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Xiaomi’s pivotal to smartphone success: ‘Be friends with the fans’

Xiaomi executives Hugo Barra, left, and Lin Bin residence reporters in San Francisco.
Josh Miller/CNET

For Xiaomi, business aren’t usually nameless, faceless people. They’re some-more like friends.

Four years ago, a pretender Chinese phone-maker had 100 customers. Today, it has over 100 million. Ask co-founder and boss Lin Bin and he’ll tell we an critical part in a company’s success is a inbred opinion toward buyers. His motto: “Be friends with a fans.”

Lin spent scarcely an hour during a Thursday eventuality in San Francisco pitter-patter home a summary that a attribute with business is a heart of Xiaomi’s bomb expansion to turn the tip smartphone builder in China, a world’s many populous country.

One arch disproportion between Xiaomi and a better-known rivals Apple and Samsung is how concerned a users are, conspicuous Hugo Barra, clamp boss of global. “We have aloft rendezvous with a fans by a possess media network than by [popular Chinese amicable network] Weibo, by like dual times,” Barra said.

Xiaomi also doesn’t impute to a supporters as buyers or customers, Lin emphasized. They’re “fans.”

Popcorn and swat videos

To illustrate Xiaomi’s faith on relations with a constant user base, Lin incited to a online community. The Mi Forum, that serves owners of Xiaomi branded inclination and a company’s MiUI (pronounced “mee-you-eye”) chronicle of Android, has 40 million users, Lin said.

James Martin/CNET

That is an considerable series for a association that’s usually been around for 4 years. What’s more, these users uncover their loyalty by posting photos of themselves with Xiaomi products and participating in visit contests. One organisation of friends went as distant as formulating a swat video roughly 4 mins prolonged dedicated to a company’s wares.

The forums enclose pages of these examples, Lin said.

Xiaomi also reaches out to fans by “popcorn festivals,” events hold via China and other markets where a code is popular. There, 300 to 500 guest accumulate to bask in all things Xiaomi: they poise for photos and play games, win prizes and hearten during talent shows, and discuss with Xiaomi executives and staff. And yes, there’s popcorn.

Listen and do

All companies contend they listen to their customers, regulating a best suggestions to urge real-life products. Xiaomi says a thought to confederate a flashlight symbol into a drop-down presentation shade was granted by a user who couldn’t see a keyhole to his pathway when stumbling home drunk.

Glass-clad Xiaomi Mi Note sparkles (pict…
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The company’s courtesy to minute requests has done it renouned among Chinese people, who, Barra said, conclude culturally applicable capabilities like a front-facing camera underline that assesses your age and gender before “beautifying” your image.

Xiaomi’s OS was also a initial during a time, Barra claims, to optimize T9 predictive content for Chinese names.

The Internet way

Xiaomi’s chumminess with a users isn’t usually about being hip. It’s also a business plan that’s a linchpin to a company’s heading rock-bottom prices, a reason that a sincerely high-end Mi Note can sell for roughly half a cost of an iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S5.

Since Xiaomi relies on amicable media networks and a possess forums and events to widespread a word among a customers, it doesn’t have to compensate for pricey promotion campaigns.

Don’t wish a phone? No sweat. Xiaomi will also sell “fans” this MiBand.
Josh Miller/CNET

That, total with a sales indication that includes one-day peep bargains by a Mi.com sell site, means that Xiaomi can means to collect reduce margins from a hardware sales, a difficulty that includes tablets and TVs as good as atmosphere purifiers and, unbelievably, bunny plushies (its mascot).

For Xiaomi, effective amicable media — from popcorn parties to contests — is usually one some-more pointer that proves a phone-maker is, in Barra’s words, “an Internet company. We do things a Internet way.”

Article source: http://www.cnet.com/news/xiaomis-key-to-smartphone-success-be-friends-with-our-fans/

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