A Mi Fan’s seven-year journey with Xiaomi

Hong Jun, a Shanghai native and manager in the automotive industry, is one of Xiaomi’s first Mi Fans, better known among other fans by his MIUI forum name, SmartStar.

SmartStar, holding the phone in the center, with a group of Mi Fans.

SmartStar told us that it was the MIUI platform that nurtured the first Mi Fans and the first Xiaomi phone, Mi 1, turned hundreds of impressed customers into devoted Mi Fans.

Xiaomi gave 100 engineering models of Mi 1 to its earliest Mi Fans. SmartStar had device number 011.

The number of Mi Fans has increased exponentially over the years and now not only encompasses engineers but also tech fanatics, designers and general consumers who are interested in cutting-edge products.

According to Lewis Ling, Community Management Lead at Xiaomi Global, there are four large forums for Mi Fans throughout the year. There are two nationwide activities, a mid-year event called “Mi Pop” and another gathering at the end of the year. China also has a MIUI Club and Campus Club for its fan base.

There are also city-level Mi Fan gatherings, which take place once a month. They are either product review events after major launches before the first sale of new products, or short tours to interesting places nearby, bringing Mi Fans closer together.

“Every true Mi Fan has made his or her own contribution to every single Xiaomi product. Xiaomi only spent one year evolving from the Mi MIX to the Mi MIX 2 and I believe Mi Fans’ feedback and suggestions played a very important role,” said SmartStar.

Mi Fans can also directly communicate with our high-ranking executives. For example, Alee, who co-founded Xiaomi in 2010 and previously led MIUI and now leads the marketing team, used to spend one or two hours every day on the MIUI Forum to chat with Mi Fans about their problems and suggestions.

SmartStar’s Story

SmartStar recalled that he met Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s founder and CEO at the company’s first launch event of Mi 1 in August 2011. “I was helping organize a rehearsal with other Mi Fans, and it happened that Lei Jun was taking a break nearby. I sat beside him and we chatted for a long time,” he said.

“He didn’t look like a business man, but more like an engineer. This was my first impression of him. Especially, Mi 1’s price was just half of its counterparts, making me believe that he just purely wanted to make a good phone. He is always as passionate as an enthusiast. I truly admire him,” SmartStar said .

During the product launch, Xiaomi gave SmartStar a tailor-made case portraying his family, including his one-year-old daughter.

Now seven years have passed. “Her childhood was accompanied by the Mi Bunny toys and witnessed by Mi Fans and the first Xiaomi people.”

SmartStar is an expert in a technology company in the automotive industry. He said he learnt a lot from Xiaomi’s business model. For example, motivating users by catering to their real needs, as well as encouraging users to come up with their innovative ideas.

“I think it’s almost impossible for an Internet automotive company to manufacture cars, but it’s plausible for an Internet automotive company to develop in-car apps,” said SmartStar.

His company organizes fan activities from time to time, such as reviews of in-car products and apps, or test-drives of electric cars.

“I hope one day MIUI can be the bridge between Xiaomi and smart car products or apps. MIUI is the reason that attracted the earliest Mi Fans, now it can be the hub for a smarter and better life.”

“You don’t have to pay much for a good life. Technology makes your life easier and happier,” SmartStar said.

Q&A

1.Which Xiaomi smartphones have you used?

The first engineering model of Mi 1, Mi 1 (final retail), Mi 2’s engineering model and Mi 2 (final retail), Mi 3 and Mi 4 for my family, Mi Note and Mi 5.

2.What Xiaomi products do you use at home?

I have a Mi Smart Home Kit which includes smart sensors for windows and doors. They can automatically turn on the light, and start household appliances remotely.

I also have other Mi Ecosystem products including Mi Robot Vacuum which automatically cleans my home every two days. Once connected to a Xiaomi smartphone, I can monitor my Mi Water Purifier remotely and receive a notification when any of its four purifier filters is expired. I can also remotely turn on or off my Mi Kettle and set water temperature, so that my daughter can always drink warm water.

I even use Xiaomi’s consumer products like toothbrush, towel and sports shoes.

Now I’ve developed a habit that whenever I want to buy any smart device or consumer product, I will check on Mi.com first to see if Xiaomi has this particular product on sale.