Research & Development Spending Why Xiaomi Lags 

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April 9, 2015 by ...

Contrary to what many have to say about Xiaomi, they are anything but innovative. As shown here ( X Xiaomi has pilfered so many ideas that they are now reduced to touting their ‘stellar charger’ shown here.


According to founder Lei Jun, the device is a work of art, or at least this can be said for the wires hidden inside. Because we cannot see inside the monstrosity without breaking it, we have little choice but to take his word for it. Call me cynical, but the term ‘dubious’ comes to mind as opposed to artful, but to each his own. 

Xiaomi needs to look creative

The simple fact is that Xiaomi is seeking to expand its product portfolio and grasping at straws in the process. This strategy is inline with the idea that Xiaomi is the Walmart of electronics in China, but little else. Case-in-point, the charger pictured costs little more than a Happy Meal, but is by no means a world-breaker. In other words, once again Xiaomi fails to deliver on the creative front.

Innovation and why Xiaomi is a laggard 

According to Xinhua, a communist party news rag, Apple is an R&D monster and spent $2billion in the first quarter of 2015 alone. That means they spent about four times as much on inventing in one quarter than Xiaomi made in profit for all of 2014. This amount is nearly four times as much as Huawei, another Chinese pretender.

For their part, Xiaomi does not break out R&D figures, which is probably a good move. After all, their definition of ‘creation’ probably hoes something like this:

Xiaomi top secret research lab

Technician one, ‘We must innovate for the communist party, the motherland and Xiaomi.’

Technician two, ‘But we are Xiaomi, not Apple. How are we supposed to innovate? Our research team is made up of us three failed coders.’

Technician three, ‘Simple, we do it the old fashioned way. Now where did I put those stolen iPhone designs?’


Xiaomi’s innovation gene is gestating but unborn as of yet. The time it takes to create is just too long for the five year old startup. Most firms can spend 5-10 years from concept to launch and Xiaomi has neither the skillset nor patience for such an investment. The Chinese legal system goes a long way in inculcating this behavior by explicitly and implicitly condoning it. As of now this has posed little to no problems but will be a challenge in the future.

If Xiaomi refuses to spend as much as the big boys, then theirs is a destiny of ignominy and Cheap plasticky chargers with USB slots built in.


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