November 13, 2014 by ...
Lei Jun started Xiaomi in 2009 but he had no hardware. His background was software so he hired a crew to write the MIUI program and opened it up to the public as well. Crowdsourcing this move was one his most brilliant ideas.
Perhaps he figured he was woking on the next Microsoft, king of OS’s, but Lei and company began coding in earnest.
Most Chinese firms are marketing poor. The economy is still controlled in many respects so marketing has never matured. This fact has hurt many Chinese firms as only 3% of them sell internationally under their own band. All the others are merely sub-suppliers.
Following the Chinese tradition, Xiaomi did not want to ‘waste’ money in marketing. They figured to rely on word-of-mouth and conscripted their users to get the word out.
They monitored MIUI user forums for the most active and positive users. These people were recognized as Xiaomi loyalists.
Out of every 1000 they chose 100 to join their system design team. These 100 people were Xiaomi’s OG’s and original ‘Mi Fans’.
Crowdsourcing like this did more for Xiaomi’s target market- 20-30 year old males, than just about anything else. Lei continues to use crowdsourcing to cut costs and obtain novel ideas.