Great artists steal
Would-be-succesful entrepreneurs, take note – if you want to launch a brand capable of raising $1.1 billion in a single investment round and dream of someday being valued at, oh, let’s say $45 billion, you only need to do just one thing; you need to make beautiful products, and they need to look a whole lot like the sort of stuff you’d find at an Apple Store.
That’s the sort of Xiaomi, a venture-backed Chinese based mobile phone manufacturer that has today announced that they’ve raised $1.1 billion in new capital, bringing their total valuations up to $45 billion. It really is a fairy tale; in 2012, Xiaomi was worth just $4 billion.
President Bin Lin said in a statement today that the company will use this money to “strive to continue bringing innovation to everyone, with a goal of producing high-quality, high-performance devices with great user experience.” Of course, innovation is a funny word – just a cursory look at the company’s product portfolio reveals that the company’s various innovations just happen to look a whole lot like the ones that come out of Apple’s front door in Cupertino.
Xiaomi takes all of that in stride, of course, with Vice President Hugo Barra previously pointing out that Apple’s own designs aren’t exactly always original. “I think it’s great that Apple took existing ideas that were very good and added their design twist on top… that’s what they do. That’s what we do.”
And he’s got a point, of course. Apple’s designs have never been shy about revealing their inspiration from designer Dieter Rams, and the work he did for Braun. In 2012, Cult of Mac put together a handy guide that compares popular Apple product designs with their Braun originals.
Xiaomi President Bin Lin also used today’s announcement to trump up hype for the company’s next generation flagship smartphone in January, likely on the CES 2015 show floor.