Xiaomi Is Fundamentally A Technology-Driven Company, Said Xiaomi's Co-Founder

摘要: Indeed, Xiaomi is no stranger to headlines, high public attention, celebrity endorsement and hungry marketing… . All these labels give the public the impression that Xiaomi is very good at marketing. However, Huang Jiangji, co-founder and vice president of Xiaomi, told TMTpost in a recent interview that Xiaomi was fundamentally a technology-driven company.

 (Chinese Version)

Huang Jiangji, co-founder and vice president of Xiaomi

Huang Jiangji, co-founder and vice president of Xiaomi

After Mi Note 2 was officially open for sale on November, 1st, it was sold out within fifty seconds. For a while, Xiaomi’s poster for the new smartphone model, featuring Chinese popular actor Liang Chaowei’s symbolic smile and the slogan “Curved to impress”, soon appeared on advertising boards across China.

Indeed, Xiaomi is no stranger to headlines, high public attention, celebrity endorsement and hungry marketing… . All these labels give the public the impression that Xiaomi is very good at marketing.

“While we think Mr. Liang’s personal image fits our product, Mr. Liang also thinks it appropriate to endorse Xiaomi,” Huang Jiangji (also known as KK), co-founder and vice president of Xiaomi, told TMTpost in a recent interview.

KK worked for Microsoft for thirteen years and used to be R&D director of Microsoft China Engineering Institute. In 2010, to witness the wave of mobile internet, he joined Xiaomi Technology and was appointed as vice president, in charge of mainly three projects, Mi Talk, Mi Cloud and Mi Reuter. For KK, Xiaomi is a technology-driven company, and it would be mistaken to have the impression that Xiaomi is only good at marketing.

“I have always believed that developing a really great product is the best marketing. approach. At Xiaomi, we attach 80 per cent of our attention on product quality, and only 20 per cent on marketing. People might have the impression that much of Xiaomi is about marketing, but the truth is: we are the few companies that make best use of the internet. When we decide to develop a product, we already know for sure what’s the selling point. Our marketing is successful because we always try to best meet consumers’ needs and integrate all the features consumers want the most in our products.”

In the age of mobile internet, technology will determine at what degree a company is. For KK, while tech companies will be able to connect more users and spread information more widely through mobile internet, they also face fiercer competition and higher risk of failure. Xiaomi’s goal, however, is to make best use of the mobile internet, make a difference in all the three areas (connect, maximize and compete), develop the best products in respective fields and grow rapidly in face of competition with Global Top 500 Enterprises.

As a technology-driven company, Xiaomi has already been exploring its potential in AI

KK is very proud that Xiaomi has created a benign cycle through its operating system MIUI: Xiaomi acquires a gregarious number of users through hardware, establishes an effective internet model through its large user base, while at the same time, the internet is making Xiaomi’s hardware more user-friendly.

It is only this year that Xiaomi established Explore Lab and started its adventure in AI. For KK, Xiaomi’s fit for AI, and has already found its direction: through a large number of smart home devices, Xiaomi can accumulate tons of information every day. These data will be the foundation of Xiaomi’s AI technology.

Currently, KK is mainly in charge of Xiaomi’s exploration in AI and deep learning. He revealed to TMTpost that in fact he wished to focus on deep learning technology six years ago, but had no choice but to give up the idea due to limited resources, data and model. So maybe the time is really ripe now for him to pursue his dream six years ago.

However, there’s huge bubble in the Chinese AI industry. Although many companies have accumulated lots of data, they can’t make good use of them since they don’t have any mature product and system. That’s why most companies are merely resting on the idea and haven’t made any concrete progress. According to KK, through a large amount of data collected from its huge user base, Xiaomi could make full use of AI technology and have machines learn the rules and patterns in some segment areas.

Different from AliCloud, Mi Cloud is more like a support for Xiaomi’s all kinds of hardware and software. By enhancing its cloud capability, Xiaomi’s goal is to combine AI and Mi Cloud together.

KK also predicted that AI would become more like a fundamental technology, just like water and electricity, in the future. Through the efforts of scientists around the world, it will be easier and easier to get involved in the area. As a matter of fact, Google has already opened access to its deep learning technology. In the future, he believed we shall see a flowering of projects and innovation in the AI field, and the gap between tech giants and small startups would also be narrower.

For KK, deep learning technology has the potential to completely change the world. After some research, he found that deep learning, together with hardware computing and big data, can solve many problems in segment fields. In the past, these problems must be solved by a large number of engineers through computing language; today, however, these problems can be solved in a more efficient way. He believed that deep learning technology could be adopted to solve problems in various fields, including medicine, education, finance, IoT, etc.

Xiaomi’s third way: an open and enclosed ecosystem

In Israel, although IoT is developing rapidly and internet connection speed is very fast, there are still lots of devices not activated and restricted offline. So many companies in the industry teamed up and established an association to activate these terminals.

When many people are still pondering over the possibility to establish association and allies, KK revealed that over 40 million smart home devices of Xiaomi had already been in service, with an active product raito of over 90 per cent, and active user ratio of 70 per cent. He didn’t think it would be effective to establish an ally. Instead, as long as the smart home products are handy and easy to use, it’s natural that users will activate these products.

“A good smart home product should be easy to use. As long as users connect Xiaomi’s smart home devices to power, their Xiaomi smartphones will automatically start searching the device and ask users: Do you want to connect the device to your smartphone? There’s no need to install another APP. In addition, users can control their connected smart home devices simply by swiping the screen during lock screen,” KK explained.

Speaking of Xiaomi’s development strategy in IoT, TMTpost’s author did a thorough analysis in a previous article. To strike a good balance between open and closed, between providing good user experience and maintaining its size, Xiaomi developed a third road, that is, to develop an enclosed ecosystem through open investment.

KK thought there’s much difference between Xiaomi’s “open investment strategy” with others, saying that:

"In the past, the common practice was that large companies would expand by acquiring small ones. However, KK believed that it would be more effective to have the smaller companies larger ones invested in involved in competition. Xiaomi won’t be the dominant shareholder, since the market and competition is the best way to tell if a company can survive or not."

Although an increasing number of users began to complain about the quality of Xiaomi’s products, KK wasn’t worried at all:

"As more and more users begin to use Xiaomi’s products, it’s natural that more users will happen to encounter problems. However, this doesn’t mean the quality of our products is getting worse, or our products are worse than our rivals’."

Speaking of the future, KK was very confident, believing that by accumulating a large amount of data and studying these data, Xiaomi could develop products even smarter in the future. At that time, these products can serve users automatically, and users can control them simply through speech and gestures.

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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Sun Cheng, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]

Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.

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