The world is changing. Apple is running on an antiquated model, they’ve lost the number one spot and that demotion may be permanent. Now the next generation is here and its name is Xiaomi. And we can think of six good reasons why they’re the next Apple.
We don’t normally report on sales that happen several thousand miles away. But when Xiaomi sold a record-breaking 200,000 units of their new Mi-One S in thirty minutes, we had to write about it. Not just because those are crazy-pants numbers, but because the last company to create a smartphone stampede like that was Apple. And they turned out to be well worth watching.
The Mi Fen
They’re like Apple Fanbois and they’re a big part of what journalists have dubbed the “cult of Xiaomi”. They’re energetic, they have an active online community and they show up in the thousands for high-profile media events.
But unlike more conservative Fanbois, Mi Fens are more counter-culture at heart (it is an Android after all). Their mascot is Mi-Bunny who rocks a red scarf: a reference to the Young Pioneers of China. And they have a silly, subversive aesthetic that should make this company fun to watch.
Many argue that Lei Jun is China’s answer to Steve Jobs. He is an iconic, dynamic personality clearly stamped on the forefront of the company. Mi Fens love Lei Jun the way Fanbois loved Steve Jobs. And like Steve Jobs, Lei Jun is a great speaker who knows how to hold a crowd’s attention and help win their loyalty. They even sort of dress alike.
Xiaomi’s Meteoric Climb
Xiaomi has only been making smartphones for one year. Xiaomi’s first phone — the Mi-One — sold over 3.5 million units last quarter, quickly shooting Xiaomi up from nowhereseville to the number three smartphone in China. And if you think that was fast, just wait and watch. The Mi-One S has 1.3 million backorders and it was only released last Friday. Xiaomi has already announced the next generation: the Mi-Two. And if its specs are anything to go by, it will sell even faster than the Mi-One and the Mi-One S combined.
Xiaomi’s Modern Model
Back when Apple was one of the only smartphones in the world, they built their brand around exclusivity. There were no Apple Sales, only appointments. And even then, you only had access to one new model a year. But now that the market is flooded with smartphones, that business model is antiquated and it’s lost Apple their number one spot.
There’s a new business model in town and it too offers something we never thought we could have: “quality and quantity”. Xiaomi has made its name by selling high-spec phones available once every few months sold at rock bottom prices.
The Mi-One S features a dual core1.7 GHz processor and a beautifully crisp screen and it’s only $180. The Mi-Two has a quadcore and Jelly Bean 4.1 and it will sell below cost at $300 per unit. The move is as bold as Apple’s once was. And like Apple, Xiaomi can create release-day lines that you can probably see from space.
And the new Apple may be here sooner than later. Xiaomi has been gathering their resources and rumors are that they’ll hit Europe as soon as next year. We think it’s going to be quite an expansion and one that’s good for the market. Their reputation for high specs and low prices will force other manufacturers to follow suit and help herald the cheap smartphone revolution.