Look how similar red-hot Chinese startup Xiaomi’s products are to Apple’s designs

Lei jun steve jobs apple xiaomi side by side ceo
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun alongside the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. AP/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Xiaomi is one of the hottest smartphone companies in the world today. Just 5 years old, it has rapidly grown to become the most valuable tech startup on earth, worth around $US46 billion (£30.9 billion), which is more than Uber, Snapchat, or SpaceX.

Xiaomi, founded by CEO Lei Ju, is often referred to as the “Apple of China,” not least because of the famed devotion of its fans. The company holds worldwide holds flash sales for its customers and throws them parties in expensive nightclubs  —  and they love the company for it.

But Xiaomi is like Apple another way. Many of its products have an awfully similar look to the Cupertino company’s own models, prompting Apple design chief Jony Ive to accuse the Chinese company of copying its designs.

“I don’t see it as flattery,” Ive told an audience last year. “I see it as theft. I have to be honest. The last thing I think is ‘Oh, that is flattering…’ I think it’s theft and it’s lazy. I don’t think it’s OK at all.”

But is Ive’s accusation fair?

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”business-is-booming-for-xiaomi-its-the-biggest-smartphone-company-in-china-and-the-third-largest-in-the-world-1″
title=”Business is booming for Xiaomi. It’s the biggest smartphone company in China, and the third-largest in the world.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/53ce797f6da8110e5a12a151″
caption=”Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun shows the company’s smartphone sales growth.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”founder-and-ceo-lei-jun-is-largely-responsible-for-the-smartphone-makers-meteoric-rise-hes-a-charismatic-figure-who-introduces-new-products-in-carefully-choreographed-keynotes-often-wearing-his-signature-outfit–blue-jeans-and-a-black-top-2″
title=”Founder and CEO Lei Jun is largely responsible for the smartphone maker’s meteoric rise. He’s a charismatic figure, who introduces new products in carefully choreographed keynotes, often wearing his signature outfit — blue jeans and a black top.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/53ce5f5a6bb3f732613ffa7b”
caption=”Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun introduces the Mi4.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”look-familiar-3″
title=”Look familiar?”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5506f1176da81131724b7c49″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”its-no-accident-lei-jun-has-consciously-modelled-himself-after-late-apple-ceo-steve-jobs-after-reading-about-him-at-college-according-to-bloomberg-4″
title=”It’s no accident: Lei Jun has consciously modelled himself after late Apple CEO Steve Jobs after reading about him at college, according to Bloomberg.”
content=”Source: Bloomberg
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45b8″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-founder-has-even-co-opted-the-apple-co-founders-famous-one-more-thing-line-for-the-end-of-his-presentations-5″
title=”The founder has even co-opted the Apple co-founder’s famous ‘one more thing…’ line for the end of his presentations.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45b9″
caption=””
credit_href=”http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/30/xiaomis-one-more-thing/”
]
[slide
permalink=”now-lets-look-at-some-products-the-mi-4-currently-selling-online-for-285-191-has-chamfered-steel-edges-and-a-speaker-grill-made-out-of-tiny-holes-6″
title=”Now let’s look at some products. The Mi 4, currently selling online for $285 (£191), has chamfered steel edges and a speaker grill made out of tiny holes.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45ba”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”much-like-the-iphone-5-7″
title=”Much like the iPhone 5.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45bb”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/10208361183″
]
[slide
permalink=”for-the-mi-4-lei-jun-admitted-he-went-to-the-same-companies-that-made-the-metallic-framed-apple-iphone-to-see-what-they-could-do-for-him-the-wall-street-journal-reported-at-the-time-8″
title=”For the Mi 4, Lei Jun admitted he ‘went to the same companies that made the metallic-framed Apple iPhone to see what they could do for him,’ the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.”
content=”Source: The Wall Street Journal
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45bc”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcy9O_eJXQc”
]
[slide
permalink=”heres-the-mi-box-the-chinese-startups-tv-streaming-box-9″
title=”Here’s the Mi Box, the Chinese startup’s TV streaming box.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45bd”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”its-very-similar-to-apple-tv-apples-own-tv-streaming-hardware-10″
title=”It’s very similar to Apple TV, Apple’s own TV streaming hardware.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45be”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”this-is-the-xiaomi-mi-router-mini-11″
title=”This is the Xiaomi Mi router Mini.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45bf”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”it-has-an-uncanny-resemblance-to-the-apple-magic-trackpad-even-though-the-two-devices-have-different-functions-12″
title=”It has an uncanny resemblance to the Apple ‘Magic Trackpad,’ even though the two devices have different functions.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45c0″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”xiaomi-has-hit-back-at-accusations-of-theft-with-exec-hugo-barra-telling-verge-that-were-not-copying-apples-products-end-of-story-13″
title=”Xiaomi has hit back at accusations of theft, with exec Hugo Barra telling Verge that ‘we’re not copying Apple’s products. End of story.'”
content=”Source: The Verge
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/54cb50cc69beddd463bdbf0e”
caption=”Hugo Barra”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”but-xiaomi-definitely-uses-a-similar-aesthetic-to-apple-heres-the-teaser-for-a-launch-event-xiaomi-is-holding-this-week-14″
title=”But Xiaomi definitely uses a similar aesthetic to Apple. Here’s the teaser for a launch event Xiaomi is holding this week.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45c1″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”and-heres-the-teaser-for-the-apple-watch-launch-event-which-had-the-same-floral-motif-and-pastel-colour-scheme-15″
title=”And here’s the teaser for the Apple Watch launch event, which had the same floral motif and pastel colour scheme.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/54ef518d6da8114665f0c016″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”last-year-designer-john-gruber-pointed-out-an-interesting-case-of-copycatting-on-his-blog-daring-fireball-first-take-a-look-at-the-camera-on-a-promotional-shot-of-xiaomis-mi-3-phone-below-16″
title=”Last year, designer John Gruber pointed out an interesting case of copycatting on his blog Daring Fireball. First, take a look at the camera on a promotional shot of Xiaomi’s Mi 3 phone below.”
content=”Source: Daring Fireball
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45c2″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”now-look-at-the-logo-for-aperture-a-photo-editing-suite-made-by-apple-the-camera-in-the-mi3-photo-is-clearly-a-skewed-and-edited-version-of-this-lens-gruber-notes-that-the-designed-by-apple-in-california-text-has-even-been-cropped-out-in-xiaomis-promotional-photo-17″
title=”Now look at the logo for Aperture, a photo-editing suite made by Apple. The camera in the Mi3 photo is clearly a skewed and edited version of this lens. Gruber notes that the ‘Designed by Apple in California’ text has even been cropped out in Xiaomi’s promotional photo.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45c3″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”this-is-not-the-first-instance-where-xiaomi-has-been-accused-of-ripping-off-images-techcrunch-cites-numerous-examples-from-the-past-in-which-xiaomi-has-stolen-photos-from-the-internet-for-use-in-its-promotional-materials-often-passing-them-off-as-photos-taken-using-its-smartphones-18″
title=”This is not the first instance where Xiaomi has been accused of ripping off images. TechCrunch cites numerous examples from the past in which Xiaomi has stolen photos from the internet for use in its promotional materials, often passing them off as photos taken using its smartphones.”
content=”Source: TechCrunch
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/548f1793dd0895e4138b45bc”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”xiaomi-also-has-its-own-answer-to-the-ipad–the-mi-pad-19″
title=”Xiaomi also has its own answer to the iPad — the ‘Mi Pad.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e2dd08956f638b45c4″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”it-comes-in-very-similar-pastel-shades-to-the-iphone-5c-20″
title=”It comes in very similar pastel shades to the iPhone 5C.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/523093db6bb3f7cb6ab48618″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-redmi-2-comes-in-similar-colours-too-21″
title=”The Redmi 2 comes in similar colours, too.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e3dd08956f638b45c5″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”not-all-of-xiaomis-products-have-an-obvious-apple-analogue-of-course-xiaomi-sells-the-mi-tv-a-3d-smart-tv-its-an-area-apple-hasnt-explored-before-22″
title=”Not all of Xiaomi’s products have an obvious Apple analogue, of course. Xiaomi sells the Mi TV, a 3D smart TV. It’s an area Apple hasn’t explored before.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e3dd08956f638b45c6″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-mi-tv-can-also-be-used-to-play-android-games-23″
title=”The Mi TV can also be used to play Android games.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e3dd08956f638b45c7″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”theres-also-the-mi-band-a-bluetooth-fitness-tracker-it-may-not-be-as-sophisticated-as-the-apple-watch-but-its-battery-lasts-a-month-versus-the-watchs-18-hours-and-it-sells-well-24″
title=”There’s also the Mi Band, a bluetooth fitness tracker. It may not be as sophisticated as the Apple Watch, but its battery lasts a month (versus the Watch’s 18 hours) and it sells well.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e3dd08956f638b45c8″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”and-in-what-will-sound-like-good-news-to-jony-ive-change-is-coming-to-xiaomi-25″
title=”And, in what will sound like good news to Jony Ive, change is coming to Xiaomi.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5437c3edecad049b52e7169b”
caption=”Good news, Jony Ive!”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”in-january-xiaomi-revealed-its-new-flagship-phone-the-xiaomi-mi-note-26″
title=”In January, Xiaomi revealed its new flagship phone, the Xiaomi Mi Note.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/54b7eb65eab8eadb48641211″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”intended-to-compete-with-the-iphone-6-and-6-plus-it-eschews-the-apple-aesthetic-completely-in-favour-of-a-distinctive-clean-design-27″
title=”Intended to compete with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it eschews the Apple aesthetic completely in favour of a distinctive, clean design.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/54b78f5edd0895732f8b463e”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”at-one-point-during-the-presentation-lei-jun-even-mocked-the-design-of-the-iphone-6-28″
title=”At one point during the presentation, Lei Jun even *mocked* the design of the iPhone 6.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”and-while-the-device-isnt-available-in-the-west-reviews-have-suggested-it-may-actually-be-superior-to-apples-smartphones-29″
title=”And while the device isn’t available in the West, reviews have suggested it may actually be superior to Apple’s smartphones.”
content=”Read more: Mi Note review

image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e3dd08956f638b45c9″
caption=”Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”so-should-apple-be-scared-30″
title=”So should Apple be scared?”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/54c230a6dd089506728b45a8″
caption=”Apple CEO Tim Cook visits a China Mobile shop to celebrate the launch of the iPhone 5S in 2014.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”not-yet-xiaomi-exec-hugo-barra-says-the-company-doesnt-plan-to-expand-to-the-west-for-a-few-years-31″
title=”Not yet. Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra says the company doesn’t plan to expand to the West for a ‘few years.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e3dd08956f638b45ca”
caption=”Xiaomi head of international expansion Hugo Barra.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”but-when-it-does-theres-reason-to-be-worried-almost-uniquely-for-an-android-phone-xiaomi-has-a-devoted-fan-base-to-rival-apples-own-combined-with-devices-around-half-the-price-of-apples-that-adds-up-to-a-serious-threat-32″
title=”But when it does, there’s reason to be worried. Almost uniquely for an Android phone, Xiaomi has a devoted fan-base to rival Apple’s own. Combined with devices around half the price of Apple’s, that adds up to a serious threat.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/52bd9a36eab8ea0c7fce32e8″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”but-for-now-theres-one-final-irony-xiaomi-has-fallen-prey-to-copycats-itself-the-company-claims-if-it-werent-for-counterfeit-versions-of-its-smartphones-sales-would-be-double-or-triple-33″
title=”But for now, there’s one final irony: Xiaomi has fallen prey to copycats itself. The company claims if it weren’t for counterfeit versions of its smartphones, ‘sales would be double or triple.'”
content=”Read more: Xiaomi has a massive problem with counterfeiting

image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/553625e3dd08956f638b45cb”
caption=”Xiaomi Founder and CEO Lei Jun.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”want-to-know-what-a-xiaomi-keynote-is-like-then-read-34″
title=”Want to know what a Xiaomi keynote is like? Then read:”
content=”

Xiaomi (Or ‘The Apple of China’) Is The Most Important Tech Company You’ve Never Heard Of »


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[/slideshow]