Xiaomi Gets a Taste of Its Own Bitter Medicine

Xiaomi is known worldwide for their tactics of imitation. By copying as much as they could from Apple, from the ahrdware designs created (and patented) at Apple, software, and even presentation methods, Xiaomi has actually become quite successful in China. Chinese companies get far more leeway in China, where copyright protection and patents don’t mean very much. As such, they’re capable of producing and selling iPhone clones that, while not as good as the real thing, cost far less, and therefore, sell quite well. In fact, Xiaomi’s imitation designs have become so popular that even they’re now being copied. Knockoff manufacturers have begun to make Xiaomi phones and tablets which, as you may have guessed, are of a lower quality and price than Xiaomi’s own offerings. They’re even selling them in fake Xiaomi stores. As such, Xiaomi’s finally learning the damage knockoff and copied products can create, and they’re not happy about it.

Xiaomi (and many Android manufacturers, for that matter) have proved that you neither need to be the first nor the best, you just have to appeal to a section of the market. For Xiaomi, that market is mostly Chinese and Asian customers who may not be able to afford Apple’s smartphones, but still want something that looks like it was designed by the Californian company. However, if that’s the case, they could lose their corner of the market if other manufacturers could undercut their price. People actually do like the phones coming out of Xiaomi, especially the design of the devices (go figure) and may have some brand loyalty. The fact that it’s a Chinese company, rather than an American one, may also engender feelings of nationalism and pride. This means for companies looking to undercut Xiaomi, it’s better to completely copy it, making a product that looks almost exactly like the original, with lesser specs, cheaper construction, and worse durability. So now the chain of development goes like this: Apple creates the designs, Xiaomi copies those designs, finally other smaller Chinese manufactuers create knockoffs of those copies. Now Chinese consumers can get cheap phones that look like Xiaomi’s, which means the company is losing its three best selling factors in China: 1) it’s cheap, 2) it looks good, and 3) it’s from a Chinese company. What’s Xiaomi to do?

Xiaomi could, ironically, turn to the authorities to try to stamp out the copycats, finding themselves in the same position Apple does with a number of Android manufacturers, while simultaneously being a company that benefits from lax copyright laws. That, or the company could create some of their own (hopefully unique) designs, and go for strong brand loyaty by making products that look and function so much better than their knockoff competition. Currently, they’re simply taking to social media websites to warn consumers of the dangers of counterfeit products.

What do you think, will Xiaomi learn their lesson from this and other legal issues that have cropped up from their stolen designs, or will they continue to rip off the ideas of others? If history is any indicator, a brand that makes a profit stealing designs typically sticks with that strategy until they’re legally forced to change.

Source: Cult Of Android


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