China is largely known for cheap iPhone knockoffs and fake Apple Stores, and now a Chinese businessman is impersonating Steve Jobs himself. And he isn’t using the late Apple co-founder’s likeness to peddle plastic phone shells on the corner market.
Lei Jun owns Xiaomi, a multi-billion dollar tech company that is commonly referred to as “the Apple of the East” in China. As you can see in the photo above, Lei rocks a black turtleneck and jeans behind an Apple-like presentation at Xiaomi product unveilings. The fact that he’s selling iPhone look-a-likes certainly helps his falsified persona.
The New York Times has an excellent story on Lei and Xiaomi titled “In China, an Empire Built by Aping Apple.”
In a country where products like iPhones are made but rarely invented, Lei Jun — entrepreneur, billionaire and professed Jobs acolyte — is positioning himself and his company as figurative heirs of Mr. Jobs. The Chinese media have nicknamed his company, Xiaomi, the “Apple of the East.”
The title is a stretch, by almost any measure. But Mr. Lei nonetheless is carefully cultivating a Jobsian image here, right down to his jeans and dark shirts. He is also selling millions of mobile phones that look a lot like iPhones. Chinese consumers — and deep-pocketed investors overseas — seem to be believers.
And yet Mr. Lei’s biggest believer may be himself. He bounds onto podiums to introduce new cellphones. He proclaims things that may, to many, sound outlandish.
Lei’s obsession with Jobs started when he read a book on him in college. Xiaomi is the quickest company to make $1 billion in China, and their phones look a lot like the iPhone.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when you start copying someone’s wardrobe, it gets creepy.
Read the whole story at the link below.
Source: The New York Times