China / Haidian Park 2012

Haidian, top hardware at core of Xiaomi phones

By Han Tianyang (China Daily) Updated: 2012-09-11 10:41
Haidian, top hardware at core of Xiaomi phones

Starting with seven co-founders, Xiaomi Corp has taken less than two years to become one of the best-known smartphone companies in China. It now has some 1,500 employees in Beijing.

"The fundamental reason for our fast growth is that we offer products that are beyond customer expectations," said Li Wanqiang, vice-president and one of the founders of the company.

With advanced hardware at a low price, Xiaomi smartphones have gained a broader group of customers, although its original target group is IT geeks who obsessed with the sheer performance of the handset.

The company sold 3.52 million smartphones in 10 months following the launch a year ago of its first and only product, the Mi 1, which was priced at 1,999 yuan at the time.

It introduced an updated version last month, Mi 1S, and will launch its second-generation product Mi 2 in October.

"Xiaomi's achievements are mainly due to the company finding the right direction," said Lei Jun, CEO and co-founder of Xiaomi.

"It is also because we had the right people to start the company together and we've been lucky in the process," he added.

The seven co-founders of Xiaomi include professionals from leading international IT companies Motorola and Google. Lei and Li both were from Kingsoft, a famous domestic software company.

"Cellphones in the future will replace computers to be the center of people's work and life, and the change will bring demand for new products," said Li, the vice-president. "We call it cellphone computerization."

In the past few years, China's smartphone market has grown rapidly, with research firms forecasting sales could reach 140 million units this year, probably surpassing the number in the United States.

With the booming market and strong product, Li said that there's no doubt Xiaomi's sales will grow 100 percent each of the next three years. The company aims to sell 100 million units in 2016, he said.

But Xiaomi's ambitions are not limited to the Chinese mainland. It is considering business opportunities in overseas markets and may start with exports to Taiwan at the end of the year, said CEO Lei Jun.

As in the domestic market, the company will either sell its smartphones online or cooperate with telecom carriers abroad, he said, noting that the company is evaluating both approaches now.

Lei previously told the media that Xiaomi aims to have half of its sales generated from overseas markets in 2016.

Though its offices are now in Chaoyang district of Beijing, Xiaomi is registered at the Haidian Science Park in Zhongguanzun and opened offices there during its startup.

Li, the vice-president, said it was a natural choice for the founders to first establish the company in Zhongguancun, China's Sillicon Valley, where the most prestigious universities and colleges in the country with the best talent are gathered.

Yet the staff numbers increased so rapidly that the company has moved to two separate office sites in Chaoyang temporarily, Li said, adding that under the help of the administration committee of Haidian Science Park, the company will be moved to a new office place in the district in the end of this year.

He added that Haidian Science Park offers a range of preferential tax policies for the companies to encourage innovation and Xiaomi is among the beneficiaries.

(China Daily 09/11/2012 page7)

A man proposes to his girlfriend with a bouquet of cash in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan province on Feb 21, 2016.

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