Any business started in 2010 can be easily identified as "new". And as a new business it is not likely to be well established or holding a large segment of its particular market, but this is precisely what the Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi, or Mi, has accomplished.
In just five short years the company went from a startup to one of China's premier and leading electronics firms. It is responsible for smartphones, consumer electronics, and even apps.
The company was started as a partnership seeking institutional investors. It caught the eye of such giants as Temasek, Qualcomm, and IDG Capital. By the middle of August of 2010, Mi was officially started and released its first product. This was basic Android phone firmware that was followed up less than a year later by the company's first smartphone (which arrived with their firmware already loaded).
A year after that, their next generation smartphone hit the markets and within one year of its release Xiaomi had sold more than ten million units of this particular model. This prompted the company to distribute the phones (with standard Android firmware) to many parts of the world including Australia and New Zealand, the UK, the US, and to many European countries.
Xiaomi has since launched a Smart TV, a third generation smartphone, and a retail store in Beijing. In February of 2014, the company relocated its international headquarters to Singapore, though it also has a presence in India, Indonesia, and mainland China.
The company's logo MI stands for mobile Internet, and the lineup of products reflects that focus. However, the company motto, "Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen" demonstrates that they are persistently innovating and looking for ways to provide their enormous consumer market with the tools they need.
Currently, they offer:
* Redmi Note - A small tablet with a 5.5" HD IPS display, it is loaded with a high quality camera, a performance processor, and the ability run games, apps, and websites without consuming power or generating a lot of heat.
* Redmi 1S - A dual SIM tablet with 8GB flash and the ability to handle apps, videos, web, and more. The 4.7" display has IPS tech to ensure viewing at any angle. An 8 megapixel onboard camera with a wide angle lens also adds to the appeal of this popular MI product.
* Mi 3 - Their third generation smartphone, it is the fastest the company has ever designed. Using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8274AB 2.3GHz processor, and providing 2GB of memory, it is capable of extensive use without slowing down. It has a 5" display in HD, is lightweight and thin, but constructed of durable materials for many years of use.
* Mi Power Bank - The company's premium batteries, they feature 10400mAh and will give extra life to any of the company's devices.
They also make a popular line of accessories for all of their products including battery chargers, extra batteries, skins, cases, and headphones.
Xiaomi translates to "millet" or "little rice", but the company's founder insists that there is more to the name than that. He explained that the company name has something to do with striving for perfection, that it is short for mobile Internet, and that it might refer to the many challenges faced when starting the company. Of course, he also said that the acronym by which the name is most commonly known, "MI" is just plain cute.
Whatever the reason for the name, it is a true consumer favorite and one that is considered to be among the most innovative throughout China. That slogan of expecting something wonderful to happen does seem to be taken seriously by "MI". For example, its adheres to a very unique business model and sells all of its devices at only a small profit margin. That allows consumers to get top of the line tech at some of the lowest prices possible.
This is unheard of in the world of mobile devices, but it has allowed the company to really take a lead. It also sells only through its website, which makes things even easier for consumers who get fair pricing and convenience.
In 2013, Xiaomi hired Google executive Hugo Barra to help grow the company on an international basis. This means that the whole line of MI products will soon be available around the globe.
MI.com. Mi Singapore. Mi.com. 2014. http://www.mi.com/sg/about/culture/