Date
13 December 2017
Xiaomi has been accused of ripping off the design and features of Apple's iconic iPhones. Photos: Xiaomi, Apple
Xiaomi has been accused of ripping off the design and features of Apple's iconic iPhones. Photos: Xiaomi, Apple

Xiaomi vs Apple – your pick!

If you are seeking a new phone, what would your first choice be — Xiaomi or Apple?

Apple, I bet you would say. But then you haven’t tried a Xiaomi device yet, I presume.

Xiaomi has just begun taking the first batch of orders for its new smartphone that comes with a 3,299 yuan (around HK$3,960) price tag, the most expensive model that the Chinese firm has offered since it was founded four years ago.

The new handset, the Mi Note, is touted as being more powerful as well as lighter than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. 

The claim, put forth by chairman Lei Jun, would probably make most people laugh. As one can expect, the new handset is currently available only in China.

The 5.7-inch screen device is going on sale just as Apple is expected to announce later Tuesday that it sold more iPhones in China than in the United States.

That is consistent with my observation that mainlanders love iPhones. Last Saturday, I greeted a group of 10 mainlanders (most of them were below the age of 30), and noticed that most of them were using Apple products. Only one Xiaomi phone could be spotted within the group.

Interestingly, I have observed over a long time that most mainlanders do not know how to use the App Store. That is why I think iPhone is more of a trendy, rather than technology, product for them.

The only criticism of Apple is pricing – the handsets are too expensive.

This is where Xiaomi came in, offering phones that are a virtual replica of iPhones in terms of design and color, but charging consumers only one-third compared to Apple.

The key lies in Xiaomi’s high cost-performance ratio. Most consumers may be tempted into impulse purchases for products priced below the equivalent of HK$2,000 but may need time (and a good excuse) for buying a product that costs more than HK$6,000.

Of course, consumer psychology also suggests you would be less furious if you bought a lemon at HK$1,000, but probably not if you pay HK$5,000. Let alone going through all the tedious online ordering and waiting process.

Meanwhile, a recent Weibo post by Xiaomi multimedia director Zhong Yufei has stirred up hot discussion after he suggested that users of iPhone 6 or 6 Plus (green apple, because the word “six” is “green” in Chinese) could consider swapping their handsets for new Xiaomi phones.

“Who would be so stupid to do so?”, ridiculed many netizens who shared the post in online forums.

Following the criticism, Zhong had no choice but to withdraw his suggestion.

The last time I recall a similar iPhone trade-in proposal was five years ago, involving Nokia.

But look where Nokia is now!

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BK/JP/RC

EJ Insight writer

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