When people talk about mobile phone vendors they typically cite three to five companies, but truth is there are many, many more. There’s a countless number of brands in China that most consumers will never hear about because those firms are ultra focused on feeding local demand. Xiaomi is one of those companies. This month they turn two years old, and though you’re likely not familiar with their name, you’ve probably heard of the Android ROM they make: MIUI.
Now we spend every waking minute of our lives deriding HTC, Samsung, Sony, and everyone else for tweaking Android just to create some artificial form of “differentiation”, but MIUI is different. It’s much more than a skin, it’s a total reworking of the Android user experience. But how do you make money on an Android ROM? You don’t, you need to make hardware, and that’s how the Xiaomi Phone was born.
Because Xiaomi doesn’t have any retail stores, doesn’t hire an army of developers, and depends on cheap labor and cheap components, they were able to sell a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon smartphone with 1 GB of RAM and a 4 inch 800 x 480 pixel resolution screen for a hair over $300. They sold 300,000 preorders in just 34 hours, and they’ve been selling more ever since, though in very small volume.
According to PandoDaily, the CEO of Xiaomi expects to sell over 5 million phones by the end of this year. He’s confident in saying that too because he just got an undisclosed sum of money from a new funding round that values his company at $4 billion. To give you an idea of how crazy that is, Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion; Nokia’s market cap is about $10.4 billion.
Will you ever see a Chinese handset company become the next
Nokia Samsung? Sure, just look at Huawei and ZTE, they’re in the lead, but that still doesn’t mean that there are other people in China looking to shake things up.
[Image Credit: Engadget]