Apple schools Xiaomi in art of trash talk

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The Xiaomi M4 wants to take the #1 spot from iPhone. Photo: Xiaomi

Apple and Xiaomi executives got into a little trash talk fight at the World Internet Conference this week in China. Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun described his company as a “small miracle” that’s ready to dominate the smartphone world. But Apple’s general counsel, Bruce Sewell, who was also at the conference, wasn’t impressed with all of Xiaomi’s boasting.

Xiaomi’s sudden rise to being the world’s third largest smartphone maker has been nothing short of miraculous. Executives at the Apple copy-cat are bullish on the company’s future and hope to become the top smartphone maker in 5 to 10 years, but Sewell thinks that’s much easier said than done.

“It is easy to say, it is more difficult to do,” Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel and senior vice president of legal and government affairs, told the conference when asked about Lei’s bold claims which would require Xiaomi to displace Apple in second place, adding that there were “many good competitive phones in China”.

Xiaomi was founded in 2010 and released its first smartphone in 2011, but the company’s sudden success has been accredited to designs that wholesale copy the iPhone and iPad. The company is often referred to as “The Apple of China,” as it’s now the top smartphone maker, with over 70 million users.

Apple executives have taken Xiaomi to task for its flagrant copying. In a recent interview, Jony Ive called the company out for design theft, and said that imitating his work is not flattering. Apple currently sits in sixth place among smartphone makers in China. The iPhone 6 is expected to boost the company’s market share with support for all of the country’s networks, but Xiaomi is already setting its sights on taking over India too.

Lei Jun told conference attendees that India is becoming the company’s largest overseas market, and that the company expects to almost triple its user base in the next year to 200 million users.