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Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra Defends Against Copycat Accusations in New Interview

Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra, who came to the company from Google, today did an interview with Bloomberg where he once again spoke out in defense against copycat accusations that have been levied against the company.

According to Barra, all of the copycat claims come from a single iPhone 5-style chamfered edge on a Xiaomi device. "Yes, it does look like an iPhone 5 and that chamfered edge, by the way, is present in so many other devices."

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Xiaomi's Mi Note

He went on to say that the accusations were the result of a bias against Chinese companies. "People couldn't bring themselves to believe a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products."

When asked if the recent Mi Note looks like an iPhone 6 Plus, Barra laughed it off and said "it's white like an iPhone 6 Plus." He said accusations of copying weren't fair, because these days, every smartphone looks like every other smartphone on the market.

I just don't think we can allow a company to take ownership of things that just are how they are, right? I think if you look at what we've designed in the last 12 months you understand how much originality there is in what we do. And to be honest, I think you're going to see a lot more happening the opposite direction, people taking inspiration off what we do.
Over the course of four years, Chinese electronics company Xiaomi has managed to become the world's third largest smartphone distributor, competing with the likes of Lenovo, LG, Samsung, and Apple. Its devices, ranging from smartphones to tablets, have been publicly criticized for heavily borrowing design elements from Apple's iPhones and iPads and adopting marketing materials tactics similar to Apple's.

Xiaomi's copycat antics led Apple chief designer Jony Ive to verbally skewer the company in a 2014 interview, where he famously said "I think it's theft and it's lazy. I don't think it's okay at all," following a statement from Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra, who had said, "Our designers, our engineers are inspired by great products and by great design out there. And frankly who in today's world isn't?"

At the time, Ive went on to say Xiaomi's devices aren't a form of flattery. "When you're doing something for the first time, like with the iPhone... and you spend 7 or 8 years working on it and then it's copied - I have to be honest, the first thing I think isn't 'oh, that was flattering.' "

mi4ixiaomi
The iPhone 5c-style Xiaomi Mi 4i

Xiaomi's latest smartphones are the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro, designed to compete with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but the company has most recently expanded into the home arena, with the Smart Home Kit.

Tag: Xiaomi


Top Rated Comments

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11 months ago






Sure... The chamfered edge is the only thing...
Rating: 177 Votes
11 months ago
"every smartphone looks like every other smartphone on the market"

Well of course they do after they all copied the iPhone.
Rating: 95 Votes
11 months ago
Apple does NOT have any right to dictate how the industry designs their phones. Every Apple fan needs to watch this:

[MEDIA=youtube]zd-dqUuvLk4[/MEDIA]

In plain sight you see that Steve Jobs lied about Apple inventing multitouch. They did NOT. Nor did they invent rounded corners, a home button, a wedge shaped laptop or anything aesthetic.
Rating: 37 Votes
11 months ago

In plain sight you see that Steve Jobs lied about Apple inventing multitouch. They did NOT.


Technically, Jobs said that Apple had invented a technology that they call multi-touch. Different implementations exist and the principle behind multi-touch wasn’t new. It comprises lots of patents.
Rating: 21 Votes
11 months ago
Unbelievable. I don't know how he can say this stuff with a straight face. And we thought Samsung were blatant!
Rating: 21 Votes
11 months ago
A lot of what Hugo Barra said seems to almost contradict itself.

"People couldn't bring themselves to believe a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products."

When asked if the recent Mi Note looks like an iPhone 6 Plus, Barra laughed it off and said "it's white like an iPhone 6 Plus." He said accusations of copying weren't fair, because these days, every smartphone looks like every other smartphone on the market.


Xiaomi has both built products that are high-quality and innovative, yet they look like every other smartphone? He can't have it both ways. The quality and innovation aren't being disputed; the company responsible for the quality and innovation is.
Rating: 18 Votes
11 months ago
Wow, that company is a joke. Even their website behaves like apple.com

Absolutely absurd!
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago

There's nothing being stolen here unfortunately. Yes, the designs are similar. But you are not being forced NOT to buy Apple's product.

So why does it matter if you still get to have your iPhone?

No, they are slavishly copying the design, the promotional materials even the the marketing. There IS a difference between inspired and copying. They are copying.
Why does it matter? There was a Vanity Fair article a year or so ago about Samsung doing this repeatedly. Ask the people who lost their jobs when their parent company ended up leaving the business because because of these tactics. The company I work for is fighting this. A company in China bought one of the products we designed, patented, and copyrighted where appropriate, and now sells a line for line copy of it. It costs us sales. Why don't we go after them? A billion dollar Chines company vs our $10 million dollar company. They'd bleed us dry and they know it.

No, theft is theft, and it has very real costs.
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago



Improved multi-touch? Is that what Apple's invention is? I'm sure that would hold up in the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

'Hey, we wanna patent something that's already patented... but with quirks'


Yes... you can patent an improvement:

any person who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent

- uspto.gov
Rating: 16 Votes
11 months ago
Is anyone really surprised? Hugo Barra copied the iPhone when he was part of Android at Google and Xiaomi saw how well he copied the iPhone that they scooped him up and set him to work at copying every single thing Apple does from the iPhone to the Apple Store to even Jobs "One More Thing". The guy is a human copy machine.
Rating: 14 Votes

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