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The Inspiring Story of Xiaomi (Mi)- A Very Successful Start-up

A Xiaomi Mi A1 Smartphone
 A Xiaomi Mi A1 Smartphone (Picture credit: FOX from Pexels

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the success story of Xiaomi.
This start-up company became the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer within just eight years of entering the smartphone market.
Xiaomi is a Chinese tech giant, headquartered in Haidian District, Beijing, China.


About the founder-

Lei Jun was born on 16 December 1969 in Xiantao, China.
He attended Wuhan University.
In in the year 1992, he started his career as an engineer in Kingsoft.
Lei Jun was so capable, that in the year 1998 he became the CEO of Kingsoft.
So, it took him just six years to become the CEO.
And in the year 2000, Lei Jun founded, an online book store.
This initiative by Lei Jun was very successful and in the year 2004, he sold to for 75 million US dollars.
After tasting this success, Lei Jun decided to do something bigger.

The story of Xiaomi-

On 6th April 2010, Lei Jun along with a team of 7 members founded Xiaomi Company with an initial investment of 2.5 billion dollars.
Xiaomi started its journey as software based company.
Xiaomi created a new custom ROM on Google’s Android operating system. They named their firmware as MIUI.
MIUI provided extra functionality to the Android, like providing a cloud back-up, an easy to use music player, etc.
The installation of MIUI was very simple and did not require much technical expertise; this installation can be done by using MIUI express APK file.
This ROM was an immense success and was ported to many mobile devices.
Xiaomi mainly targeted the young Chinese population, which includes college students and young adults who just started their career.

Launching its own smartphones-

And in the year 2011, Xiaomi finally entered the hardware business field.
Xiaomi launched its first smartphone Mi1 in 2011, which was an instant hit.
Mi1 was an affordable mobile phone with top quality hardware and the best specifications at that particular price range.
And in the next year, Xiaomi launched its next generation smartphone Mi 2.
Mi 2 sold over 10 million units in just 11 months.
This mobile was sold in markets like USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand with the help of the Mobicity Company.
In the year 2012, Xiaomi shipped over 7.2 million smartphones and in the next year this number skyrocketed to 18.7 million units.
In the first quarter of 2014 alone Xiaomi shipped a humongous 11 million smartphones. This number is much greater than the total number of Xiaomi mobile device sales in the previous year.
The demand for Xiaomi smartphones continued to soar, year after year because this company provided mobile phones with great specifications with an affordable price tag.

Expanding globally-

Xiaomi later hired Hugo Barra in 2013, to help Xiaomi expand out of china.
Hugo Barra was a former Vice President of product management at Google.
He played a vital role in finding new markets for Xiaomi to expand.
So, Xiaomi started its business in foreign lands like Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.
At the end of the 2013, MIUI garnered over a whopping 30 million users worldwide.
This company achieved such a feat at a very short time, which was very impressive.
In the year 2014, the MIUI was available for over 200 devices. This ROM was made available in both English and Chinese languages.

The world’s most valuable start-up-

In December 2014, Xiaomi was the world’s most valuable start-up company. During this period, this company was valuated at 46 billion dollars and received a total funding of 1.1 billion dollars from numerous investors.
Also in 2014, Xiaomi launched Mi Band, a wearable fitness tracker. This product was priced very aggressively at just 13 dollars.
During this same year, Lei Jun became the Forbes Asia's 2014 Businessman Of The Year for his contributions to the technical world.
Also during year, Xiaomi was ranked as the third most innovative company by Fast Company, for recreating the smartphone business model.
And in 2015, Xiaomi achieved a new milestone by selling 70 million smartphones around the globe.
Now, Lei Jun is the 143rd richest person in the world.

Entering India and making India its second biggest market-

Xiaomi entered India in July 2014.
In 2015, Xiaomi launched its Mi4i mobile.
This mobile was made available in India through Flipkart, a leading e-commerce platform in India.
Around 1 lakh Xiaomi mobile units got sold in just 4.2 seconds.
And after this success Xiaomi never turned back again and launched many successful smartphone models.
During the year 2015, Xiaomi was the world’s fifth largest smartphone brand and Xiaomi captured over 5 per cent of the global market share.

The smart company-

In the year 2015, Xiaomi was the ranked the second smartest companies in the world, only after Tesla motors by the MIT technology review.

More than just hardware-

In addition to creating nifty hardware, Xiaomi also makes great software and provides internet services.
They develop all these by engaging requests and feedback from the Xiaomi users.

The success secret-

The main reason for the success of Xiaomi can be attributed to its pricing strategy, which is offering great products at very affordable prices.
This strategy immensely helped Xiaomi to capture the world-wide market in just a few years.
Here, Xiaomi implemented a unique strategy that unlike other companies Xiaomi did not market its products through the traditional marketing channels but instead initially relied only on social media marketing.
Also, Xiaomi initially did not have any retail outlets or stores, and Xiaomi sold all its products directly to its customers through the online channels.
So, Xiaomi was able to deliver its products at very competitive prices because it had cut all its expenses on traditional marketing, expenses for maintaining offline stores and employees for that offline stores.
Initially, Xiaomi also implemented flash sale model, which did the marketing job very well.
In the flash sales, a limited number of mobiles are sold, on a first come first serve basis.
As the Xiaomi mobiles are very good, the word of mouth publicity from its consumers also did marketing.
It’s online selling model, enabled Xiaomi to even eliminate warehousing and distribution costs and finally the cost of feeding the middlemen was also eliminated.

The mobile internet company-

Xiaomi sees itself as a mobile internet company not just as a typical mobile company.
Xiaomi utilises its hardware (mobile phones) to sell its software services, advertisements and content.
This business strategy was also adopted by Amazon.
This particular philosophy of Xiaomi, took this company to great heights.
Another main pillar in the success of Xiaomi is building a loyal fan base and keeping in touch with them through the social media.

Entering the drones business-

On May 25th 2016, Xiaomi disrupted drones business by launching Mi Drone, which was a quadcopter with a three-axis gimbal and a 4K camera and used a smartphone as a remote controller and viewfinder.         
The Mi Drone had premium components at a very reasonable cost; this drone gave a very tough competition to the already established players like DJI.
This 4K Mi Drone costed just 460 dollars compared to the 4K drones from DJI which costed above a thousand dollars.
And the 1080p version of the Mi drone retailed at 480 dollars.

Playing a vital role in IoT-

Xiaomi cannot be just considered as a smartphone company but can be considered as an Internet of Things (IoT) and a lifestyle company.
The MIUI software connects all the Xiaomi devices like air purifiers, Xiaomi smartphones, etc.

Experiencing setbacks and recovering successfully-

Since 2015, Xiaomi sales started to plummet and the company failed to meet its revenue targets for two years in a row.
This can be explained, as other Chinese manufacturers copied the business model of Xiaomi of launching great mobiles at affordable prices, as a result some market share of Xiaomi had been captured by other mobile manufacturers.
And the second reason behind the fall in sales can be attributed to the focusing of Xiaomi solely on online sales channels while completely ignoring offline sales channels.
As more than 50 per cent of the mobile sales occur only through the offline channel, this ignorance costed them dearly.
But, its growth in India was not challenged and has only seen success since the 2014.

Finally entering the offline market-

And in the year 2017, Xiaomi entered the offline market in India by inaugurating Mi Stores.
Additionally, Xiaomi also partnered with other big smartphone retailers like Reliance Digital, Cromā, etc.
Even after entering the offline market, Xiaomi is still maintaining its affordable pricing strategy.
Then, Xiaomi also focused on marketing through print media and broadcast media.
Now, in 2019 Xiaomi is the India’s biggest smartphone manufacturer surpassing even Samsung.

Wide range of products-

Xiaomi in addition to smartphones also sells a wide range of products which include tablets, network routers, fitness bands and sleep trackers, smart televisions, Set Of Boxes, air purifiers, blood pressure monitors, action cameras, water purifiers, rice cookers, segaways, laptops, power banks, USB fans, LED lights, etc.

The best Xiaomi smartphones-

The great mobile offerings by mi in the year 2019 include Mi Mix 3, Mi 8 Pro, Redmi  Note 7 Pro, Mi 9, Pocofone F1 (the most affordable flagship in the world), Mi A2 (experience pure stock android, with regular security updates directly form Google on a Xiaomi phone), Mi 8, Redmi 6, etc.
The most innovative smartphone from Xiaomi was Mi MIX, it had a 6.4 inch screen, with a screen to body ratio of 91.3 per cent and the body of this mobile was made from ceramic. This phone had the minimum bezels on its display at its time.
Also, this mobile had no ear-piece; its whole display vibrates to produce sound.

Other interesting things about Xiaomi-

  • Lei Jun, the co-founder and CEO of Xiaomi, always believes that high quality technology doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
  • Xiaomi is fondly called as the Apple of China due to its popularity, but Lei Jun hates this comparison.
  • In the Chinese language, Xiaomi means little rice or millet.
  • Many find it difficult to correctly pronounce the word Xiaomi.
  • The Xiaomi’s mascot is a bunny by name Mitu.
  • The letters in Mi stand for mobile internet; these letters also stand for mission impossible because in its initial days Xiaomi faced numerous challenges.
  • Xiaomi also organises Mi Fan Festivals, during this day Xiaomi offers discounts and offers on its various products.
  • Xiaomi created a new Guinness world record in the year 2015 for selling the most number of smartphones (2.11 million units) in a single day through its online platform,
  • The Xiaomi has disrupted each and every market it entered within a very short span of time; this explains the scale of success of Mi.

If you use a Xiaomi smartphone or any Xiaomi product, please mention your experiences in the comment section.

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