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What you should know about the smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi

Xiaomi has enjoyed great popularity in this country for quite some time due to fair prices and good hardware. The company has been represented in Germany since August 2019. atechbook explains what consumers should look out for in Xiaomi.

The company was founded in 2010 and introduced its first smartphone in 2011. Since then, Xiaomi has successfully expanded its portfolio. The manufacturer offers not only smartphones, but also all sorts of other technology such as TVs, laptops and wearables.

Smartphones market share

In 2019, Xiaomi temporarily made it to market leadership in its home country of China. Globally, Xiaomi ranks in the top 3 with Apple and Samsung, according to Statista (if BKK, which includes Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus, is not counted as a single manufacturer).┬áDepending on the quarter and especially in Apple’s case, the release of a new iPhone, they swap places here. Xiaomi’s smartphone brands once included Mi and Redmi. Mi was the name for Xiaomi’s high-end smartphones, while Redmi comprises low-cost entry-level and mid-range devices. Mi was abolished without replacement, so new flagship models are now only called “Xiaomi 12”. The name Redmi is still in use, however.

Market share of wearables

In wearables, the company is second by a relatively large margin behind Apple (Apple Watch), followed by Samsung and Huawei. The company celebrates particularly great success with its comparatively inexpensive fitness trackers, the Mi Bands.

Xiaomi portfolio

In addition to smartphones, Xiaomi’s portfolio also includes numerous other devices, gadgets and software, including apps, laptops, headphones, fitness bracelets, TVs, smart home and IoT (Internet of Things) products, as well as razors, bags and shoes. In the “Fortune Global 500” for 2021, a list of companies with the highest revenues worldwide, Xiaomi ranks 338th . In 2019, they were still in 468th place. The group completed its IPO in July 2018 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Globally positioned

Meanwhile, the company is active in more than 80 countries worldwide. When asked by atechbook, Xiaomi said it has a presence in almost all key markets in Europe, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. Its smartphones are sold online, in stores and also by telecom operators. Since August 2019, the official devices can also be found on Amazon.co.uk, Media Markt, Saturn and in the stores of providers such as O2.

What does “Xiaomi” mean and how do you pronounce it?

The name “Xiaomi” literally means millet and represents the company’s small beginning and eye for detail. According to Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, millet is related to a Buddhist wisdom, according to which meaning a small grain can be as significant as a mountain. The brand name “Mi” also has a meaning: the abbreviation stands for “Mobile Internet”. However, Xiaomi itself also says that it additionally means “Mission Impossible”, allegedly due to the company’s difficult early days.

We don’t want to get lost in explanations when pronouncing Xiaomi. Instead, just listen to the clip. Especially the emphasis on the last syllable usually does not take place in Germany.

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These are the most important Xiaomi smartphones in 2022

Xiaomi’s most important smartphones are the 12 series, consisting of the Xiaomi 12, 12X and 12 Pro. We compared all three models in a detailed article:

Xiaomi 12 is here and puts the smartphone competition under pressure

Cheaper than the aforementioned smartphones is the Redmi series, which has grown in 2022 with the Redmi Note 11, for example. Again, you can get more information in the article .

Data privacy is a problem

Xiaomi’s Android smartphones run its own user interface MIUI, which has been in development since 2010 and has also been the subject of major criticism. In 2014, it was reported that Xiaomi sent user data, logs and contact information to its servers in China via its cloud messaging service . With an update, the company gave users the option to turn off the service, which also stopped the data transfer. In 2016, it also became public that Xiaomi smartphones not only send personal data to China, but also have a backdoor that allows the company to install apps on the smartphone without the user’s permission.

According to its own statements, “Xiaomi devices create files for internal settings and some applications, but do not collect personal user data.” When asked by atechbook, Xiaomi assured us that data collected from users in the EU also remains in the EU. The company has been following this strategy since before the GDPR existed. Depending on the location, the data is processed by the cloud servers of Amazon, Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud.

Despite all assurances on the part of Xiaomi, skepticism is still more than appropriate. It cannot be ruled out that data is passed on in other ways due to possible security gaps.

What about the warranty?

Devices purchased in Germany since August 2019 have after-sales services and warranty through Xiaomi, as the company told us. The after-sales services are offered in partnership with third-party vendors like Ingram Micro. Those who buy elsewhere must have services such as repairs performed by the respective retailer. Devices purchased in the EU would not be sent to China for repairs, according to the Xiaomi spokesperson, but would be handled locally.

Xiaomi does not provide an international warranty or guarantee against physical and water damage. The company also does not offer a warranty for devices purchased by customers not through the company directly, but through other sites and retailers.

Ties to the Chinese Communist Party?

The company was founded by Lei Jun, who is also CEO today. With a fortune of circa $12 billion, Lei Jun is one of the richest men in China. In 2014, Forbes named him Businessman of the Year. Since 2013, however, Lei Jun has also been a deputy to the Chinese National People’s Congress. At that time, he was still supposedly non-partisan. Whether he is now a member of the Communist Party (CP) is unclear – but it is likely. This is supported, for example, by the fact that he was recognized by the Chinese regime in 2019 as an “Outstanding Builder of Chinese-style Socialism.”

In addition, most large Chinese companies have ties to the CP. To this end, committees of Party members are often set up in companies to ensure their influence. Chinese companies are rightly under special scrutiny in many countries because of their relationship with the CP. The CP is a single party and runs the country in an authoritarian manner; opposition parties are suppressed and have no share in power. Among the numerous atrocities for which the Communist Party is responsible are massacres of peaceful protesters, death sentences against minors, and torture.