Lei Jun: Xiaomi Makes World-Class Artwork, Don’t Call Us Cheap For Our Pricing

Over the years, the biggest USP of Xiaomi has been its ability to sell gadgets at astoundingly low prices without compromising in quality. This strategy has not only made the company and its founder loads of money, it has also earned them legions of fans not only in China, but even in countries like India where Xiaomi started its operations last year. However, detractors and even parts of mainstream media sometimes tend to fixate on Xiaomi’s pricing strategy, rather than looking at evaluating the products holistically. Now this is happens to be one of the pet peeves of Mr. Lei Jun, the founder and CEO of Xiaomi.

In an interview, Mr. Lei narrated a recent story where he was in the midst of a dinner chat with a deputy editor of an unnamed media outlet. At some point during their conversation, the topic of Xiaomi products slipped into the discussion and the deputy editor, much to the chagrin of Mr. Lei, dismissed Xiaomi as just another “inexpensive” device maker from China, not much different from the rest, for the most part. As you might well have guessed, that did not go down very well with his fellow guest.

Mr. Lei asserted that he always strives to elevate Xiaomi’s products to an art form, but selling products on the cheap can be a bit of a curse from the image point of view, he lamented. In spite of maintaining high quality control, he said, you sometimes tend to get slotted in with other inexpensive device makers. Mr. Lei used the example of the Xiaomi TV box to exemplify his point. He said the remote that comes with the device was simple enough for everyone from children to eighty year olds and everyone in between, to operate. Why include 100 keys when you don’t need that many, he pondered, saying that is where his products are essentially different from Sony or Samsung.

Mr. Lei signed off by saying that when he founded Xiaomi, one of his key objectives was to change the impression of Chinese products in people’s minds. He said people using Xiaomi’s products know that inexpensive doesn’t have to be cheap.


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