Xiaomi has rapidly become one of the most popular smartphone companies in the world. There are two main reasons for this. The first is based on the development of attractively priced products with technical features on a par with the top of the range. The second is having managed to build up a community of enthusiasts who feel attached to a young and dynamic brand. At the moment, Xiaomi’s popularity is recognised globally, but we know the risk that Chinese companies run when they start giving Western companies a run for their money. After all, if it hadn’t been stopped by the US Department of Commerce, Huawei would today be the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer, even surpassing sales champion Samsung. Is there a risk of something similar happening? We asked Wen Ou, Head of Western Europe at Xiaomi, along with another exclusive look at the company’s future.
“2020 was a year of challenges and excitements for Xiaomi as we first faced the outbreak of Covid-19, then overcame it and ended up registering a solid growth also confirmed by the results achieved in the third quarter of 2020” – Wen Ou told to us. “We became the third-largest smartphone brand in the world, with a market share of 13.1 percent and 46.5 million shipments, and we are really happy that the adjustments we made earlier this year took have been effective. The company continues to shine thanks to its unique and powerful “triathlon” business model, its “smartphone x AIoT” core strategy, and to the focus on the relationship with Mi Fans and users. Despite the Covid-19 impact, we remain focused on the execution of our strategies and all of our business segments continue to grow, demonstrating the strength and resilience of our business fundamentals”.
How the company has established itself in a difficult market like the Western one starting from building a community of fans enthusiasts and developers?
“The first and most important strategy is the strong involvement of Mi Fans and users at large who show loyalty and passion towards our brand, a unique bond that is a sincere friendship, which we often and willingly cultivate directly, in person, through the numerous Mi Fan Clubs present on the territory. This level of engagement means that, in a completely natural way, Mi Fan Clubs become the first vehicle to spread the brand values and messages. Our products are known for their incomparable value for money, which favored the creation of an atmosphere of enthusiasm and passion around the brand and the birth of a strong community of fans, who have supported Xiaomi and, vice versa, Xiaomi has always encouraged and pushed to grow. In addition, we firmly believe that the pursuit of technological innovations will always be the prerequisite for Xiaomi’s competitiveness. Offering amazing products at accessible and honest prices is an evergreen strategy throughout economic cycles and making the coolest products is inherent to our engineering culture. For this reason, behind important technological achievements, there is the company’s continuous investment in research and development (R&D) and talent recruitment”.
How Xiaomi stands in the middle of the USA vs China question, given that its success could cause it a fate similar to that of Huawei
“We do not know what will happen in the future, but so far tensions between the US and China have not affected us. And at the stage, we only focus on what we do, which is “building amazing products with honest prices to let everyone in the world enjoy a better life through innovative technology”. Whatever happens, we will continue to offer customers technologically advanced products at an affordable price, because we believe that the experience and benefits that technological innovation brings to people’s lives should not be reserved only for those with high purchasing potential. Worth mentioning, we are a publicly listed company and we have remained very good collaborations with global tech leaders including Google and Qualcomm”.
What is the importance of equipping phones with excellent hardware that cost less than the competition?
“Xiaomi is a company that has sought to change the world with its vision “Innovation for everyone” from the first day of its foundation. Our approach has always been oriented to offer more to the users and their needs, and our success is also driven by our effort to be the most efficient company at selling innovative products. The “MI” in our logo stands for “Mobile Internet” but it also has other meanings, including “Mission Impossible”, because Xiaomi faced many challenges that had seemed impossible to defy in our early days. Our mission “impossible” is in fact to deliver innovation to everyone around the world and to do that, it’s important for us to build amazing and innovative products with honest prices to let everyone enjoy a better life through innovative technology. Let me go back to another point that, we deeply believe that innovative technology should not be the privilege enjoyed by just a few, but by the public, everyone.
A look to the future
The year 2020 is unusual, and the whole world is faced with enormous challenges. Despite the impact of Covid-19, Xiaomi have kept a great focus on efficiency to cope with this not easy economic time. “In fact, our efficient operations, our swift adjustments with our supply chain partners, our strong execution from offline-online to mainly online during the lockdowns and consumer trust enable us to seek out opportunities also during crises and stay on a sustainable growth trajectory. We are very proud of the results achieved so far, and we will continue to work with determination and commitment to consolidate our current position, but above all the trust of our consumers, trying to conquer step by step also those who have not yet joined the Xiaomi family. Innovation for everyone is not just a slogan but a real mission for Xiaomi. This is a part of our DNA, for this reason we always look ahead and tackle the new challenges. Over the next decade we will never cease to explore and innovate and bring everyone the most innovative technologies, in the meantime, we will continue to offer products with the best price-to-performance ratio. And of course, we will seek to make the coolest products”.