5 insights from Xiaomi on entrepreneurship

Xiaomi is one of the hottest smartphone companies in China and the world, but fans of the company’s Mi line of smartphones may not know much about one its central figures, Li Wanqiang. In 2010, Li co-founded Xiaomi, leading both the MIUI (Mi User Interface) and Mi.com teams. Since 2012, he has been in charge of the e-commerce management, operations and marketing teams at Xiaomi.

Years after Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun asked him to, Li has finally written a book titled Canyugan, or A Sense of Engagement in English. In the book, Li explores Xiaomi’s unique approach to being a startup. AllChinaTech’s team picked some of the highlights from the book.

1.On teams

The most important work for founders at a startup’s early stages is recuitment. Good teams play a key role in startups, and only excellent teams can make first-class products. In Xiaomi’s first year, Lei Jun expended great effort and energy organizing an excellent team. It’s not an easy task but it’s a fundamental first step on the road to success.

2. On co-founders

Alibaba is known for its 18 co-founders. The e-commerce empire is built on the “wisdom of the 18”. So is Xiaomi. Lei and the seven co-founders form a strong central unit, but they maintain the right to operate independently in different departments. This makes it possible to make decisions and implement strategies quickly.

3. On engineers

Only the best will do. A good engineer is better than 100 average ones, especially when it comes to product R&D. Xiaomi’s founding team regard it as a task requiring great creativity and high intelligence. Excellent engineers are a powerful driving force. They show great innovation with a playful mindset because they are the ones who are really enjoying the process.

4. On being passionate about your business

Lei believes the ancient Chinese philosophy that “a fact is nothing except in relation to desire”. What people crave is what’s legitimate. A sense of involvement and pride in a company will encourage employees to fully tap their talents. Lei didn’t care as much about wealth and fame because he had been a successful entrepreneur and an angel investor before he founded Xiaomi. What he was eager to do was build up a great company that people will remember.


Xiaomi’s working Office, photo from Baidu.com

5.On working environment

Lei was driven by his dream to build a great company, so he fostered a respectful workplace environment. The company’s employees feel comfortable and relaxed in order to work positively and help improve Xiaomi’s level of customer service. Xiaomi wants its employees to be Mi fans as well, and even encourages them to share their passion for Xiaomi with their friends and relatives.

(Top photo from Baidu images.)

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