Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun was among the participants at the 2020 Yabuli Forum Annual Meeting held on November 18. As would be expected, he spoke about the Chinese company and his speech focused on three common misconceptions about Xiaomi in the society.
There are likely more than three misconceptions people hold about Xiaomi but Lei Jun narrowed it to three which he considers as the major ones. One of them, he says, is that most people consider Xiaomi products as all low-end products. This is likely a function of the company being a Chinese brand and the average price of the models which are often cheaper than what you’ll find elsewhere.
To correct this wrong notion, the company started manufacturing high-end products starting with the Mi 10 Extreme Commemorative Edition. Lei Jun says the phone is one of the best-selling mobile phones this year. Also, the 98-inch smart TV priced at 20,000 yuan was also released and it is also extremely popular.
The second misconception is that Xiaomi’s products are all manufactured by OEM. Lei Jun admitted that he was disappointed hearing this repeatedly. He clarified that it deploys the foundry model which is also a very advanced production model.
He also disclosed that the company set its sight on establishing itself as a force in the manufacturing industry. The company commissioned the most sophisticated smartphone production line in China which is almost fully automated. The smart factory which is located in Yizhuang, Beijing can produce 1 million ultra-high-end smartphones annually and has only 100 staffs including engineers. The interesting thing about the factory is that all the equipment, except the placement machine, is self-developed by Xiaomi or a company Xiaomi invested in. In order to build this factory, reportedly invested in 110 smart equipment companies in three years.
Finally, the third misconception is that Xiaomi has no technology. Lei Jun didn’t answer directly but talked about the growth of Xiaomi’s business in the past 10 years. In 2011, Xiaomi’s revenue was only 500 million, and by 2019 it has reached 205.8 billion, ranking 422 in the Fortune Global 500. Xiaomi is in the most fiercely competitive field in the world. There are Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. He noted that to achieve such growth, you cannot live without technology as a foundation.
The leading camera technology on the flagship Mi models is another example the CEO used to squash talks of the brand not having its own technology. Lei Jun hinted that Xiaomi made the decision to smash camera technology four years ago which is 2016 when Xiaomi’s mobile phone business established a core device department with a camera group under it.
In May 2018, it strengthened the establishment of a single-level camera department, Lei Jun says. When it was first established, there were only 122 engineers in the camera department. Today, the number of engineers in the camera department has reached 826, an increase of nearly 6 times. This does not include the more than 350 engineers who provide technical support for cameras such as AI.
Lei Jun also hinted that the company set up its camera R&D centres in cities across the world where they recognise there are talents. Thus, there are nine R&D centres located in Beijing, Paris, Tokyo, Santiago and other cities. the results Xiaomi’s flagship devices attaining the top ranking on DXOMark with rave reviews.
The CEO also talked about the brand’s charging technology including its GaN charging adapter. Although a minor tech product, the popularity and speed with which Xiaomi started manufacturing cheap GaN adapters shows its determination to help more persons adopt leading technological solutions.
Finally, Lei Jun expressed the hope that in the next ten years, Xiaomi will promote Chinese manufacturing and Chinese design to truly become a world-renowned, world-class brand.
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