiaomi’s CEO, Lei Jun, spoke at the recent opening of a new, huge Mi Home store in China, and he said something rather interesting in the process. Xiaomi had unveiled its new Mi Home Shop in Shenzhen recently, in a huge space of 650 square meters, and during his speech, Lei Jun said that Xiaomi is aiming to become one of the top 500 enterprises in the world by next year, while he also expected that Xiaomi’s revenue surpasses 1 trillion Yuan in a decade, so within 10 years since the company was founded (Xiaomi was founded back in 2010).

For those of you who are unaware, Xiaomi had actually managed to ship out over 70 million smartphones this year already, which means that it beat its original goal, though it is now aiming to sell 90 million handsets by the end of 2017. Xiaomi had shipped out over 10 million smartphones in both September and October, which means that the company managed to sell 20 million smartphones in the last two months. Xiaomi’s sales are expected to go well over 80 million this year, the company will maybe even sell over 90 million handsets, and it seems like it is aiming to hit that magic 100 million number next year. Xiaomi had also managed to hit its target of 100 billion Yuan sales this year, and according to IDC’s report, Xiaomi actually managed to become the fifth largest smartphone manufacturer in the third quarter of this year, as the company managed to ship 27.6 million handsets in that quarter alone, and achieve YoY (Year-on-Year) growth of 102.6 percent, which is a considerable improvement.



Xiaomi has managed to get back to the right path this year, as the company’s sales were not exactly great for 2016. Xiaomi introduced a number of compelling smartphones this year, while the company also increased its offline presence in China, and is planning to continue doing so moving forward. It will be interesting to see how many devices will Xiaomi be able to sell by the end of this year, and will it improve its standing in China and on a global scale even further, as it’s facing fierce competition out there.
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Unread 2017-12-04, 12:15 PM   #8
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Xiaomi Wants A $50 Billion IPO Valuation At A Minimum: Report





Xiaomi is currently in the process of deliberating on an initial public offering and has been in talks with various banks on the matter, with the company’s minimum valuation target being set at $50 billion, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people close to the Chinese original equipment manufacturer. The development comes shortly after another source reported that Xiaomi is now closer to an IPO than it has ever been, stating that the firm has yet to decide whether the theoretical public listing would be made in Hong Kong or New York, though the former is presently understood to be much more likely.

Bloomberg’s sources have now reiterated the high likelihood of a Hong Kong listing but stated that no concrete decisions on the matter have yet been made. Insiders claim Xiaomi’s IPO could arrive as soon as next year, with previous reports suggesting the second half of 2018 as the most probable time frame. A $50 billion valuation would be even higher than the $46 billion one the company received as part of its last funding round in 2014, albeit its performance in the following period failed to maintain the initial momentum surrounding one of the world’s most valuable and fastest-growing startups. Still, Xiaomi managed to bounce back over the course of this year, having regained some of its performance in China and improved its prospects in India where it’s currently close to overtaking Samsung as the country’s largest phone vendor by both shipments and sales. Its rising performance in the world’s second largest smartphone market is one of the main reasons for optimism expressed by its executives, especially as India still shows no signs of saturation troubling other markets of somewhat comparable size.





An IPO would allow Xiaomi to raise billions of dollars and help further its international agenda, with the company currently having a presence in more than 60 countries and being adamant to continue its strong global push moving forward. The firm also started diversifying in recent years and is now manufacturing everything from smart speakers to air purifiers, albeit the majority of its non-smartphone offerings are still not available outside of its home country.
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