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China’s cellphone tactics to beat the iPhone are heavily criticized

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The Xiaomi 14 and 14 Pro flagship series have just been released in China at the end of October 2023. In less than a month, 1 million units have been sold in this cellphone, according to claims by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun.

Analysts assess that the large number of people interested in the Xiaomi 14 marks the revival of the Chinese cellphone market, after falling over the last few quarters.

The Xiaomi 14 and 14 Pro could be said to be quite ambitious, especially from the photography aspect. This cellphone is equipped with a camera developed together with Leica, a legendary manufacturer from Germany.

Indeed, Xiaomi has announced a strategic partnership with Leica since last year. However, this seems to have received attention from various important figures in the technology industry.

Sebastian de With, designer and co-founder of Lux Optics who developed the iPhone camera application ‘Halide’, was one of those who criticized the collaboration between Xiaomi and Leica.

“I’m surprised that Leica actually values ​​its brand so low, that it allows Chinese companies to put their logo on iPhone knock-off cellphones,” he said, quoted by veteran technology journalist Sam Byford via Multicore.

Veteran technology blogger and UI designer, John Gruber, is equally cynical. He openly gave scathing comments to Leica and Xiaomi.

“I’m confused as to what surprised me more: Xiaomi, which is shameless and is copying the iPhone outright, or Leica, which is willing to do anything (perhaps for Xiaomi’s money),” he said, quoted from Byford’s article, Friday (10/11 /2023).

According to Byford, it is legitimate for the technology elite to insinuate Xiaomi’s efforts to beat Apple by collaborating with Leica. However, he added that the HP industry in the US is different from China.

China’s HP industry is much more competitive than many sectors. For your information, the largest cellphone market is held by China, so all cellphone manufacturers consider the Bamboo Curtain country as the key to their business.

“In the flagship market, there are Apple, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo, which currently provide devices with stunning hardware. The four Chinese manufacturers that I mentioned also have complete portfolios, in the entry level to mid range segments,” he said.

This means that the market in China has a character that makes it easier to change cellphones. He said that the character of iPhone users in the US tends to be loyal users. Meanwhile in China, people will easily change from Apple, to Huawei, then to Xiaomi, etc.

In this way, it is only natural that Chinese manufacturers compete to present the best devices from various sectors. Apart from that, rather than judging Xiaomi to imitate the iPhone, you could say that the manufacturer just wants its device to be more familiar to a market that is used to using flagships.

“Labeling Chinese companies as copycats doesn’t seem right. When Instagram Reels copied TikTok, the same scathing satire didn’t sound as strong,” he said.

Apart from that, Apple also imitates many of the features embedded in Android. For example, ‘Always-on Screen’ and ‘Swipe-to-type’.

“The most important thing is that the software offered by Chinese manufacturers is functional, familiar and suitable for the audience’s needs,” Byford emphasized.

Regarding Leica, this is not the first time the veteran vendor has collaborated with the HP company. Previously, Leica had also partnered with Huawei.