Xiaomi: Behind Closed Doors
BEIJING — It’s the classic underdog story that everyone loves: How Xiaomi, a barely known Chinese company, burst into the most competitive mobile handset market to become — in just five years — the world’s third largest smartphone vendor.
Close observers are familiar with some of the unusual and imaginative actions Xiaomi has taken to prevail in a cut-throat market. Its unconventional strategies include pricing a high-performance phone for less than its bill of materials, selling only on the Internet (no retail stores or third-party distributors), and using no ODMs to design a box. It limits its range of models and maintains a longer product cycle. It thrives on frequent software updates — on a weekly basis.
Grasp of Internet
Most important, Xiaomi is arguably the first consumer electronics vendor in the world who genuinely understood the power of the Internet and exploits it effectively to build trust and royalty for its brand among the masses.
Some people say that Xiaomi is all about marketing. There is certain truth to that. However, meetings with company’s executive, such as Bin Lin, president and one of the co-founders of Xiaomi, indicates pretty clearly that Xiaomi’s top managers — many from Google, Microsoft and Motorola — are not only versed in advanced technologies but are intimately engaged in the details of each of its products, both hardware and software.
Moreover, Xiaomi’s active online user forum, said to consist of 40 million members who post 200,000 messages a day, is a powerful force for keeping those managers close to their public. Who wouldn’t like to have such a huge fan base?