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China's Xiaomi smartphones cater to an Applesque fan base

Submitted by Karthik on 8 December, 2012 - 10:44

Xiaomi tech is a four billion dollar Chinese company which makes smartphones that compete with Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S series. The company is led by Lei Jun, a man compared to Steve Jobs, and commands a fan base who are just as crazy about its products as Apple fans are of Apple's.

Less than three years after its founding, the smartphone maker is valued at $4 billion and evokes Apple-like adoration from its fans, some of whom are desperate enough to skip work for a shot at buying the latest product the day it goes on sale.

Founder Lei Jun dresses like the late Steve Jobs, in jeans and a black top. He has created a fervent fan base for Xiaomi's moderately priced high-end smartphones by mimicking Apple Inc's marketing tactic of attaching an aura of exclusivity around its products.

Xiaomi's phones run on MIUI, a closed-source custom Android ROM which is based on Cyanogenmod, another custom Android ROM, albeit open-source. MIUI provides a completely Chinese interface, includes a number of Chinese social networking apps, and mimics the look and feel of Apple's iOS to a significant degree. The phone boast hardware comparable to the latest iPhone and Samsung and yet, only costs half as much as an equivalent iPhone model.

Firstpost is carrying this Reuters story.