In his quest to build a better phone, Lei Jun visited hardware manufacturers from around the world. At Nokia, the head of R&D agreed with many of ideas, but had no ability to implement them. In the end, all of his hosts listened politely, but Lei Jun had nothing to show for it. Instead, he decided to build it himself.
The rest is already a part of history: Xiaomi Technology is likely the fastest growing tech company ever. In its first full financial year, Xiaomi generated $2.1 billion in revenue. That dwarfs the $713.4 million that Groupon did in its second full year of business, when it was said to be the fastest-growing company in history. In its second full year, Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, expects the company to generate $4.5 billion.
MobiSights, a blog by the Great Wall Club, has an insightful collection of predictions for China’s mobile Internet in 2012. I’ve chosen my 5 favorite, but I also recommend you check out the entire series of 30+ predictions. These are true industry insiders (folks like the famous angel investor Xue Manzi, Zynga engineering head Ji Xu, and Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi), not just blogging blowhards like myself.
Douban is a social network with a renaissance culture. It’s not a product that just any user can fully appreciate upon first log-in. Douban’s rich contents include detailed book, movie and music reviews, forums that reflect specific cultures, a virtual township, and now a music platform for up-and-coming artists.
And Douban, ever defying convention, doesn’t have just one mobile app. It has an independent app for each of these specific cultures. Hot-off-the-shelf is Douban Musicians (豆瓣音乐人), an elegantly designed mobile application for both Android and iOS that’s about to change how users approach music on mobile.
Steve Bell of Trilogy VC has a theory: legendary entrepreneurs emerge from the ranks of starving students. The truly GREAT technology companies cited by students–Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo–were all founded by students. And China will follow, he says: “a student at a top University in China today is just as capable of starting the next Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple as students at Stanford, MIT, and Harvard.”
The Android Market is currently blocked in China, presumably by the Great Firewall. It may be temporary, but we tested it with different devices the result is always the same: connection expired. Blocks in China always come without official public notification.
NetEase Tech released an outstanding infographic today that outlines the mobile communications market in China. Here’s our breakdown by 1) service providers; 2) mobile population; 3) smartphone market; 4) manufacturers.
HTC, Motorola, and Samsung claim the top three spots in China’s white-hot Android handset market, according to a new report [Chinese] by app analytics startup UMeng (友盟).
UMeng also found that its top 100 apps gained 300% users in the first six months of 2011. Sessions (uses of those apps) grew by 400%. The insane Android growth curve that we’ve been waiting for has arrived.
Yesterday, Lei Jun gave a Steve Jobs-style keynote speech introducing the first Android Xiaomi Phone (小米手机). In terms of hardware specifications, it is among the top-end Android phones, with a price tag that couldn’t be anymore competitive at RMB 2000, or USD 313. China’s mobile market is the largest in the world, and Lei Jun’s latest attempt to conquer it is the most convincing one I have seen in a long time.
To date, technologies such as T9 and other predictive text solutions that make English input easy were not built with Chinese users in mind. The most ‘innovative’ method to date has been handwriting support for Chinese characters. Recently, four students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University introduced Aeviou, a new Chinese input method currently being tested on Android devices. The Aeviou keyboard is a simplified QWERTY keyboard without the 5 vowels and ‘v’ (hence the name aeviou).
iResearch released a chart today of the top mobile app stores in China in 2010. The survey methodology is vague–it asks ‘how often’ users visit an app store–but is useful as a broad indicator. The top store is Nokia’s OVI Store–but how long will that lead last?
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