Ben Thompson of Stratechery is, in some ways, our sphere’s very own Foreign Correspondent. He lives in Taipei and has a perspective on tech coming out of Asia that is often quite different from what U.S. and European analysts deliver. Today he writes about what China’s Xiaomi is all about.
Xiaomi’s ambitions are, I think, far more audacious than most realize. The company doesn’t just want to be a dominant player in smartphones, one of the largest and most lucrative product categories ever. They want the entire house, and I wouldn’t be surprised if even that is too limiting a description of Lei Jun’s ambition. There are significant challenges though, and many of them come back to product design.
The problem with Xiaomi’s originality - or lack thereof - becomes more pronounced when you consider the company’s international prospects… If Xiaomi wants to create the same sort of fans they have in China - the sort of fans that will make their house a Xiaomi house - they need to rely on their products. And copycat isn’t going to cut it.
Definitely worth a read—as is always the case with Thompson.