The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 07, 2012
 

China’s mini Apple takes slice of smartphone pie

 
 

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.