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Xiaomi’s Lei Jun would really like everyone to please stop calling him “China’s Steve Jobs”

Reuters/Jason Lee
Not Steve Jobs.
By Leo Mirani


ChinaPublished This article is more than 2 years old.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. In the first of our series profiling companies experiencing explosive growth, posted yesterday, Quartz featured Xiaomi, a Chinese mobile-phone maker that has captured the domestic market for cheap phones and the imagination of reporters worldwide. Our first sentence: “Lei Jun walks on to the stage like a young Steve Jobs.”

If only we had read the piece posted on Xiaomi’s official blog (link in Chinese) by Lei the previous day. In sum, Xiaomi’s founder and CEO has had enough of the comparisons with Apple and Steve Jobs, never mind that they helped raise his company’s profile outside China. He’s also had enough of journalists, users and Weibo (and especially journalists and users on Weibo). Here are some of Lei’s complaints, as translated by Tech in Asia.

  • Mr. Jobs was a great man. He did brilliant things, he changed the world, and was a huge inspiration to Xiaomi. But to use him as a point of comparison for myself is completely inappropriate. Xiaomi and Apple are two totally different companies.
  • I don’t mean to blame the media when I say this, but these headlines are written just to attract viewers.
  • The articles themselves don’t say anything negative, but the readers are still misled, and in editorials and on Weibo, I’m taken for a beating.
  • I’m not interested in arguing over semantics, but everyone can see that the Chinese translation of the Wall Street Journal holds a fundamental bias by using the word “baofahu” [nouveau riche].
  • Argh!

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