After raising $1.1 billion in new capital, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been valued at $46 billion. This means it’s worth more in the eyes of investors than even over-performing Uber (currently valued at $41 billion) and is now the most valuable venture-backed tech startup in the world. That’s not only testament to the company’s growth – sales are up by 300 percent year on year – but it even managed to produce a small profit of $56 million last year. Dedicated apps have kept customers loyal (and offered alternatives to Google services blocked in China) while its online-only sales approach has created hype and saved money on stores. There’s just one element of Xiaomi’s business that will never be acknowledged: its debt to Apple.
While accusations of Samsung “stealing” from Apple were (mostly!) stupid people falling for aggressive Apple PR, Xiaomi is just absolutely, 100% shameless in its almost one-to-one copying of Apple products. If this company keeps growing and keeps pushing towards the west, they’re going to clash with Apple at some point – and the creepy nationalist, anti-east undertones that bubbled to the surface during the Apple/Samsung court cases will turn into all-out racism when this Chinese company inevitably gets sued.