Chinese interest in Apple is at a boiling point. Photo: Apple
Apple is closing in on becoming the number one smartphone company in China, according to new figures released by Strategy Analytics.
Although Apple ripoff Xiaomi remains in the number one position — thanks to its strategy of selling low-cost devices — analysts note that the company’s momentum is starting to slow down, while Apple’s just keeps on building!
Samsung, by comparison, fell to an embarrassing fourth place after Huawei.
Well, depending on who you are, get ready to bust out a tune on the world’s smallest violin, because Xiaomi’s quest to conquer the smartphone-owning world has apparently hit a bit of a snag: people keep copying its designs.
Having recently announced a new valuation of $46 billion — making it the most valuable tech startup in existence — China-based smartphone maker Xiaomi Technology recently announced that its sales revenue leaped up by more than 100 percent in 2014, as the company sold a massive 61.1 million smartphones to customers.
Love it or hate it, those are some pretty big numbers!
Don’t worry: Xiaomi isn’t being this brazen with its Apple-inspired designs. Yet. Photo: Gizmochina
The Apple blogosphere was ablaze yesterday with reports that the ripoff artists at Xiaomi had come up with the Chinese company’s most brazen copycat product yet. A supposedly leaked image showed a MacBook Air lookalike that was virtually indistinguishable from Cupertino’s offering with the exception of a Xiaomi logo.
Well, the picture is a fake, according to a Xiaomi representative.
While it’s great to hear that Apple’s intellectual property is upheld in this instance, however, it’s still less than ideal for Xiaomi for one very simple reason: just how believable the rumor was.
Xiaomi plans to ripoff the MacBook Air next. Photo: Gizmochina
Xiaomi just rode Apple’s coattails to the biggest startup valuation in world, but it appears the Chinese smartphone maker is ready to take its copying to new heights by getting into the laptop game with, you guessed it, a MacBook Air knockoff.
Having just announced the raising of an extra $1.1 billion in funding, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced on Monday that it is now valued at a whopping $46 billion — making it worth more than any other tech startup.
“This round of funding is an affirmation of Xiaomi’s achievements in more than four years of business and a prelude to a new stage of development,” founder Lei Jun wrote on Monday.
Xiaomi is set to bring sapphire displays to its smartphones. Photo: Xiaomi
Xiaomi has caught a lot of flack for copying what Apple has done previously, which is why it’s apparently gone back to the drawing board and come back with a new plan: do the things Apple thought about, but didn’t do.
With that in mind, a new report today claims that Xiaomi is set to adopt sapphire displays for its upcoming 5.7-inch Xiaomi 5, to be showcased at the upcoming 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.
The company has reportedly approached the China-based Lens Technology and Biel Crystal Manufactory about expanding their sapphire processing capacities for the job.
Hugo Barra, former Android chief, now works at Xiaomi. Photo: Xiaomi
Xiaomi has quickly become the world’s third most popular smartphone maker, but according to a 2013 financial filing released by the privately held company, it doesn’t pay to copy your way to the top.
In 2013 Xiaomi made a meager $51 million in profit even though it’s valued at more than $10 billion by investors. The filing reveals Xiaomi’s low profits are on account of the No. 3 smartphone maker’s razor-thin margins. It brought in about $4.2 billion in revenue in 2013, giving the company an operating margin of just 1.8 percent.
Anyone that has ever taken a look at Xiaomi’s suspiciously Apple-like designs won’t be surprised to hear them dismissed as ripoff artists. But a new court ruling suggests they might be patent infringers too.
Delhi High Court in India has banned Xiaomi from selling, assembling, importing and advertising its smartphones in the country, on the basis that the bestselling handsets infringe on certain patents held by another company.
Interestingly, that company isn’t Apple — but rather Ericsson, which claims that Xiaomi violated 8 of its patents, including those related to 3G, EDGE and other technologies.