Xiaomi, claiming as Apple of China, has been extremely successful after three years of set up. By the end of September 2013, Xiaomi 2 (including 2A/2S) sold out 10 million in 11 months. MIUI users surpassed 20 million. It is expected to sell over 18 million smartphones in 2013, and the estimated sales will be 30 billion yuan (USD 4.9 billion).
Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun was more interested in two data: 30 billion yuan sales will surpass Lenovo and Huawei’s mobile sales, and Xiaomi will become the number one in Chinese mobile sales market; Xiaomi users’ activity was above other Chinese smartphone manufacturers, tied with Samsung.
What’s the secrets of Xiaomi’s success?
Most people thought the success of Xiaomi was its marketing strategies.
When Lei Jun founded Xiaomi in 2009, the first product was MIUI operating system. Lei Jun didn’t want to spend money on marketing, so his crew began building brand awareness in forums. Their staff spent a lot of time on forums, making comments, sending posts and advertising. And they also searched for senior users in forums and picked out 100 out of 1000 to join their operating system design and feedback. These 100 senior users were the base of MIUI operating system, and they also became the first batch of “me fan”, meaning Xiaomi fans.
Later, Lei Jun decided to manufacturer smartphone. They used the same method to do marketing with zero budget, they set up MIUI mobile phone forum, which became the base camp of “me fan”.
In 2010, it’s a little different than 2009, MIUI forum already had 1 million registered users. Naturally, the 1 million users became the first “me fan” of MIUI smartphone. At the same time, Sina Weibo grew more and more popular, Xiaomi adjusted its marketing focus from forum to Weibo.
At present, MIUI forum had several large core sections: download center, getting started for rookies and Xiaomi college. It has 10 million registered users, with 100,000 daily posts. “Me fan” participated in product research, development, test, spread, marketing and public relation. Except a variety of online activities, fans also organized offline city gatherings.
Xiaomi fans city gatherings covered 31 cities in China, and Xiaomi official city gatherings would held every two weeks. Xiaomi would invite 30-50 users to come to the scene talking with engineers. There are about 300 to 400 city gatherings in nationwide annually. Lei Jun also created a “me fan” festival to share new products with Xiaomi fans. 42% “me fan” bought 2-4 MIUI smartphones, they were extremely loyal to Xiaomi.
For marketing, Xiaomi used different social network in a separate way. Weibo is used for attracting new users, Forum is to make these users to become loyal fans, Wechat is used for customer service. Xiaomi Sina Weibo account had 2 million followers, and its Wechat official account had 2.56 million subscribers.
Recently, Xiaomi opened Qzone account, and its followers reached 10 million very soon.
On Double 11 shopping day, 110,000 MIUI 3 sold out in 2 mins, and sales reached 553 million yuan (USD 90.26 million). It ranked top in mobile sales and brand awareness.
MIUI operating system is scheduled to update on every Friday, Lei Jun called it Orange Friday for the color of Xiaomi is orange. “Me fan” could participate in the innovation of MIUI system, ideas would be voted on forum, and staff would improve the system based the best suggestion.
Xiaomi made users fully participated in the creation of MIUI operating system and smartphone, valued their ideas and contribution. This is the biggest secret of its success.