The success story of Xiaomi: From a software company to a leading smartphone manufacturing brand

The amazing story of Xiaomi and MIUI, from their humble beginnings, to their huge success in India, to their global success and domination. Read on to find out more.........

Xiaomi, in Chinese, roughly translates to “Little Rice” or “Millet”. The general idea is derived from a concept that emphasizes on starting with very little, and eventually growing into something major and hugely relevant.

Their logo might not look that fascinating, it is just two letters ‘M’ and ‘I’. It is obviously a short hand of Xiaomi, but it also stands for “Mobile Internet” and “Mission Impossible”.

They started out as an internet and software company about three years after the first version of Android. They released their software MIUI that had a lot of customization when compared to stock android at the time. This was back in the 2010-2011 era though. From 2011 to 2014, Xiaomi saw crazy levels of growth, becoming the biggest smartphone company in China. They have spinoff brands like Poco, Redmi and Black Shark. And now they are one of the top five smartphone companies in the world.

Lei Jun is the founder and CEO of Xiaomi. Along with a couple of co-founders, he designed the   heavily customizable Android skin MIUI in 2010.

Must Read: Xiaomi smartphones between 12,000 and 15,000: Which one is the absolute best?

It took them a whole year, until 2011, to make their first smartphone. Their main focus was high quality hardware at practical and lower costs.

Though the company does sell wearables, televisions and other products, what they are mainly known for is smartphones and their Android skin MIUI.

Xiaomi is straight up competing with BBK Electronics Companies in India, like Real me, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and IQOO. It also offers tough competition to Samsung and Huawei in the flagship as well as mid-range department. It has knocked off Apple in a few countries in terms of sales and from 2019 onwards the flagships produced by Xiaomi are very strong competitors to Huawei, Apple and Samsung.

In 2011 when Xiaomi got a lot of success in China for their affordable Mi series of smartphones, in 2013, they introduced the Redmi lineup and brought in more smartphones. The Redmi lineup of phones targets regular users and the masses, while the Mi lineup is geared towards more premium customers.

With the Mi 3, Xiaomi entered India in 2014. They launched the Mi Band, their first wearable, priced at 999 rupees and it sold like crazy.

They tackled India with aggressively priced highly competitive smartphones with great hardware for the price. In 2015, they began manufacturing their own smartphones to bring shipping costs down and to cater to Indian customers.

In 2017, they opened the first Mi Home Store in India (Bangalore), to sell phones offline and also try to gain further sales in the Indian offline smartphone market.

In 2018, Xiaomi surpassed Samsung in India to become the largest seller of smartphones in India.

2019, they sold over a 100 Million smartphones in India in just five years, which is a very impressive feat.

In 2020, Poco was made into a separate sub brand of Xiaomi and Poco has launched some crazy devices like the F1, X2, X3 etc.

Another fact about Xiaomi is that is has only 20,000 full time employees globally, which is comparatively really less. But the magnificent success tells otherwise. They now sell devices in over 90 countries and it is the leading seller in a lot of these.

Xiaomi only gets around two dollars of profit per smartphone to keep the prices practical, the 2 dollar figure becomes very significant when you count the number of units sold. Xiaomi has just shown insane levels of growth, not just in India, but globally. So much so, that there are many blogs online dedicated to Xiaomi, just like Xiaomi Central.

Recent achievements of Xiaomi include 200 W Wired Charging and 120 W Wireless Charging that can charge a smartphone fully in just 8 minutes without damaging the battery health. They also announced that they were successful in developing a wireless charging system that charges your phone at 5 Watts directly through the air, provided you are in close proximity to the wireless “air” charger. They also made a 360-degree wraparound smartphone (called the Mi Mix Alpha), a smartphone with a Quad Curved waterfall like display, foldables, and further leaks suggest that a Mi Mix Alpha 2 might launch with a wraparound display and a front camera hidden underneath the display.

We have covered some of those leaks in the below articles:

Also Read: Flagship Xiaomi Foldable Phone with Snapdragon 888 To Be Launched In The Last Few Months Of 2021!, Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 brings in display camera to mainstream smartphones, likely to be pricier than Mi 11 Ultra, Xiaomi’s NEW Flagship Smartphone Could Debut With The Snapdragon 895!

And let us talk about the naming scheme of Xiaomi smartphones. They have sub brands like Mi, Redmi, Poco and Black Shark. To name their smartphones, they take a combination of these, add a number to it and then add the words Lite, Pro or Ultra or they add a letter like T, S or whatever. It is straightforward for their flagships and their note series but for the rest of them it is just not. The Redmi Note 9S is a better version of the Redmi Note 9. But then the Redmi 3S is worse compared to the Redmi 3. So it is very unclear what the letter signifies, so people just fly with it.

Also, to shorten their webpage from xiaomi.com to mi.com, they had to pay 3.6 Million Dollars just for a domain name swap.

No Xiaomi article is complete without talking about MIUI. It is a modified custom software skin of Android with a lot more customization, options and features compared to stock android, which people like, but it also has a few things that people did not. Back in 2019 they used to add random advertisements literally in every possible place they could find, until the Indian government had to ban them. Now, MIUI is completely ad free except for some unnecessary and useless bloatware and also the annoying “Get Apps” which is the Xiaomi alternative to play store. Get Apps sends unnecessary ads in the form of notifications and sometimes installs apps randomly after OTA Updates. MIUI is built on Android but it has a whole slew of features like changing themes and custom fonts, resizing the home screen and changing its layout, good animations and overall more control and customization than you will ever need.

People however do not like the inconsistencies, bugs, errors, glitches and poorly formatted and sized icons (in some cases), and it also famously known for poor RAM Management. Thankfully the advertisements situation has improved now but MIUI has a long way to go if it wants the reputation it had initially. Thankfully, Xiaomi did hire a Pioneer team to analyze, diagnose and fix all these issue with MIUI to refine and make the user experience smoother and better, which we covered in this article here:

Must Read: MIUI Experience might finally improve a lot: Xiaomi sets up a new team for UI Enhancement

We are going to conclude this article with the possible future plans of Xiaomi. They want high quality innovation tailored to everyone but also practical prices and good experience. They are looking to take 5G Technology further and also introduce crazy charging speeds along with in display front cameras that retain quality. We expect to see a lot of innovative and experimental and some even concept devices from Xiaomi in Q3 and Q4 of 2021. It is going to be a very exciting year. Let us know what you think of the success story of Xiaomi from very humble beginnings to a leading smartphone global manufacturing brand. We also covered their recent products, the Mi 11 Lite and the Mi Watch Revolve Active, on this site, be sure to check them out, link to them is down below.

22nd June Event: Is the Mi Watch Revolve Active a considerable upgrade over last year’s model?, Mi 11 Lite with 10 BIT 90Hz Full HD+ AMOLED Panel Launched in India! The true mid range killer?

Thanks a lot for reading.

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Chandan
Chandan is the founder of Xiaomi Central. He’s also a tech journalist at dealntech. He writes on Mobile and Android-related news. Keeping the contents as simple as possible with proper information is his goal. He enjoys researching all kinds of tech products, especially fascinating latest mobile phones and gadgets. In his free time, he loves playing mobile games.

3 Comments

  1. The long journey from software to smartphone is nicely brought out.Chinese have this ability to excel in manufacturing sector thanks to their exposure world trade and business particularly US.They hv excelled and experts in producing goods at affordable prices to common man with compromise in technology.Good work Sudhansu.Nice article which unfurled the success story.Great!!!

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