Xiaomi: 5 Facts You Might Not Know About The Chinese Giant


Xiaomi has a strategy of selling state-of-the-art smartphones at an attractive price, with low profit margins, and betting on cutting-edge and futuristic technologies. Despite being founded only in 2010 in China, the manufacturer quickly became very popular in the world and in Brazil, becoming the company among the largest global brands of smart phones.

Alongside iPhones and Samsung phones, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9, Redmi Note 8 and Poco X3 NFC stand out among the 10 best-selling cell phones in Brazil in 2021, according to Zoom data. In addition, the Chinese company offers tablets, notebooks, wearables, smart TVs, streaming devices and smart home equipment.

Want to know a little more about Xiaomi’s history? Check out 5 curiosities.

1. What does Xiaomi mean?

Like many Chinese companies, the electronics company’s name is strongly linked to Chinese culture. In Mandarin, “xiaomi” means “small rice”. The term refers to a Buddhist saying that “a single grain of rice is capable of being as incredible as a mountain”.

Until today, the cereal is an important component of the food base of the Asian giant. During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), leader Mao Tse Tung claimed that the Chinese used “xiaomi and rifles” on the battlefield, which demonstrates the strength that grain has in Chinese culture.

2. What is Xiaomi’s first product?

Xiaomi’s first official product wasn’t a smartphone and it wasn’t even hardware. In April 2010, the Chinese company released the MIUI skin for Android, which gained traction as an alternative to other custom ROMs of the time.

Without a phone of its own to showcase the software, early versions of MIUI were designed for devices like Google Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Desire, Motorola Droid/Milestone, and HTC HD2.

The first hardware, the Xiaomi Mi 1, was only released in 2011. The device was the first Chinese smartphone with a dual-core chip. With a good setup and a cheap price, success was instant and over 300k pre-orders were placed in less than 2 days.

3. Round trip to Brazil

Xiaomi’s first attempt to enter the Brazilian market was unsuccessful. In 2015, Brazil was the first country outside Asia to receive products from the Chinese company. But the adventure only lasted a year. In 2016, after the repeal of tax incentives and tax changes, the Chinese company decided to suspend production in Brazil.

In 2019, the Chinese company returned to Brazil, this time in partnership with DL Electronics. Xiaomi has gone on to offer a range of smartphones, including the latest global releases, and IoT devices. Acceptance was better, mainly because partner retailers already imported the equipment, ensuring a high coverage of the brand in the country.

4. Smartphone market leader by 2024

During the celebration of Xiaomi’s 10 years, the CEO and founder, Lei Jun, recalled the plans drawn in 2014 to place the company in the world leadership by 2024. In June 2021, the company came to be the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world world. The position was quickly taken back by Samsung, but the Chinese company’s executives intend to continue fighting for the top.

Last year, the manufacturer won first place in Europe and in 20 other world markets. According to a survey by StatCounter, the brand was the fastest growing in the Brazilian cell phone market in 2021, but still lagged behind Samsung, Motorola and Apple.

5. Xiaomi car

Xiaomi created a new division aimed at electric cars at the end of 2021, with 300 employees and an initial capital of 10 billion yuan. The command of the enterprise was in the hands of the CEO of the company, Lei Jun.

The electric mobility division bought Deepmotion, a startup specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) for autonomous driving, for US$70 million and plans to invest US$10 billion in the sector. However, the first electric cars are not expected to start production until 2024.