Xiaomi (Or 'The Apple Of China') Is The Most Important Tech Company You've Never Heard Of

Xiaomi keynote presentationXiaomi/YouTubeXiaomi CEO Lei Jun announces the MiPhone 2.

You’ve probably never heard of Xiaomi. But if you know someone in China, chances are pretty good that person is a fan of the company.

Xiaomi is easily one of the most interesting tech companies right now, and it has been dubbed the “Apple of China” by a lot of industry watchers. That’s mostly because it’s done a great job of mimicking the way Apple announces and markets its products.

Oh, and Xiaomi is worth about $US10 billion now. Oh, and it sold more phones in China than Apple did last quarter.

Xiaomi is most famous for its flagship Android phone line called the MiPhone and its founder and CEO Lei Jun, an extroverted character who has been called “China’s Steve Jobs.”

It’s not that Xiaomi is doing anything particularly innovative with its products either. Its phones are pretty standard Android devices. Nothing special.

But it has the same charm and flare that has caused millions to become devoted fans of the brand. It’s not unusual for new Xiaomi phones to sell out online within a minutes.

How does Xiaomi do it? To be blunt, it pretty much rips pages out of Apple’s playbook. Jun wears a black shirt and jeans, just like Steve Jobs did. He stands in front of a big screen with a well-designed presentation that shows off the product. He gets the audience pumped.

It’s like watching an Apple keynote from an alternate reality.

Here's Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun taking the stage for the launch event of the newest MiPhone, the MiPhone 2. He's wearing his trademark outfit: A black shirt and jeans.

Look familiar?

Xiaomi charged fans to attend the smartphone launch. All the money went to charity though. Plus, everyone in the audience got some cool gifts like a free t-shirt and a smartphone-controlled toy car.

Here are the Xiaomi fans. They cheered throughout the entire keynote.

Like Apple, Jun starts his keynote with a little history and context about the company. Here, he points to a Goldman Sachs report that lists Xiaomi number one among domestic smartphone brands.

Before Jun announced the new flagship phone, he announced a more powerful version of the current flagship. That model had an 'S' at the end of its name...

...just like Apple has done with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S.

Then comes the star of the show. The MiPhone 2. This was Xiaomi's flagship Android phone last year.

Before Jun even shows off the device, he shows its box.

A lot of work went into this box, apparently. Xiaomi released this teaser image ahead of the MiPhone 2 launch to get fans excited. The box is strong enough to support the weight of two people.

At last! We get to see the MiPhone 2!

It's...a phone.

It runs Android. (Honestly, this phone is nothing special. But Jun and Xiaomi have such a grip on its fans that the crowd went wild when the phone appeared on the big screen.)

It comes in a bunch of colours.

One way Xiaomi is not like Apple: Jun spent most of the keynote going over the nitty gritty details of all the phone's specs. It's the kind of stuff that only true tech geeks would love.

But once Jun started talking about the features of the phone built for users, things get more simple. Here, he breaks it all down into 13 important things you need to know about.

Apple does the same thing when it announces new features.

Xiaomi phones have a voice assistant that's just like Apple's Siri for iPhones.

They also have an iCloud knockoff that lets users back up data from their phones.

There's even an iMessage wannabe app built into Xiaomi phones.

And like iMessage, there's a version of the app for computers.

Now Jun really plays with the crowd. How much will you pay for this amazing device?

Not bad! (This is about $US300 U.S.)

But wait...there's more. All the fans get a discount voucher when they buy the new phone.

And again, the crowd goes nuts.

Let's check out some great apps back here in the States...

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