In China, where being a copycat is akin to being a war hero, one company stands out. Xiaomi is one of China’s fastest growing companies, a maker of smartphones, tablets, and now notebooks that all have a familiar look to them.
As best as I can tell from Google translate, Xiaomi is the Chinese equivalent of the word Xerox, as in the digital xerography of Apple’s popular products. Every major Xiaomi product looks much like Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and now– if reports are true– the Mac.
That’s Xiaomi’s MiPad tablet. I’ve seen that design somewhere else. I can’t quite put my finger on it, though.
Doe these smartphones look familiar?
Xiaomi seems to do everything possible to look as much like Apple would look if it were a Chinese company. Is it any wonder Xiaomi’s smartphones faced a ban in India? The company has a problem– not attracting venture capital to keep the doors open– but creating original devices, original designs, original look and feel.
And if a Xiaomi executive with a black mock turtleneck t-shirt standing on a stage with One more thing… as the backdrop isn’t enough, maybe there’s one more real thing.
iPhone, iPad, black t-shirt, One more thing… What’s left for Xiaomi to copy from Apple?
How about the Mac?
Admittedly, beyond the visuals, Xiaomi doesn’t copy what Apple prizes most beyond industrial design. Yes, the version of Android Xiaomi uses in the MiPad and MiPhone looks much like iOS. Yes, reports tell us that the Linux version Xiomi uses in the new Mac copycat notebook may have a familiar look and feel. If true. Reports from China are almost always suspect.
Xiaomi manufactures a huge number of very inexpensive devices, which makes it a rapidly growing manufacturer, one that has captured plenty of investor money, but it’s also a company that does not make profits. So it has failed to capture Apple’s essence– an array of much loved products at premium prices; products which delight customers, and just happen to enrich Apple’s coffers.
There’s also a reason Xiaomi hasn’t made inroads beyond China and a few other developing countries. Intellectual property laws. Or, rather, the lack of such laws and enforcement in developing countries, and the strict adherence to such laws in developed nations. That tells me Xiaomi’s business model of copying all things Apple as closely as possible doesn’t have legs needed to travel to Europe, Japan, or North America.