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charlesarthur : xiaomi   77

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha is almost entirely made of screen • The Verge
Sam Byford:
<p>The “surround screen” on the Alpha wraps entirely around the device to the point where it meets the camera module on the other side. The effect is of a phone that’s almost completely made of screen, with status icons like network signal and battery charge level displayed on the side. Pressure-sensitive volume buttons are also shown on the side of the phone. Xiaomi is claiming more than 180 percent screen-to-body ratio, a stat that no longer makes any sense to cite at all…

<img src="" width="100%" />

…Xiaomi describes the Mix Alpha as a “concept smartphone” and isn’t going to be mass-producing it any time soon. The phone will go into small-scale production this year and go on sale in December for 19,999 yuan, or about $2,800. The original Mi Mix was also given the “concept” label and released in small quantities, with the Mi Mix 2 following a year later as a more mainstream device.</p>

Twice the chance to break the screen, and a real puzzler for where you put the phone case. Perfect bragging rights for Xiaomi - "we were the first with a total screen phone!" - but I don't think it makes any sense. We can't look around corners, which is what you'd need to use this to the full.
xiaomi  screen 
25 days ago by charlesarthur
Xiaomi/Apple: all about Mi • Financial Times
The "Lex" opinion column isn't keen on Xiaomi's prospects:
<p>Xiaomi is number one in India in shipment terms, and one of the top five in Europe. The group has partnered with Foxconn to make phones in India where just a third of the population use smartphones. Apple has just over 1% of that market. 

Margins are higher within an internet-of-things and household electronics business. Margins are higher here, but unlikely to offset weakness in Chinese smartphone sales.

Xiaomi lacks Apple’s pricing muscle. In 2016, Xiaomi held top market share in China, which accounted for more than 70% of its revenue. ZTE, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo have since undercut Xiaomi on value and through easier access via physical stores. 

China’s move to 5G this year will bring significant demand for new smartphones over the next few years. But Xiaomi’s premium plan is fraught with risk. Raising prices in its home market may threaten its tenuous grip on its number five spot. Doubts about Xiaomi’s strategy when it came to market have proved well-founded. The shares have fallen 43% from their peak shortly afterwards, and may fall further.</p>
xiaomi  china  smartphones 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi’s folding phone is the best we’ve seen so far • The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>Xiaomi’s folding phone has been revealed in a teaser video from the company. Xiaomi co-founder and president Lin Bin has posted a <a href="">nearly minute-long video to Weibo</a> today, detailing the double folding phone. Both sides of the device can be folded backwards to transform it from a tablet form factor into more of a compact phone. Unlike other foldable phones we’ve seen recently, this certainly looks a more practical use for the technology.

Xiaomi doesn’t provide many details about its foldable phone, but Bin reveals the device in the video is simply an engineering model. Bin does note Xiaomi has conquered “a series of technical problems such as flexible folding screen technology, four-wheel drive folding shaft technology, flexible cover technology, and MIUI adaptation.” Xiaomi appears to have adapted its MIUI software for the foldable phone, and a video is seen playing on the device before it converts from tablet to phone mode.

Xiaomi’s folding phone leaked earlier this month, and it’s set to compete against devices like Samsung’s folding phone prototype and Chinese company Royole’s folding device. Huawei is also reportedly planning to launch a foldable device, and Lenovo has previously teased that it was working on bendable phones.</p>

I get the feeling that foldable phones are going to be huge in China for commuters. I'd give Xiaomi and Huawei a good chance on this (and it could revive Samsung's fortunes, briefly). I don't see Lenovo making it happen - or at least not profitably.
xiaomi  foldable 
january 2019 by charlesarthur
Why Xiaomi's fancy phones aren't selling • Tech In Asia
Karen Chiu:
<p>“I once tried to convince a friend to get the Mi Note 2. He was pretty excited until he asked about the price. ‘How much? 2,800 yuan [US$405]? How good can that phone be?’” wrote Zhorizonxiansen, a Zhihu user.

“This is a common mentality among phone users these days. If you use Xiaomi, you’re a low-end user, you’re a loser. If you say other phones aren’t good, you’re just broke and jealous.”

Another person, who described himself as a 27-year-old working in sales in a first-tier city, said he’s never met anyone at work who uses Xiaomi.

“Buying a phone isn’t about value for money. It’s not like you’ll buy a particular phone just because it’s cheaper than another one with the same specs. For example, if your relatives, friends and colleagues all drive a BMW or a Mercedes, you could still get a Hyundai or Honda even if you don’t have money. Just don’t buy an Alto,” said Wenyusuruo, referring to a Chinese-made car brand.

It’s hard to tell if Xiaomi users are actually as poor as many in China believe. A recent report by Shanghai-based research agency MobData found that college graduates and those who earn more than 20,000 yuan (around US$2,880) a month actually prefer Xiaomi (and Huawei) phones. Oppo, Vivo and Apple users, on the other hand, earn less on average.

Yet the image has stuck. One reason could be that Xiaomi continues to churn out extremely cheap handsets. Its cheapest phone in China at the moment is the US$86 Redmi 6A, which costs nearly US$30 less than Vivo’s cheapest, the Y73.

Xiaomi is actively trying to boost its premium offerings in China. Abacus News contacted company spokesman John Chan, who directed us to their most recent financial report, which says the average selling price of Xiaomi smartphones in China increased 16 percent year on year. He declined to comment further.

So Xiaomi is rolling out fancier phones. But there seems to be one problem: consumers aren’t buying them.</p>

Who would have thought that a phone could be too cheap?
xiaomi  china 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi criticised for UK smartphone £1 flash sale • BBC
Leo Kelion:
<p>Xiaomi's business model is based on selling its hardware at low profit margins and it has regularly held flash sales in other markets as a relatively cheap way to attract attention and gauge demand.

It typically offers thousands of devices at a more realistic prices when doing so. But even when it held a similar €1 (88p) event in Spain last year, it provided 50 units.

By contrast, the first two UK flash sales involved only three phones apiece, while two follow-ups were limited to two units.

This fact was not mentioned on the main sales page. Instead, users had to click on a link to its terms and conditions, found at the foot of the site, and then scroll halfway through them.

Dozens of users complained on Xiaomi's Facebook page after failing to obtain a phone.

"For a company worth around $50bn launching in a brand new country and making a big deal about it they could have done 50 easily. They didn't. They'll lose potential customers over this," wrote Simon Hodge.

Another user, James Bowen, said: "What a joke, as soon as the timer hit zero, it was out of stock - just clickbait to get people to visit the website."

One user subsequently analysed the webpage's code and pointed out it had been set to say: "Sold out," as soon as the sale had opened - without even checking to see if the allocated stock had indeed been purchased.</p>

A single phone? Hard to know if Xiaomi thought it wouldn't get caught, or it wouldn't matter, but this has left a bad taste with a number of people. And it will live forever in its history, meaning it's starting below the bottom of the PR ladder.
Xiaomi  phone  flashsale 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Global smartphone shipments down 6.0% in Q3 2018 as the leading vendor and the largest market face challenges • IDC
<p>While the overall smartphone market has declined for four straight quarters, two things stand out as major factors in the third quarter. Samsung, the largest smartphone vendor in terms of market share, accounting for 20.3% of shipments in 3Q18, declined 13.4% year over year in the quarter. And secondly, China, which is the largest country market for smartphone consumption, accounting for roughly one third of global shipments, was down as well for the sixth consecutive quarter.

Samsung had a challenging quarter with shipments down 13.4% to 72.2m units shipped. The market share leader continues to feel pressure from all directions, especially with Huawei inching closer to the top after its second consecutive quarter as the number two vendor. In addition, growing markets like India and Indonesia, where Samsung has held leading positions for many years, are being changed by the rapid growth of Chinese brands like Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo.

Meanwhile, China’s domestic market, which represents roughly one third of all smartphones consumed, has been in decline since the second quarter of 2017, and 3Q18 was the sixth consecutive quarter where the market sees contraction. China was down 11% in the first half of 2018 (1H18), and the challenges continued into 3Q18. Overall IDC expects this decline to decelerate with the market returning to flat growth in 2019.</p>

Apple down to third place, with a 13.2% share (46.9m); Huawei was 14.6% (52.0m). Xiaomi, which a couple of years ago was struggling, is now 4th, with 9.7% share (34.3m). Chinese smartphone companies thriving even as China sales slow.

The smartphone boom is over. What follows now flows from that.
smartphone  apple  samsung  huawei  xiaomi 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi sold 32m smartphones in Q2 2018 • China Internet Watch
<p>In Q2 2018, Xiaomi reported a high growth of 58.7% in smartphone revenues to 30.5bn yuan (US$4.61 bn), accounting for roughly two-thirds of the total revenues. Smartphone sales volume reached 32.0m units, up by 43.9% year-on-year. IoT and lifestyle products grew 104.3% year-on-year in revenues, while the global sales volume of smart TVs grew over 350% year-on-year.

Xiaomi [the full company] achieved 45.2bn yuan (US$6.82bn) in revenue, representing a growth of 68.3% year-on-year. Adjusted profit grew 25.1% to 2.1bn yuan (US$317.1m) year-on-year, according to its first results as a public company since its IPO in July.

The smartphones segment… revenues [had] year-on-year growth of 58.7%. This growth was driven by an increase in both sales volume and the average selling price (“ASP”)… Xiaomi is the fastest growing amongst the top five mobile phone companies globally, according to IDC.</p>

So... that's an ASP of US$144 on 32.0m units compared to 22.2m at $130.62 ASP in the year-before quarter. Quite successful at raising the ASP, and now substantially bigger than many erstwhile rivals (notably Lenovo, which bought its way into the wider mobile phone business by purchasing Motorola, which continues to make losses - now up to six straight years, or 24 quarters).

Three of the top five phone makers are now Chinese - Huawei, oppo/vivo (which is connected with OnePlus - they're financial cousins), Xiaomi.
xiaomi  smartphones 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi expansion into South Korea heaping pressure on Samsung • Digitimes
Colley Hwang:
<p>China-based Xiaomi launched its latest smartphones including the flagship Hongmi Note 5, in Seoul, South Korea, priced KRW200,000-300,000 (US$190-285), in cooperation with local telecom carriers SK Telecom and Korea Telecom. Their competitive pricing of less than US$300, far below Korea-based vendors' smartphone ASP of over US$500 in 2017, has quickly caught much attention in the Korea market.

Xiaomi's operating profits have always been below 5%, but the slim-profit strategy is also the China-based smartphone vendor's strongest weapon in its foray into new territories. Xiaomi has already outraced Samsung Electronics in India's smartphone market and is now looking to challenge the Korea giant on its home turf.

Currently, Samsung is the largest smartphone vendor in South Korea with a 55% share, followed by Apple at 28.3% and LG Electronics at 15.7%. The three handset vendors together already account for 99% of the market, leaving almost no room for any other players.

To nudge its way through the barriers, Xiaomi has introduced Hongmi Note 5, featuring a 5.99-inch screen, 12-megapixel back-end and 5-megapixel front-end cameras, and artificial intelligence (AI) support, priced at KRW299,000; it has been a star in Xiaomi's winning lineup for the race in India. Although Xiaomi has not revealed the number of its smartphone pre-orders from South Korea, sources from local channels have reported positive feedbacks from consumers.</p>

Which demonstrates that substitution - cheaper as-good hardware for another - is a continual risk for Android handset makers, even in their own back yard. That Apple has such a huge share - comparable with the UK (as is the <a href="">size of the South Korean smartphone market</a>) - is remarkable, though.
apple  xiaomi  samsung  southkorea  smartphone 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
With stock IPO, Xiaomi is now worth three times as much as LG • Android Police
David Ruddock:
<p>Though a far cry from Apple, Google, or even Samsung in terms of overall market capitalization, Xiaomi is - on paper - now worth more than three times as much as the entirety of LG Electronics. Think about that for a second.

Of course, Xiaomi is overall a much smaller company than many of the brands it now finds itself compared to. Xiaomi's revenue goals for fiscal 2017 were around $16.8bn, a goal it said it achieved by the end of October. While LG is valued at less than a third of Xiaomi, it generated over three times the sales in 2017 (over $55bn in revenue). Major questions remain about Xiaomi's ability to profitably expand outside Southeast Asia, with competitors like Huawei and HMD Global (Nokia) - both of which are privately held companies - having already established foothelds in Western Europe and other key markets Xiaomi is likely looking to grow into.

With global smartphone growth slipping, I could see two major narratives unfold for Xiaomi - one good, one bad. The positive outlook holds that, in a market where consumers are holding onto phones longer and shopping around more, Xiaomi's value-first approach will have real appeal. If a smartphone is merely a means to an end, why spend more money than strictly necessary on one?

The other bodes far more poorly: the smartphone market has become saturated, and consumers are inundated with ads and incentives from much larger brands with more value-adds to offer than Xiaomi, especially outside of China. Xiaomi could find it intensely difficult to break into markets where Samsung and Apple are heavily entrenched, even with its price-conscious approach.</p>
xiaomi  smartphone 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi wants to come to America, but it feels more stuck in China than ever • Android Police
David Ruddock:
<p>There is no doubt in my mind that Xiaomi understands its home market and customers in a way that I, as an American, never will. But also as an American, I fail to understand just how Xiaomi intends to ever be a success here.

And this isn’t me sniping critique from a half-mile away: Xiaomi invited US journalists to demo showcases for its products earlier this week specifically to try to make the pitch that the company is taking the US market seriously. Xiaomi wants Americans to understand its ecosystem approach and all the benefits that it comes with. Xiaomi’s business model is predicated upon the idea that, as its smartphone customer base grows, so too will the customer base for its Mi ecosystem devices and, more importantly, subscription software and media services. Xiaomi has even promised that it won’t make more than 5% profit on any hardware it sells, as though to assure customers that they are getting the very best deal possible. The company’s profitability is supposed to be predominantly derived from those subscription services I mentioned.

As to how that could ever work in America? Frankly, the responses I got to this question - one Xiaomi has likely faced countless times from American journalists now - were basically nonsense. A product manager essentially told me a half-dozen times that he worked for Spotify, and he’s an American, so he <em>gets it</em>.

That’s… not an answer. Xiaomi was willing to acknowledge that the American market for things like email, cloud storage, streaming video, music, and smart home gadgets is intensely crowded. But there was no real pitch for how Xiaomi could leverage its hardware business to sell its own software and services to notoriously fickle Americans who already have tons of options for things like storage and streaming movies. The argument, in the end, boiled down to “if people buy some of our products, they will buy the rest of them.”

It’s just another take on the same very bad argument LeEco tried to use. <a href="">And we all know how that ended</a>.</p>

LeEco, if you'd forgotten, imploded after claiming it would have a fabulous electric car. And yes, this is the problem for Xiaomi outside China: there's a lot of competition from companies, notably Google (which gets in first on the device), offering cloud services.
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi unveils big loss as it prepares to hawk IPO to investors • Bloomberg
Yuan Gao and Crystal Tse:
<p>Xiaomi Corp. revealed it lost more than $1bn in the first three months of 2018, as the Chinese smartphone maker prepares to persuade investors to buy into the largest initial public offering since 2014.

The eight-year-old company has begun gauging demand for a first-time share sale intended to fuel its expansion beyond China and bankroll the development of devices and media services. It also published its first prospectus for the sale of China Depositary Receipts in Shanghai on Monday, saying it plans to use about 40% of the proceeds to enlarge its global footprint. Xiaomi reported a 7bn yuan ($1.1bn) net loss on revenue of 34.4bn ($5.3bn) yuan in the first quarter…

…The Beijing-based company saw sales from more lucrative smart-home devices and internet services grow as a proportion of overall revenue in the first quarter. Roughly 31.8% of Xiaomi’s revenue in 2018’s first three months came from products such as air purifiers and scooters and online services such as mobile apps, according to the filing. Those two segments contributed 29% of sales in 2017.

Its biggest business, smartphones that barely make a profit, declined in importance to just 67.5% of sales from more than 70% in 2017. Xiaomi said it made a profit excluding one-time items of 1.038bn ($162m) yuan in the first quarter.</p>

Estimates are that it could be valued at around $90bn. Personally, I don't see what its moat is - what is there to stop its users drifting away to other brands, or alternatively to stop other brands moving into its space? It's already losing out on its best-known space, smartphones. Though with a $3.3bn revenue, it's a significant player, ahead of LG, Sony, Motorola/Lenovo, and other names.

The phones are pretty cheap, though. On that revenue, and Counterpoint's figure of 27m shipped, the ASP is $122 - which doesn't leave any room for error.
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Environmentalists criticize Xiaomi ahead of billion-dollar IPO • Sixth Tone
Sixth Tone:
<p>Two environmental groups are accusing Xiaomi of poor oversight of its supply chain after the Chinese tech giant earlier this month filed for an IPO with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, according to a joint report released Tuesday.

On May 12, the environmentalists found that a Jiangsu factory which manufactures components for Xiaomi was discharging copper-contaminated wastewater into a nearby river. According to the report, coauthored by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) and the Lüse Jiangnan Public Environment Concerned Center (PECC), tests conducted on May 12 confirmed the contamination.

The factory, owned by Taiwan-headquartered Ichia Technologies, had previously been fined 117,000 yuan ($18,000) by the provincial environmental bureau in March for the same offense. Sixth Tone’s calls to the factory went unanswered on Tuesday.

The report also accuses four other companies said to manufacture screens, casings, and other parts for Xiaomi cellphones of having past environmental violations.

On May 3, Xiaomi filed for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, aiming for a $100 billion valuation that would make it the largest listing of the year. But the environmental groups say that the tech company did not disclose the supply chain environmental lapses in its prospectus — contravening the exchange’s full disclosure requirement.

When reached by phone on Tuesday, a Xiaomi PR representative told Sixth Tone that he was not at liberty to comment, as the company was still ascertaining the situation.</p>

By "still ascertaining the situation" the spokesman meant "still ignoring the situation, which has been brought to Xiaomi's notice multiple times over multiple suppliers in the past four years".

But nobody much cares about environmental responsibility, unless it offers a chance to bash Apple.
Xiaomi  environment 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi is more like Facebook than Apple • Bloomberg
Tim Culpan:
<p>“We pioneered an amazing, innovative business model underpinned by courage and trust,” founder Lei Jun said in an <a href="">open letter</a> accompanying its offer document Thursday in which he reiterated a pledge to cap hardware margins in favor of making money via services.

Reading through its 597-page prospectus, it’s apparent that in Xiaomi-speak, “services” means “serving ads.”

Xiaomi has done quite a job of monetizing device buyers beyond the initial transaction, tripling sales from the services segment over the past two years. Smartphones accounted for 70% of revenue last year and 46% of gross profit. Internet services, on the other hand, accounted for 8.6% of revenue but an outsized 39% of gross profit.

What surprised me most is how dependent this business is on advertising, which accounted for 57% of the category’s revenue last year. (Online games is the other major component.)

“We use our proprietary technologies and big data analytical capabilities to offer comprehensive and innovative services to our business partners and users.”

When you remember that “business partners” means advertisers, you start to understand that Xiaomi isn’t a rip-off of Apple Inc., as has been suggested, but is mimicking Facebook Inc.

Here’s how it works: Xiaomi sells a smartphone at near-cost, including its MIUI mobile interface. Through that, Xiaomi tracks your usage and learns what you might be interested in. It then starts suggesting apps, some of which will be Xiaomi-developed. Once installed, the company then has an ad-serving platform right in front of your eyes.</p>
xiaomi  business  smartphone 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
GoPro reports smaller-than-expected loss on lower costs • Reuters
<p>Action-camera maker GoPro Inc reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss on Thursday as the company cut costs and sold more of its new entry-level cameras…

GoPro — whose cameras are used by surfers, skydivers and other action junkies — said revenue fell to $202.35 million from $218.61 million. Analysts had expected revenue of $184.2m. The company’s net loss narrowed to $76.3m in the quarter ended March 31, from $111.2m a year earlier. Total operating expenses fell to $119.7m from $156.8m.

The company - which exited its Karma drone business to stem losses- has been trying to attract users with its $199.99 entry-level HERO camera that was announced in March.

The company in April also announced huge discounts and trade-up programs for its premium products.

Demand for GoPro’s cameras have been waning as users move to cheaper options and smartphones with powerful cameras.</p>

As with Fitbit yesterday, the question has to be: how close to the ground is it going to get before it's scooped up? There's no reason for it to exist in its own right; it doesn't have enough of an ecosystem. Hardware on its own is insufficient - something that Cisco (rightly, in retrospect) figured out when it <a href="">abruptly closed its Flip camera division in 2011</a> as smartphones ate its business.

Likely buyer: Xiaomi, which should have some cash to spare soon. (Read on.)
gopro  xiaomi 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi shows off scorching growth ahead of $10bn IPO • Bloomberg
<p>The Chinese smartphone maker filed for an IPO in Hong Kong Thursday, kicking off a process that’s expected to raise at least $10bn and confer a value of $100bn on the eight-year-old company. That offered investors a glimpse into the inner workings of the company controlled by billionaire Lei Jun, and its ups-and-downs since almost dropping off the radar in 2016…

…Xiaomi, reporting detailed financials for the first time, posted a net loss of 43.9bn yuan in 2017, reversing from a meager profit a year earlier. Some of that however reflected one-time items such as share-based compensation and changes in the value of preferred shares, the company said in its filing. Excluding those, operating profit reached 12.2bn yuan.

The company is taking advantage of changes by Hong Kong that allowed companies with different share classes to list. The filing didn’t mention how much it’s looking to raise, with the number of shares and price among details redacted from the document. It’s a big win for Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., whose officials spent years pushing to scrap a ban on the weighted voting rights that give founders control even with minority ownership. Xiaomi’s decision, four years after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chose New York, signals a new phase for the city’s ambitions to rival the U.S. market.

“Investors will like Xiaomi’s business model because growing user numbers guarantee profits in the future,” said James Yan, an analyst at Counterpoint. “A bigger hardware user base will translate to stronger profitability from services and at the ecosystem end.”</p>

Lots of detail in this: 40% of its smartphone sales from outside China in 2017. (That will be mostly India.) It's doing OK, especially given how it stumbled in 2016.
xiaomi  ipo 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi phones to be sold in UK, Italy, and other European markets • Android Authority
Oliver Cragg:
<p>The Beijing-based firm today announced that it has partnered with CK Hutchinson to bring Xiaomi products to Three Group Europe stores in Austria, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, and the U.K.

Three — one of the four major carriers in the UK — has confirmed that Xiaomi phones will be sold in stores across the country in the near future. This marks the first time Xiaomi phones will be officially available to buy in the region without having to resort to importing websites.

“We have been watching Xiaomi’s success from afar and impressed with the huge range of connected devices that they currently offer,” said Tom Malleschitz, chief digital officer at Three’s U.K. division.</p>

Has Xiaomi managed to figure out how to get around the patent infringement claims that are sure to follow this?
xiaomi  three  uk 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi could be just the hero GoPro needs • Bloomberg Gadfly
Tim Culpan:
<p>GoPro's problem is that it hasn't done much in 16 years. Its product line is little changed, with mere iterations of the same tiny rugged camera, and the company still relies on its home market for the bulk of sales. Consider that in 2004 - when GoPro released its first camera - Apple Inc.'s hottest product by units was the iPod.

The few attempts to diversify have failed. An entry into the drone market in 2016 lasted less than 15 months at a time when DJI and others were enjoying booming growth. Asia accounts for just 21% of revenue.

Xiaomi, meanwhile, can't be accused of standing still. The Chinese smartphone startup has its fingers in so many pies that it's hard to keep up. So it makes sense that it would consider making a a bid for GoPro, as The Information reported. Xiaomi may offer up to $1bn, but doesn't want to overpay, the news website said.

A tie-up with another device maker is exactly the future I envision for GoPro. Right now it's a technical feat to film a day on the slopes, then take it back to show on the TV in your ski lodge. For many, it's just easier to shoot with an iPhone and a selfie stick, which is the crowd Woodman should be chasing. A combination with Roku Inc., the provider of streaming content players, is one I have advocated for a while. Xiaomi has MiBox, as well as routers and other connected devices.

A $1bn outlay for Xiaomi shouldn't damage its balance sheet, and the upside could be immense.</p>

Agree - this could be just what GoPro needs (though I imagine a wailing at the idea of an American company being bought by a Chinese one). For good measure it could buy Fitbit too, which also needs a white knight while its smartwatch business seeks liftoff.
Xiaomi  fitbit  gopro 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Mobiles to Americans? That's not the only thing Xiaomi's selling • Bloomberg Gadfly
Tim Culpan:
<p>Xiaomi's plan [to sell phones in the US] is as much about selling shares in its forthcoming IPO as it is about selling handsets to Americans.

Talk of a $100bn valuation for the Chinese startup would make it vastly overvalued. That doesn't mean bankers won't try to help it reach such lofty heights, or that Chinese investors won't pay through the roof to bag some shares. However to get there, Xiaomi's leadership, financial boffins and marketing teams all need to keep kicking the can down the road.

The story for 2017 was about the company's turnaround, from a slump in 2015 to a rebound in 2016 and continued momentum last year. India was the main engine, and we can expect more of that noise over the coming 12 months. But Xiaomi needs another booster rocket if it's to go to the moon like everybody hopes. Hence the talk of a U.S. entry, where growth in the most recent quarter was much faster than for Asia when measured in revenue terms.

And note the timing: end of this year or early next. That would be after Xiaomi's IPO, providing a great talking point for bankers while not requiring them to demonstrate any actual success.</p>
flotation  xiaomi  ipo 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
Samsung refutes report of Xiaomi overtake, says still top Indian manufacturer ‘by a distance’ • SamMobile
"Adnan F":
<p>A spokesperson for Samsung has said that “As per the German research firm GfK, which tracks sales to end consumers, in the last (November) quarter, Samsung had a 45 percent value market share and 40 percent volume market share.”

This is an important distinction that the company is making here. It’s not going by reports of units shipped by market research firms and instead relying on numbers that indicate just how many handsets were actually sold to the end user. A unit can be shipped and stay on retailers’ shelves for months but that still doesn’t count as a sale for the company.

“Samsung is a full range player and leads the smartphone business across every segment of the India market in 2017. More importantly, Samsung is India’s ‘Most Trusted’ brand. We owe our undisputed leadership to the love and trust of millions of our consumers in India,” the spokesperson added.

Samsung India’s global vice president Asim Warsi also pointed out this distinction in a recent interview. “German research firm GfK reports final consumption which is the most important measure of market share,” adding that while shipment numbers are important, they don’t tell the final market share.</p>

So the suggestion is that Xiaomi is "stuffing the channel" - pushing handsets in which just sit on shelves waiting to be sold. Also, strictly, Samsung *rebutted* the reports; it isn't a refutation to say there are different ways to measure this stuff. Clearly its pride is wounded though.
xiaomi  samsung  india 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi beats Samsung to become top smartphone vendor in India • Canalys
<p>India’s smartphone market has finally seen a change at the top, with Xiaomi now leading with shipments close to 8.2m units in Q4 2017. Despite annual growth of 17%, Samsung failed to maintain its lead, shipping just over 7.3m smartphones to take second place. The smartphone market in India grew by a modest 6% overall, in line with Canalys forecasts, following the seasonal dip as vendors and channel partners take stock after a busy Q3. Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo rounded out the top five, while total smartphone shipments were just shy of 30m units.

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

This seems like a worrying development for Samsung. Look how Xiaomi has grown there, too.
xiaomi  india  samsung 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Ho, ho, ho, Xiaomi • Bloomberg Gadfly
Tim Culpan:
<p>Xiaomi Corp. is set to pull in revenue of $17bn to $18bn this year, ahead of its own target, Reuters reported Friday, citing the company's comments to bankers.That's impressive, but believable. Xiaomi has had a great year.

Stretching the credibility scale, though, are estimates that net income could hit $1bn. They're banker projections, Reuters notes, not necessarily Xiaomi's. The company later confirmed to Bloomberg News that revenue topped $15bn within the first 10 months of 2017, without commenting on earnings.If those profit numbers are true, it would mean the smartphone and device maker will deliver a net income margin of as much as 5.9%. That's astounding. An operating margin of 5.9% would be pretty incredible, but a net margin that high would have Xiaomi well ahead of almost everyone in the market - up with Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co.

Suffice to say, Xiaomi is no Samsung. But bankers desperately want in on Xiaomi's expected IPO, and talking up the company is a good way to endear themselves. Remember when that real estate agent told you your rundown two bedder was a treasure and guaranteed to fetch a good price? Yeah, it's like that.

Reuters reports that bankers see Xiaomi's earnings doubling to $2bn next year. To get there, Xiaomi would need to dramatically boost revenue and widen margins. That's hard to do simultaneously, especially in a weakening devices market. But such lofty estimates are helping these bankers talk up a $100bn share sale, when just two weeks ago the chatter was around a $50bn listing.</p>

Buying Xiaomi shares would be a sucker move. You can't honestly believe that it's going to make $100bn in its lifetime.
xiaomi  listing 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
In just three years Xiaomi has nearly taken over India’s booming smartphone market •
Sushma UN:
<p>In the last year, Xiaomi’s market share in India has gone from just 6% to 22%, according to Hong Kong-headquartered market intelligence firm Counterpoint Research. That puts its share at par with South Korea’s Samsung, a leader for several years now. And as of September, three of the five most popular smartphones in India are from Xiaomi, Counterpoint said in a report on October 27.

It’s quite a coup considering Xiaomi entered India only in 2014 – Samsung has been around since 1995. The Beijing-based company has invested around $500 million in the Indian subcontinent in the last two years according to Bloomberg and intends to invest a similar amount between the next three and five years.

<img src="" width="100%" />

This stupendous success, analysts reason, is because of a strong supply chain and the company’s ability to sell value for money products in a very price sensitive market.

Since its entry into India, Xiaomi has stood out for its unique go-to-market strategy of selling only via e-commerce. It signed an exclusive partnership with e-tailer Flipkart and ran flash sales for new model launches, with the sales typically ending within seconds of opening. For instance, in a flash sale for the Redmi 1S model in September 2014, around 40,000 pieces were sold out in just 4.2 seconds.

This allowed the company to single-mindedly build capabilities around online retail, which now accounts for around 30% of India’s total smartphone sales. Most other brands have struggled with juggling online and offline sales, with many often failing to satisfy either set of customers.</p>

Notice that Xiaomi is trying to do offline retail in China - which is comparatively expensive. India is a particular market though: very aware of technical specifications and "value for money".
xiaomi  india 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi partners with Google for Mi A1 smartphone, targeting developing markets • Forbes
Yue Wang:
<p>Over the past three years, Xiaomi has entered as many as 40 countries across regions, selling its phones and smart devices at cost to compete with brands like Apple and Samsung as well as China’s own Huawei, OPPO and Vivo for the attention of users in countries like India and Russia. The pace of expansion accelerated dramatically this year, with Xiaomi breaking into a dozen countries including Greece, Indonesia, Paraguay and Poland for the very first time, confirmed the company’s Senior Vice President Wang Xiang in a recent interview with Forbes.

In addition to partnering with online marketplaces and physical distributors in new markets, Xiaomi is also linking arms with Google’s parent company, Alphabet, to beef up its appeal. The company announced on Tuesday its $230 Mi A1 smartphone that will run on Google’s Android One operating platform, which will be the first Xiaomi device that doesn’t use the company’s default MIUI system. The handset, initially available in 40 markets including India, Indonesia, Russia and Mexico, is aimed at attracting users who are more familiar with Google-provided services, according to Wang. He also said that Xiaomi and Google have agreed to share revenues, but declined to provide more details. The Mi A1 will be available for purchase on September 12.</p>

Android One is back - except only with Xiaomi, seems like. Perhaps more will follow. But it doesn't seem like a great plan to do revenue-sharing with Google, unless it's on Play Store purchases and so on. China isn't panning out as the stronghold Xiaomi thought it would be (OPPO and vivo are eating that up).
xiaomi  india  smartphone 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi becomes world's No.1 wearables vendor in Q2 2017 • Strategy Analytics
<p>Steven Waltzer, Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global wearables shipments reached 21.6 million units in Q2 2017, rising 8% year-on-year from 20.0m in Q2 2016. Strong demand for low-cost fitnessbands in China and premium smartwatches across the United States drove the uptick.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million wearables worldwide in Q2 2017, rising 23% annually from 3.0m units in Q2 2016. Xiaomi captured 17% global marketshare and overtook Fitbit and Apple to become the world’s largest wearables vendor.

"Xiaomi’s Mi Band fitness trackers are wildly popular in China, due to their highly competitive pricing and rich features such as heart-rate monitors, step-counters and calendar alerts. Fitbit shipped 3.4m wearables for 16% marketshare worldwide in Q2 2017, almost halving from 29% a year ago. Fitbit is at risk of being trapped in a pincer movement between the low-end fitnessbands sold by Xiaomi and the fitness-led, high-end smartwatches sold by Apple.”</p>

Xiaomi's fitness bands are probably making some good money. Might even be saving its margins. But the comparison purely on units, done for public consumption (since detailed reports likely have prices), isn't useful. Apple shifted 2.8m Watches, by this estimate. That's more than any other smartwatch vendor. It's increasingly hard to see Android Wear OEMs even taking part in this space. Though the one that's got problems is Fitbit: number sold cratering, and Hail-Mary-pass-smartwatch still some months away.
wearable  xiaomi 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi goes old school to reclaim smartphone crown in China • Bloomberg
<p>Xiaomi Corp. pioneered an online flash-sales model that lifted it to dizzying heights and made it Asia’s most valuable startup, but it’s since fallen on hard times. Now it’s counting on old-fashioned retail to make a comeback, and that’s proving a much stiffer challenge. 

The smartphone maker is going through a major transformation after missed targets prompted a bout of soul-searching by billionaire co-founder Lei Jun. From Harbin in the chilly northeast to glitzy eastern Shanghai, it aims to build 1,000 “Mi Homes” by 2019 - about twice Apple Inc.’s global store count - that will rake in an envisioned 70 billion yuan ($10bn) in sales by 2021.

Xiaomi - which has no real track record running stores or armies of sales reps - wants to set an upmarket tone for its brand by building its own signature outlets. But it’s taking on surging rental and labor costs, while rivals Huawei, Oppo and Vivo have sewn up prime locations by striking deals with hundreds of thousands of resellers.</p>

Oh suuure Xiaomi can make retail outlets work. Suuuuuure.

In related news: Xiaomi <a href="">signed a patent deal with Nokia</a>. It's a cross-licensing deal, apparently, though I'd think the money mostly goes to Nokia.

Upshot: Xiaomi's smartphone margins just got worse, and I don't think they were necessarily that great to start with.
xiaomi  retail  nokia  patent 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Huawei, Xiaomi perform weaker than expected in notebook market; will continue to push new models • Digitimes
Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai:
<p>Despite worldwide PC demand having declined for five consecutive years, Samsung Electronics, Huawei and Xiaomi have returned to the notebook market because of milder competition compared to the smartphone market.

However, sources from the upstream supply chain pointed out that Xiaomi and Huawei, which were originally expected to achieve good shipments, did not perform as well as expected because demand remains weak for consumer notebooks. For its first year, Xiaomi shipped less than 500,000 units and Huawei 700,000 units.

At the same time, Asustek Computer has also not performed well and has begun a business reorganization, looking to regain its momentum. Asustek is expected to start seeing shipment growth in the second half of 2017.

Sources from the upstream supply chain noted that Xiaomi and Huawei originally hoped to quickly expand into the notebook market with their strong brand recognition, advantages in shipments, and familiarity to the China market, but have not achieved the results they wanted so far.</p>

Xiaomi had apparently been targeting 2m units; it got a quarter of that. May be running out of ideas.
laptop  xiaomi  huawei 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi and Apple tie for the top position as the wearables market swells 17.9% during the first quarter • IDC
<p>The worldwide wearables market maintained its upward trajectory during the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17) with Xiaomi and Apple leading all companies and multiple products experiencing double- and triple-digit growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, companies shipped a total of 24.7m wearable devices during 1Q17, up 17.9% from the 20.9m units shipped in 1Q16.

"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. "This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensive devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide. Now that Xiaomi and Apple have supplanted Fitbit, the next question is whether they will be able to maintain their position.

"However, by no means should Fitbit be removed from the wearables conversation," continued Llamas. "With a user base of 50 million, a strong presence within corporate wellness, and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, Fitbit is well positioned to move into new segments and markets."</p>

Puts Apple and Xiaomi level at 3.6m, though Xiaomi's are bargain-basement bracelet-style trackers, a form factor which I think has already peaked.

The top five players (Xiaomi, Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin) have just over half the market, and none is Android Wear. I suspect the latter is barely growing its user base now.
xiaomi  apple  wearable 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi's guardian angel is India • CNET
Daniel van Boom:
<p>The past year has seen Xiaomi fall from grace in its homeland of China, dropping from the top spot at the end of 2015 to just making the top 5 in 2016. But the company is now back to making a splash - only this time, it's in India.

Xiaomi scored a valuable silver medal over the weekend, with Counterpoint Research showing the company to be the second highest selling smartphone brand in India, behind only Samsung.

That's a growth of 200% from the year prior, according to Counterpoint Research analyst Tarun Pathak. "India has come to Xiaomi's rescue by adding an extra couple of million units to its quarterly numbers," he said.

"India is the most important and the largest market for Xiaomi outside of China," Manu Jain, managing director of Xiaomi India, said to CNET in a statement…

…Still, it's too early for Xiaomi to soak in a victory lap. Oppo and Vivo, the same competitors to displace it in China, are hot on its heels in India. Xiaomi owned 13% of the market in Q1, while Vivo and Oppo took 12% and 10% respectively.</p>

One gets the feeling this is like Temple Run, where Xiaomi is pursued by the monkeys and one wrong turn will bring calamity.
xiaomi  india 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
India market: Xiaomi facing increasing competition from Oppo, Vivo, says report • Digitimes
Wang Chuan-chiang and Steve Shen:
<p>Xiaomi Technology is facing increasing competition from rival vendors Oppo and Vivo in India's smartphone market, according to a China-based report.

Xiaomi shipped over 10 million smartphones in India in 2016 and ranked as the second largest vendor in the market, trailing after Samsung. However, Xiaomi took the top spot for selling smartphones through online channels.

In order to maintain its leading market position in India, Xiaomi is building a second handset plant in India in cooperation with Foxconn Electronics, the report noted.

However, rivals Oppo and Vivo have also been expanding their share in India at a rapid pace by duplicating Xiaomi's business model, leveraging local factories, expanding online and offline retail channels, and building up brand image through advertisements, indicated the report.</p>

I can't find numbers that suggest that Xiaomi's shipments grew in 2016 from 2015, and its first quarter in 2017 seems to have been smaller than the same time in 2016. Xiaomi needs something special, soon.
xiaomi  india 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi launches its own chip, with an assist from Beijing • WSJ
Eva Dou:
<p>Chinese government funding helped Xiaomi Corp. produce its first smartphone processor, the company’s chairman said as he unveiled the chip at a packed launch event in the China National Convention Center here Tuesday.

The support is the latest sign of China’s push to develop its semiconductor industry, which has included attempts to buy overseas chip companies for their technology. Xiaomi is the second Chinese smartphone maker, after Huawei Technologies Co., able to develop its own processors.

Xiaomi Chairman Lei Jun disclosed the government funding as he described development of the new Pinecone Surge S1 chip, which will power the company’s new budget smartphone, the Mi 5C. The phone goes on sale in China Friday, with a starting price of 1,499 yuan ($218).

The Beijing-based smartphone company typically thanks private-sector partners during its product launches. But on Tuesday, it flashed a slide that read: “Thanks for the government’s support.”</p>

The question is quite what difference this can make for Xiaomi. Given that it runs its own OS inside China, it's possible it might yield some benefit - but it's a long road. It took Apple years, and a huge integrated system, to reap the value of buying PA Semi.
xiaomi  chip 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch has its best quarter and takes nearly 80% of total smartwatch revenue in Q4 • Canalys
<p>Apple set a new quarterly shipment record in Q4 2016, contributing to total smartwatch shipments exceeding 9 million units. This global market figure was largely driven by Apple’s 6 million shipments, representing year-on-year growth of 12%. It was the Apple Watch’s best quarter despite being significantly handicapped by supply constraints, even though Apple simultaneously expanded its supply chain. According to Canalys estimates, the Apple Watch generated more than US$2.6 billion in revenue for Apple in Q4 2016, making up nearly 80% of total smartwatch revenue…

…Xiaomi also enjoyed a record quarter of its own for basic band shipments, reaching 5.5 million Mi Bands. “New batches of Mi Band 2s were shipped in time for the Singles’ Day shopping festival in China," according to Analyst Jason Low. “Building on the success of its first-generation Mi Band, Xiaomi quickly expanded the availability of the Mi Band 2 across Asia Pacific and Central and Eastern Europe. India, Poland and Russia were key markets where the device was introduced alongside the company’s Mi and Redmi smartphones through direct and third-party online channels.”</p>

Maybe Xiaomi will do a reverse Fitbit and move from smartphones (losing money) into fitness bands.
applewatch  xiaomi  wearable 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Why Xiaomi may never become a global smartphone giant • IB Times
David Gilbert:
<p>The main reason rolled out by most analysts and media outlets (including this one) has been Xiaomi's lack of intellectual property. In short, if Xiaomi was going to enter the US or western European markets, it was going to quickly get slapped with multiple patent lawsuits from the likes of Samsung, Apple and others.

We had seen this in microcosm in India where Xiaomi had initially seen sales of its smartphones halted as a result of infringing an Ericsson patent. But that got sorted and India accounted for over $1bn of revenue for Xiaomi in 2016.

Does the patent excuse really wash?

"Everyone points to IP as the challenge at Xiaomi for going and selling more units internationally, but there are many very successful Chinese smartphone vendors that are selling handsets around the world in significant volumes," Fogg says.

Companies like Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE, TCL (selling phones under the Alcatel brand) as well as up-and-coming brands like Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus have all managed to enter Western markets and continue selling phones there.</p>
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s Google star, quits • Tech In Asia
Nivedita Bhattacharjee:
<p>In what seemed like a nod to China’s catastrophic air pollution problem, he said at least part of the reason for his move was his health.

“[…] what I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return,” Barra <a href="">said in a Facebook post announcing the departure</a>.

A former vice president at Google, Barra left the tech giant in 2013 to join what was then a little known Chinese startup. He has been in charge of Xiaomi’s international expansion since. Earlier this month, Xiaomi said its India revenues had crossed US$1 billion in 2016, making it the Chinese startup’s biggest international market.

“As I thought about this late last year, I concluded that Xiaomi is in a very good place on its global expansion path, and if there was ever going to be a good time for me to come back home, that time is now — when I can confidently say our global business is no longer just an in-house startup,” Barra said in the Facebook post.</p>

Bad for Xiaomi (this is going to crimp its international potential significantly) and good for wherever Barra ends up. As he left Google amid rumours of friction with Sergey Brin over a personal relationship, I'm not convinced he'll be back at Mountain View.
xiaomi  barra 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi stops disclosing annual sales figures as CEO admits the company grew too fast • TechCrunch
Jon Russell:
<p>Xiaomi has forgone its tradition of revealing how many smartphones it sold the previous year. The strategy yielded many headlines for the highly-regarded Chinese outfit, but today its CEO admitted that Xiaomi has been in transition after growing “too fast”.

The writing was on the cards, even as early as January 2016 when Xiaomi revealed it had sold “over 70 million” devices in 2015. An impressive number, for sure, given the backdrop of slowing smartphone sales worldwide, but it was short of the company’s public target of 80m, which was reduced from an initial 100m.

It’s been fairly evident from analyst reports that 2016 wasn’t a year for blockbuster Xiaomi growth. While it featured near the top of the sales pile in China, and held steady in India, its top emerging market, there was no great acceleration as in past years. For example, sales jumped from 7.2m in 2012, to 18.7m in 2013 and 61m in 2014.

A Xiaomi rep confirmed to us that the company will not be disclosing its 2016 sales numbers.</p>

That $45bn valuation (at its last funding round in December 2014) doesn't look so solid any more.
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi says shrinking smartphone sales won't hit the company • Reuters
Catherine Cadell:
<p>last year it missed its global smartphone targets by 12%, while its third-quarter China smartphone sales have tumbled 45 percent, according to research firm IDC - raising doubts that the valuation is still warranted.

Xiaomi's global vice-president Hugo Barra said the company's business model was not based on money made from handset sales per se and that it did not need to raise more funds or see any point in doing so at a valuation of less than $46bn.

"Basically we're giving [handsets] to you without making any money… we care about the recurring revenue streams over many years," he told Reuters in an interview.

"We could sell 10 billion smartphones and we wouldn't make a single dime in profits," he added.

Xiaomi, which discloses little of its profit and revenue figures, has increasingly emphasized its range of home appliances such as air and water purifiers, and rice cookers as key earnings drivers.

In April, Xiaomi Vice President Liu De said the firm expects sales of smart home devices to double to 10bn yuan ($1.5bn) this year.</p>

*smilingdoginfire* This is fine.
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Time to rethink Xiaomi’s value • The Information
Shai Oster:
<p>Given that Xiaomi doesn’t release its earnings, it’s arguably better to use revenue multiples instead of earnings as a tool to compare Xiaomi to other manufacturers. In addition, Xiaomi splits profits with hardware manufacturers. (Xiaomi argues that all of these devices contribute to creating a bigger user base to deliver internet services that will have recurring revenue, such as entertainment on television, money market funds and even loans.)

Consider Xiaomi as a hybrid between Apple and Philips, given a little optimism on growth rates for phone sales in India and the fast growth of its appliance sales back in China. This year, phone sales are on track to hit 60 million at an average selling price of $175, according to Canalys. That’s around $10.5 billion in sales. Consolidating revenue from televisions and other hardware could bring revenue to about $13.5 billion. One investor suggests that Xiaomi can be seen as two-thirds Apple, trading at about 2.6 times revenue, and one-third Philips, which last year traded at two times its revenue. Add extra juice for the high growth rates and it could be valued at three times revenue, or $40.5bn.

That’s an optimistic look and still below what it was rated at two years ago. Investors say Xiaomi doesn’t publicly talk about profitability, but executives have said the phone production business maintains an operating profit. Xiaomi has long claimed that the real profits will come from the sale of services to its growing user base, but says it has only started monetizing that base last year through advertising, games and other transactions.</p>

That's only a little down from the $46bn that's offered higher up in the story, and ignores the fact that Xiaomi's phone sales are slowing down dramatically (down 14% on 2015 so far this year). If it can't grow its user base, it's stuck.
xiaomi  valuation 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi is selling the concept phone of your wildest dreams • The Verge
Vlad Savov:
<p>Nothing says sci-fi like a bezel-less screen, and Xiaomi’s newly announced Mi Mix Android phablet is very sci-fi with its 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio. This 6.4-inch device has just been announced as a concept phone by the Chinese company, but weirdly enough, it has a price, ¥3,499 ($516), and a release date of November 4th in its home country.

Think of every out-there spec you could cram into a phone and the Xiaomi Mi Mix probably has it. The rear of this handset and its side buttons are both made out of ceramic. The display is curved at the corners — just like that Sharp prototype we recently saw — and all the top-mounted sensors have been removed. The proximity sensor has been replaced by ultrasound, the earpiece has been replaced with a piezoelectric speaker that uses the metal frame to generate sound, and the front-facing camera is relocated to the bottom (though the phone can thankfully be rotated upside down for more flattering selfies).</p>

Doubt there's a profit on it, so fill your boots: profit yourself at their expense.
xiaomi  smartphone 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
What went wrong for Xiaomi • IBT
David Gilbert:
<p>Xiaomi's meteoric rise was based on one simple fact: It was able to produce smartphones with premium hardware and features which cost a fraction of those on sale from Apple or Samsung. However that advantage rapidly vanished when multiple manufacturers followed suit and produced their own smartphones which offered premium specs at low prices.
However, unlike Xiaomi, its competitors were able to offer something new and something innovative. Vivo offered curved screens; Oppo and OnePlus dangled rapid charging; LeEco offered exclusive content; and Huawei threw in dual lens cameras and fingerprint sensors.

"I think Xiaomi's current performance and growth in the smartphone space has stalled, as competitors with better R&D, vertical manufacturing expertise, and a wider distribution and geographic footprint has surpassed the brand," Neil Shah, analyst with CounterPoint Research told IBTimes UK. "Xiaomi's inability to innovate independently is one of the key reasons."

Another issue for Xiaomi is its continued focus on the ultra-budget end of the market with products like its RedMi series, despite clear evidence that Chinese customers were willing to pay more for their smartphones…

…data from CounterPoint Research suggests that up to 85% of the company's revenue comes from smartphones, while another major source of revenue comes from its software and services division.
This means that investments in the likes of Ninebot, the Chinese company that bought Segway, have yet to pay off — and it is unclear if they ever will.

As Steve Millward wrote on the Tech in Asia blog, "Xiaomi is in deep s**t", and it is difficult to see a way back. "I don't see much of a recovery coming for Xiaomi in the future," Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research concludes.</p>
xiaomi  china 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
Chip orders for notebooks from Huawei and Xiaomi falling, say sources • Digitimes
Cage Chao and Jessie Shen:
<p>Chip orders for notebooks from Huawei Device and Xiaomi have fallen rapidly recently, according to industry sources.

Huawei and Xiaomi have both set their shipment goals at one million notebooks for 2016, which are likely to fail, the sources indicated. Orders placed by the two vendors already fell below 100,000 units each in March, the sources said.

Xiaomi once demanded its contract maker Inventec and other related Taiwan-based components suppliers get ready for monthly orders for as many as 300,000-400,000 notebooks, the sources noted. However, actual orders placed by the China-based firm reach only less than 50,000 units, the sources said.

Notebook orders placed by Huawei have also been lower than expected, the sources indicated. Huawei's initial focus on high-end 2-in-1 models is hampering its notebook sales, the sources said.</p>

They could be sourcing inside China. But they probably aren't.
xiaomi  huawei  laptops 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi takes on the MacBook with the $750 “Mi Notebook Air” • Ars Technica
Ron Amadeo on the two Xiaomi laptops:
<p>Both devices have one USB Type-C port for charging, 2 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack. The aluminum body comes in gold and silver, and there's a backlit keyboard. Manufacturing duties for the Mi Notebook Air are handled by Inventec and Wistron. The outside is absolutely devoid of logos, while the inside follows the MacBook layout pretty closely other than the body-colored keyboard.

The move into the struggling laptop market is an interesting one for Xiaomi. Xiaomi's usual strategy is to make money with apps and services on its MIUI Android ROM. There isn't much in the way of Xiaomi services for Windows 10, though. The devices do have "Mi Sync" software, which presumably will pull down some phone data. The laptop can also be paired to a Mi Band fitness band, so it will automatically unlock when the wearer is near, Apple Watch style.

Xiaomi isn't the first smartphone maker to make the jump to notebooks. Xiaomi's Chinese rival Huawei introduced the MateBook earlier this year. The 2-in-1 Surface clone marked the Huawei's first foray into larger mobile devices, but it featured little that made it stand out from the crowd. We'll have to see if Xiaomi can do better.</p>

Those are high prices for laptops in China that aren't made by Apple. Either Xiaomi knows something the rest of us don't about the laptop market in China (and the laptop market generally), or it's going to fail hard on this one.
xiaomi  laptop 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
As global tablet market tumbles, PC brands develop survival tactics to cope • ABI Research
<p>Downward trends in tablet shipments, with Apple and Samsung YoY shipments falling from 62% to 54% as the market shrinks, are forcing PC brands to strategize survival tactics for their product portfolios, finds ABI Research. While Amazon and Huawei will focus on tablets despite the dwindling figures, not all vendors share this mentality. Dell and HP, for instance, made the decision to shy away from the tablet market and will instead concentrate on providing 2-in-1 systems based on Windows.

“Amazon and Huawei may successfully buck the trend, but each company is taking a drastically different stance on how to best accomplish this,” says David McQueen, Research Director at ABI Research. “Amazon managed to move away from raising revenue through hardware to recurring digital content sales, but Huawei, and even Lenovo for that matter, are instead looking to form a wider product suite that includes tablets in addition to their legacy PC and smartphone products.”

Xiaomi also plans to follow in Huawei and Lenovo’s footsteps, recently announcing a tie-up with Microsoft to ship Microsoft Office and Skype on Xiaomi’s Android smartphones and tablets.</p>

Notable in yesterday's Microsoft results: "lower revenues from patent licensing", ie from Android vendors. Wonder if the Office/Skype inclusion is the quid pro quo - and if it is, how well it's converting. I can't imagine many Xiaomi customers eagerly signing up for an Office subscription.
tablets  microsoft  xiaomi 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Asian market turmoil: HTC and Huawei down, Vivo, OPPO and Asus on the rise • AndroidAuthority
Kris Carlon:
<p>this year Huawei looks to be in a little trouble. While still maintaining the number one spot in terms of production volume estimates (a loose indicator of sales success), Huawei’s dominance looks to be on the decline. Market analysts TrendForce have just downgraded Huawei’s production estimates for the year. This potentially puts the number one spot up for grabs next year as other OEMs ascend rapidly.

<img src="" width="100%" />

Just as Huawei is starting to plateau, smaller companies like Vivo and OPPO are on the rise. While Huawei’s predicted growth has been lowered to 10.2% year-on-year, OPPO has been estimated to grow by 59.2% and Vivo by 40.4%. Xiaomi and Lenovo are expected to see negative growth in 2016, continuing their decline. Meanwhile, young upstart LeEco is enjoying massive growth of 300% year-on-year, even if its production volumes are still well below its more established competition.</p>

OPPO and vivo are low-end devices; Huawei is pushing into the higher-end space. Xiaomi and Lenovo have problems though if that forecast holds.
smartphone  huawei  xiaomi 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi – Broken engagement • Radio Free Mobile
Richard Windsor thinks Xiaomi has poor engagement with its ecosystem and is struggling on the smartphone side:
<p>I think that there is real risk that in Xiaomi’s 2016 [smartphone] units decline YoY on the back of a much softer market and much tougher competition.

The edge that Xiaomi carved out for itself did not last long and I see it having to cut prices in order to minimise market share losses.

Hence, it is not difficult to see revenues declining by 10% or more in 2016. In this instance, Xiaomi will have to act quickly and trim its operations back in order to avoid a loss both at the EBIT level and in terms of cash flow.</p>

He puts a price tag of $5bn on it - rather than the $50bn others did last year when investing. Seems more reasonable.
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Exclusive: Xiaomi revenues were flat in 2015 • Fortune
Scott Cendrowski:
<p>Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker and second highest-valued startup in the world at $45 billion, barely grew sales at all last year.

Revenue for 2015 reached 78 billion yuan ($12.5bn), a 5% rise from 2014’s 74.3bn yuan, a person in the company’s public affairs office said for the first time over the weekend. Taking into account the falling value of the Chinese currency, the yuan, sales rose 3% in US dollar terms.

Xiaomi has been mum about the 2015 sales total since founder Lei Jun gave a revenue target of 100 billion yuan ($16bn at the time) at a government meeting in March last year. The Xiaomi public affairs official, Ge Liang, announced the 2015 figure in an interview this weekend at a Beijing tech conference. The interview later ran on a few Chinese news sites, including the conference’s own. (One of the news sites, China News Net, has since deleted it.)

A Xiaomi spokeswoman says, “We have never shared the revenue figure and we are not able to comment on the figure that you shared. What we have shared is we sold over 70 million smartphones in 2015 despite the shrinking of the smartphone market.”</p>

Xiaomi's smartphone shipments were up 14.5%, so if its revenues - which now also include TVs and set-top boxes and air conditioners and so on - rose 5%, that's not a healthy sign. Could it just be that all the money pumped into Xiaomi was chasing the wrong business model?
xiaomi  revenue 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi sees sales shrink in Q1 2016 » Tech In Asia
Erik Crouch:
<p>Xiaomi sold 14.8m smartphones globally in the first quarter of 2016, a notable decline from 17.5m in the last quarter of 2015.

The new figure comes from research by IHS Technology, and the Q4 number from Strategy Analytics. Tech in Asia reached out to Xiaomi about these numbers, and the company declined to comment.

The number shows that Xiaomi’s slowing growth in 2015 is turning into its worst nightmare in 2016: falling sales.

Xiaomi sold 70 million smartphones last year.

These aren’t official Xiaomi statistics, and reports compiled by research firms are best treated as estimates. But even providing for a hefty margin of error – and keeping in mind that Xiaomi has said it wants to move away from “goals such as smartphone sales” and isn’t likely to publish Q1 stats – the figures show a company that will need to improve its numbers if it aims to grow its smartphone department at all this year.</p>

Sequential quarter comparisons (especially from 4Q to 1Q) are rarely meaningful, but the year-on-year comparison is still down: Xiaomi shipped 15.3m in Q1 2015, from the figures I have.
xiaomi  smartphones 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi – hard life » Radio Free Mobile
Richard Windsor is a sceptic about the prospects of the venture capitalistis' starry-eyed kid:
<p>Xiaomi owns 30% of Xunlei and has incorporated its acceleration technology into its ecosystem from MIUI6 (2014) going forward. As a result of this, the performance of Xunlei’s advertising revenues gives some indication of how usage is faring within Xiaomi’s ecosystem and the numbers are not encouraging.

Xunlei’s Q4 2015A revenues declined 1.1% to US$35m however within that online advertising revenues were $1.7m growing 24% YoY with mobile advertising making a contribution for the first time.

Xiaomi claims to have 170m MIUI users all of which have the Xunlei technology but if Xunlei can only generate $1.7m from those users, difficult questions have to be asked with regards to engagement. This makes me concerned that although Xiaomi devices register strong usage, much of that usage may be occurring within the services of its rivals rather than its own…

…if all Xiaomi is doing is providing nicely specified devices at rock bottom prices then it is in fact helping its competitors rather than itself. This is exactly the same problem that other Android handset makers have outside of China. These handset makers slash each other’s throats to put better and better devices in the hands of users but it is Google that reaps all of the benefit from the subsequent usage increases.</p>
xiaomi  xunlei  android 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi – All mod cons. » Radio Free Mobile
Richard Windsor, noting that the Xiaomi Mi5 has had 16.8m registrations to buy - unsurprising, given that it's a bargain-basement price for a high-spec phone, and that there had been nothing comparable from Xiaomi for a year:
<p>the company has said that it has passed 170m users but there is no sign of monetising them. One of the main reasons for this is that a large proportion of its users are not using a Xiaomi device. [I] calculate that at the end of Q4 15A, that there were 103.2m users with a Xiaomi device leaving 66.8m that have used one of the 69 or more mods that are available to put MIUI on a non-Xiaomi device. I believe that the vast majority of these ‘mods’ are outside of China where Xiaomi has no ecosystem and instead pushes Google.

This means that the effective user base from which it could potentially make money is actually around 100m. Xiaomi has chosen the hardware route of monetisation but unlike Apple, the ecosystem is clearly not exclusive to the device. Consequently, should Xiaomi’s ecosystem become popular, it will be unable to put its prices up because users will be able to download a ‘mod’ and get the ecosystem for free.

This is why I think that Xiaomi will have to either shut down the ‘mods’ or start charging for them to begin the monetisation of its ecosystem. This is still a long way in the future, and the Xiaomi ecosystem still needs an awful lot of work before it gets to the point where it can begin to make money for its owner.</p>

He values Xiaomi at $5.9bn (compared to the $45bn of its last funding round). You have to say his argument is tough to refute.

But if Xiaomi can satisfy those orders for the Mi5, it would rival Samsung for the best-selling premium Android phone.
xiaomi  android  miui 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo: the challengers leading China’s charge against Apple » The Guardian
My contribution to the wider wisdom on the topic:
<p>China’s phone market, which accounted for a third of all smartphone sales worldwide in 2015, is already slowing as the number of first-time phone buyers declines and people delay replacement purchases. A year ago, phones were being replaced on average after just 13 months; now that period is lengthening. According to Woody Oh, an analyst at research group Strategy Analytics, total Chinese smartphone sales in October-December actually fell by 4%, to 118m; Apple sold 15.5m phones there, up from 13.5m a year before, while its worldwide sales remained flat at 74.4m.

But that was only enough to make Apple the third-biggest supplier behind local firms Huawei (pronounced “Hoo-wah-way”) and Xiaomi (“she-yow-mee”), which each sold nearly 18m units. And just behind Apple were two more local rivals, Vivo and Oppo.</p>

China's smartphone market was 438m overall in 2015. That's about 30% of the entire market.
china  apple  xiaomi  huawei 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi finally releases 2015 sales stats » Tech in Asia
Erik Crouch:
<p>The case of the missing phone statistics has finally been solved – today, Xiaomi revealed that it sold 70m smartphones in 2015, a number below even their most modest predictions.

It’s been apparent for a while that <a href="">something went wrong for Xiaomi in 2015</a>. In 2014, the company predicted that they would sell 100m phones in the coming year – an estimate that was promptly bumped down to 80m last March.

When late 2015 rolled around, and China’s techies eagerly awaited the company’s sales report, they were met with silence. CEO Lei Jun talked in December about how the company “does not emphasize goals such as smartphone sales anymore,” which certainly didn’t build anyone’s confidence that the company had met its targets.</p>

As Crouch notes, 2016 could be make or break. With China's smartphone market slowing down, it really needs to find something fresh.
xiaomi  hardware 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
China’s Xiaomi under pressure to prove value to investors » WSJ
Eva Dou on Xiaomi, valued at $46bn in its last round, which looks to have missed its 80m phone sales target for 2015 (revised down from 100m):
<p>“The competition in China’s smartphone market has intensified tremendously this year,” said a Xiaomi spokeswoman, who declined to comment on the company’s valuation or say whether it met its 2015 sales target. She said Xiaomi sales were “within expectations” and its flash sales are primarily for new phones when production ramps up.

The lack of its own high-end chip technology also proved to be a competitive disadvantage for Xiaomi last year. When early versions of Qualcomm Inc.’s Snapdragon 810 processor were reported to have overheated, it dampened sales of Xiaomi’s most expensive handset yet, the 2,299 yuan ($349) Mi Note, analysts said.

Xiaomi couldn’t fall back on an in-house developed chip to get around the problem as Huawei and Samsung did.

Xiaomi and Qualcomm declined to comment on the processor. Analysts say the problems have been fixed.

Overseas growth also has been slow for Xiaomi, with the percentage of its smartphones sold overseas in the first nine months of 2015 rising to 8%, compared with 7% in the 2014 calendar year, according to Canalys. Moreover, Xiaomi’s thin patent portfolio became a hurdle as it sought to expand in markets such as India. A lack of patents led to a court ruling that crimped its access to the crucial India market.</p>

Hard to see now how Xiaomi isn't Just One More Android OEM.
xiaomi  2015 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi plays down sales target » OmniFeed
Gillian Wong ad Eva Duo:
<p>“This target [of 80m shipped in 2015, given earlier this year is not the No. 1 priority for us,” Mr. Lei said on the sidelines of the World Internet Conference on Wednesday in the Chinese city of Wuzhen, when asked if Xiaomi could reach its smartphone sales target. “What we care about the most is the rate of customer satisfaction.”

Mr. Lei played down the sales target, saying he was “constantly pushed by everyone” to give the figure earlier this year.

He said in a statement in July that Xiaomi sold 34.7m smartphones in the first half of the year. Xiaomi sold 61.1m smartphones in 2014 and 18.7m in 2013.</p>

The "80m" number is actually a reduction from the 100m or so that Xiaomi was hoping for <a href="">back in March</a>.
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi's $45bn valuation seen 'unfeasible' as growth cools » Bloomberg Business
<a href="">Tim Culpan</a> saves the best for the last line in this story about Xiaomi rowing back on its aims even of 80m handset shipments this year, while it tries to expand "ancillaries" such as air purifiers and scooters:
<p>The ancillary businesses are still relatively small, with the company expecting the services units to account for just $1bn of its $16bn in projected revenue this year, Barra said in a July interview. Sales of smartphones outside China accounted for just 7% of its total in the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

Xiaomi has struggled partly because competitors Huawei, Lenovo Group Ltd. and Gionee - among others - quickly copied its business model with ultra-thin devices, glossy websites and lower prices, allowing consumers to easily switch to the hippest new phone.

"Xiaomi was very popular because it was the first brand that marketed its phones as being limited edition," said Chen Si, a 25-year-old real estate worker in Beijing who bought the Mi 3 after its 2013 release, citing its cool design. "I wouldn’t say I am loyal to Xiaomi, I just think that a phone should be affordable and easy to use. If not, then I’ll just change."

A year later, she switched to the iPhone 6.</p>

*mic drop*
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Facing pressure in China, Xiaomi also stalls in India » The Information
Amir Efrati:
<p>the domestic Chinese market has slowed, while Xiaomi has dropped to No. 2 there after Huawei Technologies in terms of market share for the third quarter of this year, according to research firm Canalys.

The results in India seem to bear out the bear thesis on Xiaomi’s expansion plans: that it will be harder to succeed outside of China because it would have to work within the bounds of Google’s version of Android, where it can’t customize the software—and run an app store—the way it does inside of China, where Google mobile apps are almost completely absent.

In India, Xiaomi is “just another low-cost phone hardware company,” says one rival executive.

One Indian e-commerce executive whose firm sells smartphones says Xiaomi has “stagnated” online and that sales of Samsung and Motorola phones were much stronger during a recent period of online promotions known as “Big Billions Days.” Xiaomi, bucking its traditional practice of selling phones only online, has been willing to sacrifice some margin and sell phones through some retail stores in India.</p>

If you have to offer Google Mobile Services, in the end your differentiation will be whittled away.
xiaomi  india 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
India LTE smartphone shipments grew 2400% annually climbing to 10m units in Q3 2015 » Counterpoint Technology Market Research
Tarun Pathak has the details. Here's one of the more interesting pullouts (from lots) about a local OEM:
<p>Micromax maintained the second position in both overall mobile phone market and the smartphone segment with a market share of 13.7% and 17.7% respectively.

The brand’s share from online channel increased during the quarter. However, it is now facing pressure competition in $50-$100 price segment from Intex, Lava and others.

Micromax’s Cyanogen based online only brand ‘Yu’ launched its cheapest LTE model ‘Yunique’ during the quarter and the brand has been growing steadily ever since its launch.

Micromax Yu brand alone is now selling more smartphones than Xiaomi online, depicting it’s going to be challenging even for popular brands such as Xiaomi to scale in Indian market</p>

If Xiaomi can't succeed in India, it's going to have a real problem.
micromax  india  xiaomi 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi won't hit its smartphone sales targets this year » TechInAsia
Charles Custer:
<p>Last year, Xiaomi gave itself the goal of selling 100 million phones in 2015. That seemed ambitious, but not outside the realm of possibility, especially after the fast-growing company finished 2014 having shipped more than 60 million units after having originally projected only 40 million sales.

2015 has not gone nearly as well, though. By March, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun had revised this year’s goal to 80 to 100 million units. In July, the company announced that it had sold 34.7 million smartphones in the first half of the year, putting it on track to possibly miss even the lower end of Lei Jun’s revised target.

Now, there are additional signs that even 80 million might be optimistic. Taiwan-based research firm Trendforce just released a report suggesting that Xiaomi is on track to sell around 70 million smartphones this year. Meanwhile, research firm Canalys is saying that Xiaomi’s sales in the third quarter of this year actually dropped year-on-year, the first time that has happened.</p>

What's disrupting Xiaomi? Probably just the slowdown in the Chinese market, which is happening faster than its ability to expand into new markets. Hence it offering products such as a cheap 4K TV (China only, sadly).
xiaomi  smartphone 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi confronts an unnerving time » WSJ
Li Yuan speaks to Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun:
<p>How Xiaomi responds [to new challengers] could offer a clue to how well China’s booming tech industry transitions to its next stage. Riding a wave of growing mobile Internet adoption, China’s technology sector has churned out significant global companies and minted fortunes. But growth is slowing across the board, presenting challenges to a new generation of entrepreneurs who must learn how to manage in tougher times.

Mr. Lei sees a five-year lull in smartphone innovation that will make “wow” moments harder to come by, and will require competitors to focus on user experience to differentiate and tap consumer niches. The key, he says, is to provide value.

“We’re doing what Uniqlo, Muji and Ikea have been doing,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to make good but cheap things.”</p>

That five-year lull is quite a thing to contemplate.
xiaomi  china 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Worldwide smartphone market posts 11.6% year-over-year growth in Q2 2015, the second-highest shipment total for a single quarter » IDC
According to the latest preliminary release from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 337.2 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), up 11.6% from the 302.1 million units in 2Q14. The 2Q15 shipment volume represents the second highest quarterly total on record. Following an above average first quarter (1Q15), smartphone shipments were still able to remain slightly above the previous quarter thanks to robust growth in many emerging markets. In the worldwide mobile phone market (inclusive of smartphones), vendors shipped 464.6 million units, down -0.4% from the 466.3 million units shipped 2Q14.

Quite a contrast with the gloomier number from Trendforce on Tues/Weds. That gives smartphones 73% of sales; the 90% point, when featurephones are just edge cases, is fast approaching. Minor details: Samsung was the only top vendor to see a fall in shipments (and that by about 1m, so within margins of error). Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi all seeing growth faster than the market.

A notable quote from Melissa Chau on the phone team: "IDC now tracks over 200 different smartphone brands globally, many of them focused on entry level and mid-range models, and most with a regional or even single-country focus."
smartphone  apple  samsung  xiaomi 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Clarifying Microsoft's announcement re Windows 10 build for Xiaomi Mi4 » Hugo Barra
We received many questions from Mi fans about an announcement made by Microsoft yesterday regarding Windows 10 Technical Preview for Mi 4 users in China. We’d like to clarify a few points.

- This is an experimental program led by Microsoft, working directly with the Mi fan community in China. 

- Microsoft is working on a build of Windows 10 specifically for Mi 4 devices. This Windows 10 build will not be running on top of Android nor be available as a dual-boot option. A small number of Mi 4 power users from the Xiaomi Forum in China who choose to take part in this experimental program will have to manually re-flash their Mi 4 devices with this Windows 10 ROM, in the same way they would re-flash other Android ROMs.

Also, "Xiaomi continues to fully embrace the Android ecosystem". This is a Microsoft initiative through and through.
xiaomi  microsoft 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
How Bluebox fell for a counterfeit Xiaomi Mi 4 to claim it came with pre-installed malware » BGR India
Rajat Agrawal:
Over the past few days, a little known but well funded mobile security firm, Bluebox, published a report claiming Xiaomi was pre-installing malware on its Mi 4 smartphone. The report also claimed that Xiaomi was shipping the Mi 4 with a rooted ROM and came pre-installed with tampered versions of popular benchmarking apps. It also claimed that Xiaomi’s own identifier app showed that the phone was a legitimate Xiaomi product, raising questions on the security of products made by one of the fastest rising smartphone brand in South East Asia. However, as it turns out, the smartphone Bluebox had acquired through an unofficial source in China was nothing more than a sophisticated counterfeit. But how did a startup, with $27.5 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Tenaya Capital, and Andreas Bechtolsheim fall for a counterfeit product?

Because it was fake, and they didn't twig it.
xiaomi  bluebox  security 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Why do we care about Xiaomi? » Benedict Evans
Evans (who works at VC company a16z) thinks we care (or should) because of what it implies for the "next stage" of Android:
Historically, Google's lock on Android outside China has therefore been based on three things: 

• You can't experiment outside very tight constraints: making even one forked device means Google won't allow you to sell a single phone running Google services. And all the OEMs have too much to lose to risk experimenting
• There's a widespread belief that an Android device without Google services (really, this means Maps and the app store) is unsaleable outside China (I'm not entirely sure about this, <a href="">as I wrote here</a>)
• No OEM managed to build a compelling set of services or tools of its own that might offer alternatives to Google, because, well, that was impossible (see above)

These new trends place all of those in question. The growth of smaller operators pursuing different models, with no existing base of sales and hence nothing to fear from  Google ban, may mean more experiments with forks. Xiaomi and its imitators point to a new potential model to differentiate (and note that Xiaomi is not a fork), and Cyanogen (an a16z portfolio company) offers the tools to do it. Smaller OEMs are less powerful than Samsung as a counterpart to Google, but also harder collectively to impose upon - Google can't shout at them all.
android  google  mobile  xiaomi 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Popular Xiaomi phone could put data at risk » Bluebox Security
There's a big asterisk on this one, but first read what Andrew Blaich found:
We ran several of the top malware and antivirus scanners on the Mi 4 to determine if any questionable apps came pre-loaded on the device. We used several scanners to compile a comprehensive list as some scanners returned nothing and others flagged different apps. Ultimately, we found six suspicious apps that can be considered malware, spyware or adware; a few were more notable than others.

One particularly nefarious app was Yt Service. Yt Service embeds an adware service called DarthPusher that delivers ads to the device among other things[2]. This was an interesting find because, though the app was named Yt Service, the developer package was named (note this app is NOT from Google). Yt Service is highly suspicious because it disguised its package to look as if it came from Google; something an Android user would expect to find on their device. In other words, it tricks users into believing it’s a “safe” app vetted by Google.

Other risky apps of note included PhoneGuardService (com.egame.tonyCore.feicheng) classified as a Trojan, AppStats classified (org.zxl.appstats) as riskware and SMSreg classified as malware[3]

However, Xiaomi says that the device "appears to have been tampered [with] in the distribution/retail process by an unknown third party". But as Blaich points out, if it's that easy to mess with, that raises other questions too. Selling smartphones isn't as simple as just choosing a spec list.
xiaomi  malware  retail  bluebox 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Qualcomm deal sparks China smartphone patent skirmishes » Reuters
From last Friday (I didn't link to it then), but as <a href="">Ben Thompson</a> points out, this element of the deal could have big implications - given that Xiaomi became China's biggest smartphone vendor in 2014:
The settlement has allowed wireless patent holders like ZTE and Huawei Technologies to seek royalties, while introducing a new risk of litigation to China's younger handset industry at a time when domestic patent law is gaining traction.

"For the first time, the settlement is forcing domestic manufacturers to recognize the value of IP (intellectual property) and consider how to use it strategically, which companies do in the West," said Wang Yanhui, secretary general of the Mobile China Alliance, an industry consortium. "That's the real significance of the (Qualcomm) settlement."

The competitive dynamics are particularly complex in China, the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer and consumer, as large Chinese telecom equipment makers that hold many essential patents for wireless technology also compete in the phone market against younger, nimbler manufacturers.

The settlement could prove tricky for companies like Xiaomi Inc, a four-year-old Beijing-based smartphone maker whose weak patent position has proved a major vulnerability. In December, a court in India temporarily halted its shipments there after Swedish telecom firm Ericsson complained Xiaomi had not been paying its royalties.

Although Xiaomi has been reported by Chinese media to be one of the handset makers now targeted by ZTE's lawyers, both companies declined to discuss the issue.

But in response to questions from Reuters, Bin Lin, Xiaomi's president, said he expects Xiaomi to only attract more patent threats and litigation from rivals in the future, as does any young firm that enjoys explosive growth.
xiaomi  china  qualcomm  patent 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi has a San Francisco press event scheduled for 12 February... but it's still not entering the US market » Android Police
Any tech journalist worth his silicon would probably assume that Xiaomi intends to finally push into the US market to take on the likes of Apple and Samsung, possibly even with new mobile hardware. But apparently that's not the case. We specifically asked Xiaomi's PR representative about the possibility of a North American expansion, and this is the response that we were given:
We can also confirm that Xiaomi will not be launching in the US or entering the US market this time, but this is an opportunity to get to know the company and leadership a bit more.​

Any tech journalist worth her or his silicon would know that Xiaomi would face insuperable IP issues in trying to enter the US market, and also that it's simply the wrong sort of market to try to get in to just now for Xiaomi.

At least they called Xiaomi to have their castles in the air shot down.
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Supply chain sees weak demand for Xiaomi's Mi4 model in 4Q14 » Digitimes
Supply chain shipments for Xiaomi Technology's Mi4 were weaker-than-expected in the fourth quarter of 2014, while those for the company's previous Hongmi model remained steady.

Orders to supply chains for the Mi4 throughout the quarter until February 2015 have lagged, which coupled with an expected slowdown in the overall handset industry during the first quarter of 2015 has left supply chains rather pessimistic about orders for the device.

Supply chain sources commented that China's handset market cooled down over the fourth quarter, which coupled with weak demand in emerging markets also influenced orders for the Mi4.

The cooling market in China really is going to have a lot of effects - principally, forcing a number of Chinese OEMs to look abroad or suffer badly in the slowdown.
xiaomi  china 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
5 new phone makers hoping to replicate Xiaomi’s success >> Tech In Asia
Much more detail in the article, but the five brands (or sub-brands) are: <br />• Yu Yureka (by Micromax)<br />• Shenqi (by Lenovo)<br />• Ivvi (by Coolpad)<br />• OnePlus (born out of Oppo)<br />• Himax.
mobile  india  china  smartphone  xiaomi 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
This is how Xiaomi keeps the cost of its smartphones so low >> TechCrunch
Jon Russell spoke to Hugo Barra, who explained:
“A product that stays on the shelf for 18-24 months — which is most of our products — goes through three or four price cuts. The Mi2 and Mi2s are essentially the same device, for example,” Barra explained. “The Mi2/Mi2s were on sale for 26 months. The Redmi 1 was first launched in September 2013, and we just announced the Redmi 2 this month, that’s 16 months later.”

That’s important because the longer runway for devices gives Xiaomi leverage to secure better component deals with its suppliers.

“The reason we do these price cuts is because we’ve managed to negotiate component cost decreases [with our suppliers] over time, which ends up leaving us with a bigger margin than we’d like to have, so we do a price cut,” Barra added.

Ben Thompson did a <a href="">similar (and I'd say better) interview with Barra</a>, which is on Stratechery; subscriptions are cheap and recommended.

In Thompson's interview, he ranges over the problems for rivals of channel conflict, what Apple has done with Android's ideas, and handset profitability. I'd say Thompson's interview is better than Russell's - in part because it doesn't use the grandstanding tone that so many <strike>trade papers</strike> tech blogs do; Thompson assumes intelligence in his readers. Thus:
Barra: Component prices, like if you look at a chipset today, if you want to buy the same chipset a year from now, the price would have dropped much more than 50%, sometimes the price will have dropped 90% for that same component. So the bill of materials for a product will fall dramatically over time.

Thompson: How much? What percentage?

HB: Well, the Mi 2 S started selling at ¥1999, and the last time we were selling it before we had to take it off the market because we could no longer source components otherwise we would have kept making it, was ¥1299. So the price dropped substantially, what are we talking about here, 40%. The [bill of materials] dropped a lot more than that.

BT: Ballpark?

HB: I don’t know.

BT: But at ¥1299 it was more profitable than at ¥1999.

HB: Yes, certainly, at least ¥1999 at the beginning.
xiaomi  smartphone  pricing 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi's Ambition >> stratechery
Ben Thompson, explaining how demographics and non-renting in China works in Xiaomi's favour as it expands its portfolio with super-keen fan buyers:
This, then, is the key to understanding Xiaomi: they’re not so much selling smartphones as they are selling a lifestyle, and the key to that lifestyle is MiUI, Xiaomi’s software layer that ties all of these things together.

In fact, you could argue that Xiaomi is actually the first “Internet of Things” company: unlike Google (Nest), Apple (HomeKit), or even Samsung (SmartThings), all of whom are offering some sort of open SDK to tie everything together (a necessity given that most of their customers already have appliances that won’t be replaced anytime soon) Xiaomi is integrating everything itself and selling everything one needs on to a fan base primed to outfit their homes for the very first time. It’s absolutely a vertical strategy – the company is like Apple after all – it’s just that the product offering is far broader than anything even Gene Munster [proponent for years of a TV set from Apple] could imagine. The services Lei Jun talks about sell the products and tie them all together, but they are all Xiaomi products in the end.

Just bear in mind that there are about a billion people in China, and the one-child rule is being relaxed, and you begin to glimpse how big Xiaomi could be. "A computer on every desk"? Pah. A Xiaomi device in every room in all of China and beyond, more like.
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi confirms it sold 61m phones in 2014, has plans to expand to more countries >> TechCrunch
Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker that raised $1.1bn last month, has confirmed that it sold 61.12m phones last year, bringing in an apparent revenues of 74.3bn CNY (US$12bn) in the process.

The new figures were released by CEO Lei Jun on Weibo and are right in line with the company’s expectation for the year. Xiaomi sold 18.7m devices in 2013, and 7.2m in 2012, so the four-year-old company is continuing to grow its business at a rapid rate — its recent funding round valued it at $45bn and it is now the world’s third largest smartphone maker.

Great! Although note that those numbers mean it sold fewer in calendar Q4 than Q3 (Ben Bajarin <a href="">charted it here</a> - from 18.1m to 17.1m. Why? No explanation given, but (you'd hope) the venture capitalist investors must have known when they piled in. Bajarin reckons (and it seems very likely) that they fell out of the world's top five smartphone makers in Q4.

So where's Xiaomi going? Into multiple smart devices - phones will quickly get played out - but I don't see any chance of them coming to the US or Europe with a phone in 2015. They'd get fried over the intellectual property issues relating to smartphone patents, where they've already been burnt in India.
xiaomi  smartphone 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Here's proof the Xiaomi MacBook Air clone story is fake
Steven Millward:
A reverse Google image search on the fake Xiaomi laptop reveals that the closest image source seems to be an undated clone, with the splendid name Kaka i5 (pictured below), that already has an orange power button. So the Xiaomi laptop hoaxers simply had to Photoshop on an orange Xiaomi logo.

The dubious story first appeared in English on GizmoChina, a site we’ve never heard of before, and then was picked up without further investigation by well-known sites such as 9to5Mac and BusinessInsider (update: story screenshots <a href="">here</a> and <a href="">here</a>, respectively). Not so much Pulitzer prize for journalism as Wurlitzer prize for churnalism.

Round of applause for that last phrase, sir. Chapeau.
xiaomi  hoax  laptop 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi may adopt sapphire for covers of 5.7in smartphone >> Digitimes
China-based smartphone vendor Xiaomi Technology is likely to adopt sapphire for protective covers of Xiaomi 5, its 5.7-inch flagship model that will be showcased at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Taiwan-based supply chain makers cited industry sources in China as indicating.

Japan-based Kyocera in early 2014 launched smartphones with protective covers made from internally-produced sapphire in the US market through cooperation with Verizon Wireless, while China-based Vivo and Huawei Device also launched smartphones with sapphire covers, the sources said.

If Xiaomi decides to adopt sapphire, existing sapphire production capacity is not sufficient to meet the demand, according to sources with Taiwan-based sapphire wafer makers.

Even with Xiaomi's smartphone volumes, this probably isn't possible. Maybe a high-end model?
xiaomi  sapphire 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
Huawei, with 30,000 patents in China, is preparing to sue Xiaomi >> Patently Apple
local first-generation smartphone manufacturer rivals in China such as Huawei and ZTE are now going after Xiaomi where they know they're weak: Patents. With Ericsson's success against Xiaomi in India, both Chinese rivals are now racing to file lawsuits. 

A Korean report tapping into industry sources stated that earlier this week Huawei and ZTE were known to be preparing to sue Xiaomi, OPPO, and Bubugao for infringement of their patent rights.

Earlier, Huawei and ZTE sent out a warning letter to these companies asking them to stop infringing on their patents and pay legitimate royalties. However, as they did not respond, Huawei and ZTE decided to take legal action against them.

An industry source added that "It was confirmed that China's second-generation smartphone manufacturers had been violating four to five patents related to communications technology, including WCDMA, which is used in 3G mobile communications."

Huawei and ZTE are strong patent holders, collecting more than 70 percent of relevant royalties in China's mobile phone market. Huawei has nearly 30,000 of the 39,000 mobile phone patents in China. It has also registered 7,000 patents this year alone.

Oh dear, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
patents  xiaomi  huawei  china  zte 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi's India ban partially lifted >> Tech In Asia
Last week, Chinese phone maker Xiaomi was hit with a sales ban in India. Today, that has been partially lifted by the Delhi High Court, <a href="">reports The Hindu</a>.

Today’s ruling allows Xiaomi to sell only Qualcomm-powered smartphones in India, and only until January 8, 2015. This allows Xiaomi to sell three of the four models it had launched in India – the Redmi Note 4G, the Mi3, and the Redmi 1S. The MediaTek-powered Redmi Note remains fully banned.

This is a temporary reprieve for Xiaomi – its intellectual property battle in India is far from over. We’ve contacted Xiaomi to ask when its online sales will recommence (Update: No comment for now).
ericsson  qualcomm  xiaomi  patents  india 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
It may be crushing Samsung in China, but Xiaomi barely makes a profit >> Forbes
Parmy Olson:
Chinese smartphone upstart Xiaomi, which this year grabbed Samsung’s No. 1 spot in China with its low-cost smartphones, revealed startlingly-low profits in a filing to the Shenzen stock exchange on Monday, <a href="">Reuters reported</a>.

The company earned $56m in net profit in 2013, on sales of $4.3bn. That’s an operating margin of just 1.8%, razor-thin when compared to Apple’s operating margin (which was 28.7% in 2013) or even Samsung’s (18.7%), which are being forced down by low-cost Indian and Chinese vendors like Xiaomi.

Eyebrows now raised at the WSJ report from earlier which said Xiaomi made a profit ten times that in 2012. Either the WSJ had the wool pulled, or Xiaomi is expanding dangerously fast. A spokesperson for Xiaomi said this "didn't represent the whole company", which somewhat contradicts its filing.
xiaomi  profit 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
** A Letter to Indian Mi Fans ** >> Hugo Barra on Facebook
Dear Mi fans,

We have been committed to continue our sales of Redmi Note and Redmi 1S devices in India. In the last 2 days alone, we received about 150,000 registrations for Redmi Note on Flipkart and the momentum has been terrific.

However, we have been forced to suspend sales in India until further notice due to an order passed by the Delhi High Court. As a law abiding company, we are investigating the matter carefully and assessing our legal options.

One way or another, Xiaomi's going to have to pay up, and that's going to hit its bottom line unless it comes up with its own patents.
xiaomi  india  patents 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
FRAND-ly injunctions from India: has ex parte become the “standard”? >> Spicy IP
Following up on the injunction given against Xiaomi in the Indian high court blocking further sales of the Chinese handsets over standards-essential patents owned by Ericsson:
given that Ericsson sued Indian telecom companies in the past, one needs to carefully reflect on the impact that these patent wars are likely to have on national interest and the growth of the Indian telecom industry. While there are plenty of writings in the pharma space (the various tussles between MNC’s on the one hand and the local generic industry and public health/affordable medication on the other), we haven’t focussed much on the telecom terrain. The time is now ripe to focus on this technology sector as well!

See this ET article from Soma Das and Anandita Singh, which speaks of the latest order in the Ericcson vs Micromax dispute (covered by Rupali on SpicyIP) and reflects a bit on this oft-neglected “national interest” dimension:

“The Delhi High Court has asked homegrown handset maker Micromax to pay a royalty that amounts up to 1% of the selling price of its devices to Ericsson for using the Swedish equipment maker’s patents on technologies that are essential to manufacture the products. The interim order holds until December 31, 2015, the deadline set by the court to conclude the trial…

Apparently China sets a ceiling of 0.017% of adjusted sale value of handsets for the total SEP payout. India might be closer to that, but other countries won't be. Xiaomi is going to have a problem.
xiaomi  ericsson  sep  patents  india 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
Breaking News: Delhi High Court grants injunction against Xiaomi >> Spicy IP
[On Monday] the Delhi High Court granted an ex parte injunction order against Chinese operator Xiaomi for infringement of Ericsson’s patents. The patents in question are Standards-Essential Patents (SEPs) which are subject to FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) terms. However, they may also be the same patents which are the subject matters of litigation Ericsson has mounted against Micromax, Gionee and Intex. As Shamnad Sir <a href="">noted</a> earlier today, while Ericsson has largely favourable orders against Micromax and Gionee, the same cannot be said for its case against Intex. Therefore, when the same patents are potentially in question under other cases as well, there was no need for the Courts to rush to grant an injunction against a new defendant, namely Xiaomi.

At this juncture, it is more interesting to note the reasons provided for granting the said injunction. One factor that the Court found persuasive was that Xiaomi had not responded to Ericsson’s repeated communications  (6 in number from July 2014). However, it must be questioned whether Xiaomi’s purported laxity in this matter is a sufficient reason to grant an injunction against them. More so, when an alternative remedy in the form of damages is available which is one of the cardinal principles that goes against the granting of injunctions.

This ex parte order injuncts Xiaomi from selling, advertising, manufacturing or importing devices that infringe the SEPs in question. The judge also directed the Customs officials to stop the imports under the IPR Rules, 2007. Moreover, local commissioners have been appointed to visit Xiaomi officers to ensure the implementation of these orders.

This is going to put a whole new complexion on Xiaomi's expansion - and profitability - outside China, and probably means it won't be coming to the US any time soon.
xiaomi  sep  patents  india 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
Smartphone maker Xiaomi’s 2013 profit nearly doubled >> WSJ
<blockquote class="quoted">Xiaomi, which a few months ago surpassed Samsung Electronics Co. as the biggest smartphone vendor in China by shipments, presented the document to banks in its recent pitch to raise $1bn in loans for overseas expansion or acquisition.

A table in the document showed that Xiaomi’s net profit last year rose 84% to 3.46bn yuan ($566m) from 1.9bn yuan in 2012, while its revenue more than doubled to 27bn yuan. Another table included a forecast of a 75% net profit increase this year.

Possibly due to its very low marketing costs; only spent 3.2% of revenue on sales and marketing in 2013. Great in China - but hard to replicate abroad. If it can, it's going to be huge.
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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