Xiaomi Scrapping ‘No Ad’ Mantra-Competition Catching Up?

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June 24, 2015 by ...

Previously Xiaomi had touted its ‘we don’t do ads cred’ as one of the keys to success. Their products essentially sold themselves, or so we were led to believe. 

According to Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s CEO, rabid fans and a great product were all they needed to prove to the world that they made stellar kit. The proof was in the puddin’. But all of that has changed.
Xiaomi now advertising

In China and abroad, Xiaomi is advertising the heck out of their phones. Beijing, for example, is home to myriad of Xiaomi images and adverts, something they had scoffed at in the past. In fact, they had bragged about not needing marketing at all. The money they saved on this wasted expense was passed on to the consumer. Great products sell themselves, right?

Apparently that’s no longer true as I said, and not just in China but India too. Just this week Xiaomi ran a monstrous two page in the Times of India. The dollars thrown at that piece were not inconsequential-$330k-350k. 

Shift in strategy

This marks a big shift in the Xiaomi strategy as seen here in Beijing too. As I said, they have both still ads and videos touting the Mi Note, something they had not done in the past. 

Sure Xiaomi had run a 30 second ad costing almost $4 million. But that was on China’s huge TV New Year’s extravaganza. That event attracts 500-600 million viewers. Talk about bang for your buck.

In light of this and Xiaomi’s past, it’s odd to see them doing proper ads. 

Why it’s important?

Moving to ads shows that Xiaomi has grown up. The competition has cribbed much of their business model and Xiaomi is in a war. They have essentially taken IP theft to the mainstream and that’s to their detriment. Absent a home-grown advantage which is legally protected, they are just another shanzhai or tech pirate. 

They now are faced with the reality that lacking innovation sucks. It leaves firms vulnerable and that’s always bad. 

In order to compensate, Xiaomi is spending on ads in order to attract customers and on the other hand removing charge cables to cut cost. Simply put, Xiaomi is being forced to act like a company which deserves a $45 billion valuation. 

Time will tell if they get it right or will be another knockoff king whose products are defined as much by bottom of the barrel prices as lack of originality.

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