Xiaomi knows imitation is the highest form of flattery. Its latest Mi8 model is 90% like Apple’s iPhone X with a similar trademark notch, same rear camera layout and back design, not to mention Face ID and Animoji.
Mi8 has copied the look of the Apple because one cannot tell if their phone is a new iPhone apart from the iPhone logo. The only difference between the two phones is that Xiaomi’s smartphones use MIUI, an operating system developed by Xiaomi based on Google’s Android operating system, while iPhones run on the iOS system.
However, the Mi8 costs only 2,699 yuan (US$420), half that of an iPhone X. It is also cheaper than Huawei’s P20 Pro 64GB, which also looks like an iPhone X, but is priced at 3,788 yuan.
Xiaomi Hong Kong chief operating officer Luo Yan acknowledged the similarities, but pointed out his company had spent a lot of time and resources in handset development leading to innovation.
One such example, he said, was the Mi X2S, which was first with the full screen model. However, any innovations may still be relatively limited. In its promotional pamphlet, Xiaomi used a set of model photos that featured its artificial intelligence 3D resolution, only to be discovered that it was not taken by its flagship handset.
According to a local paper, the photo was taken by Sony’s single lens reflex camera.
In response to online queries, Xiaomi said on its official weibo page that it had never said the photos were taken by an Xiaomi 8. It said it regretted the photos caused a misunderstanding.
The same cannot be said for its self-acclaimed speed test.
Last week when chairman Lei Jun launched the Mi8 in Shenzhen, he claimed Xiaomi was the only handset that attained a 300,000 score in the Aututu benchmark, higher than the next rival, the OnePlus6.
It turned out that most Mi8s only get to the 250,000 mark, the same as other flagship handset.
On its official weibo page, Xiaomi said the 300,000 score could only be attained with the enhanced MIUI chip by Qualcomm.
Now, with three quarters of its revenue from its handset business, many wonder how Xiaomi will be perceived by investors during its upcoming IPO in Hong Kong this month.