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China’s mini Apple takes slice of smartphone pie

Published on Dec 7, 2012 5:46 PM
 
Mr Lei Jun, founder and CEO of China's mobile company Xiaomi, speaks at a launch ceremony of Xiaomi Phone 2 in Beijing in this Aug 16, 2012 file photo. China’s Xiaomi Technology is a fairy tale for nerdy entrepreneurs. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING(REUTERS) -China’s Xiaomi Technology is a fairy tale for nerdy entrepreneurs.

Less than three years after its founding, the smartphone maker is valued at US$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.

Before Xiaomi, the 42-year-old Lei was a key investor in China’s early Internet scene, co-founding startups including Joyo.cn, which was eventually sold to Amazon.com Inc, and the recently listed YY Inc.

 
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