Another Bad Week For Xiaomi?

ZOL has an article that although sometimes rendered ambiguous in translation is nonetheless a bit scathing when it comes to the sales and marketing model Xiaomi has adopted and clung to [Google Translate].

It opens with a salvo lobbed at Xiaomi by someone who’s apparently prominent in China, accusing Xiaomi of design plagiarism and “hunger marketing” tactics.

What’s interesting here is that for the past two weeks I’ve seen on Weibo some salvos lobbed at Xiaomi — but I’ve seen these salvos only when replied to by Xiaomi on one of their accounts. In other words, had Xiaomi just ignored them, as an outsider I wouldn’t have seen any of this sniping take place. I’ve never seen companies snipe at each other on Twitter. They’ve been playful on Twitter, but never mean. On Weibo, they’re going for blood.

ZOL then goes on to mention the fine Xiaomi had to pay after the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission accused them of miscounting and misrepresenting “sold out” flash sales. The difference was a few hundred units, below five percent of the total; even so, computers are math machines so how can you wind up with a wrong inventory count and casually excuse it? It would have been better for Xiaomi if, when claiming ten thousand units sold, they’d actually sold ten thousand and one hundred units and just claimed ten thousand. Had the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission complained about that, at least customers would have felt delighted instead of cheated.

The site then goes on to recount how a poll revealed no one believed Xiaomi’s claims for past sales. This is backed up by some devastating evidence showing code at a past Xiaomi website sales page that reveals the “Buy” button did no such thing(!).

All of this, they say, was calculated and designed to make Xiaomi a household name not based on the quality or value of its products, but on whether or not someone could get a Xiaomi phone. Basically, it became a status symbol.

Things become ambiguous with ZOL citing the number of patents Xiaomi has versus Huawei. I don’t understand why or what relevance that has to anything.

ZOL wonders what Xiaomi is hiding behind the excuses of “production capacity” and other past responses that really explain nothing.

They conclude that Xiaomi is on the edge of losing the trust of people — and that once it’s been lost, it’s very hard to get back. This is something I’ve said myself here, repeatedly, about companies in general.

Xiaomi has become large enough that it has to address a public relations issue like this. It just can’t continue on its way as it has been. Limited sales only go so far in building a customer base. This is walking a tightrope that can be cut by competitor at any moment — and Xiaomi can fall, hard.

And I might as well say it here: I’ve wondered about the swiftness of Xiaomi going from limited availability to “open sales” of the MiPad. This is not what Xiaomi has done in the past. With such a new product, in a new market, I’ve been wondering if MiPad sales have fallen far below Xiaomi’s expectations and forecasts. While I agree it’s the best Android tablet a Chinese company has produced, it’s also more expensive compared to its competitors — and people who can’t handle a MiPad in person to compare to less-expensive tablets won’t have any understanding of why it costs more. The MiPad isn’t something revolutionary, like the iPhone; it’s evolutionary — and marketing that in a highly competitive market that’s used to buying solely based on price — which is what Xiaomi itself used to enter the phone market — is hard.

Same-day update: It was ZOL, not 1Pad, that published this article. I’ve corrected throughout.

Previously here:

Xiaomi’s Bad Week


1 Comment

Filed under Fraud, Marketing

One response to “Another Bad Week For Xiaomi?

  1. Zakhar

    “The MiPad isn’t something revolutionary, like the iPhone; it’s evolutionary” – so true. Nowadays developers claim every product they made to be something very new, never seen before, revolutionary, whereas in reality it’s just something expected, some me too device.

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