Xiaomi unveils three new products at blockbuster event in India, with Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi LED TV 4 (55) making global debuts

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Xiaomi Smart TVs Make Their Mark

For many people, a smart TV is the hub of their entertainment and smart home. A smart TV allows users to cut the cord and enjoy limitless on-demand Internet content. Today, smart TVs are growing in popularity and preference across the globe, with most of the world’s major TV manufacturers making smart TVs.

Xiaomi established its Mi TV team in 2012, with the ambition of “building the world’s best smart TVs that everyone can afford” in accordance with the company’s core value to offer consumers high-quality and well-designed products at accessible prices.

Back then, during an internal meeting, Lei Jun, our founder and CEO, told the team that because the company has already put a great number of small screens in people’s hands through Xiaomi’s successful smartphone series, there was now an opportunity to put larger screens in people’s homes. We therefore set out to create smart TVs that followed our product philosophy of being  as user-friendly and as “smart” as possible. Other than delivering Internet services, our TVs also act as a hub for our wide array of smart home products.

Wang Chuan, our co-founder who leads Mi TV operations, has deep experience in the TV industry and we were fortunate he was able to bring this expertise and understanding of hardware and supply chains to Xiaomi.

Despite this, it was a challenging start for our Mi TV team. Wang Chuan recalled his experience of visiting nine suppliers in eight cities within five days. Additionally, the TV engineers had to stay at the factories for three months to make sure that the entire manufacturing process met our strict standards. Their hard work finally paid off as Mi TV has become the fastest growing TV brand in China in 2017, even amid an overall market downturn. In fact, in last September and October, Mi TV was named the bestselling smart TV brand on Tmall and JD, China’s leading e-commerce platforms.

Innovation, the key to our success

Wang Chuan attributes Mi TV’s success to our relentless exploration for innovation. The Mi TV includes multiple innovative features including:

11-key remote control

Our first TV product, Mi TV 1, running on our MIUI system, was announced in September 2013, bringing a simplified smart TV interface and the innovative 11-key remote control.

Remote controls used to come with dozens of keys, easily confusing consumers. We solved this pain point by removing unused keys, simplifying the user experience.

Independent soundbar

Mi TV 2, which was announced in 2014, came with an independent soundbar with nine built-in speakers and a subwoofer, which significantly improved sound quality while watching movies or playing games.

Innovative modular design

Mi TV 3 was crafted with a modular design approach when launched in 2015, redefining the 60-inch 4K TV industry in China. It was separated into two parts: a 60-inch LG true 4K display and the Mi TV Bar, which incorporates the motherboard, Mi Box content and a world-class independent sound system. As the Mi TV Bar could be paired with any screen that has a HDMI port, with a Mi Port-to-HDMI cable, users could simply purchase a Mi TV Bar if they wanted to upgrade their old TV for a much lower cost than changing the entire TV set.


The content first PatchWall system

Besides making updates on the hardware, “content first” has always been our Mi TV team’s guiding theme. Mi TV has become China’s largest TV content hub by partnering with the country’s top video websites including iQiyi, Tencent Video, Sohu Video, and PPTV.

We reached another milestone in September 2016, at the launch event of Mi TV 3S, where we announced our own AI TV system PatchWall, which truly amplifies the content and user experience. It can predict content based on what users have watched to provide more accurate recommendations through deep learning, and feature users’ favorite on the homepage.

PatchWall proved to be a big hit in China’s smart TV market, winning awards including “the best TV OS in 2016”.

Voice control

Furthering our TV’s position as the hub of the smart home, we announced the Mi TV 4A in March 2017. This model integrates voice commands to PatchWall, so users can verbally tell their Mi TVs to search for a particular movie. They can also ask their TVs to control connected Mi Ecosystem products, such as a Mi Air Purifier and a Mi Robot Vacuum.

Designs

We’re always exploring ways to improve our craftsmanship, and it’s been noticed by our fans and industry alike. Mi TV 3 has won the world-renowned Red Dot Award 2016 for its design, and now Mi TV 4 offers the world’s first 4.9 mm, super slim body which is almost frameless.

“Today, I think we’ve reached our goal and all the hard work has truly paid off,” said Wang Chuan, who couldn’t help but get emotional during the launch event for Mi TV 4 in May 2017.

And Lei Jun, who had been waiting quietly in a backstage VIP room, was ready to give Wang and the Mi TV team his warmest congratulations.

After crossing RMB 100B revenue milestone, a new journey for Xiaomi begins in 2018

This is Lei Jun‘s letter to all employees at our year-end gala, our most important annual event.

Dear Xiaomi colleagues,

Happy New Year!

2017 has been an extraordinary year for Xiaomi. It was a “turnaround year”, but more importantly a “leapfrog year” — a critical year in breaking new ground for our future as we embark on a new journey.

  1. Crossing the RMB 100B revenue threshold

In October 2017, we exceeded the revenue goal of RMB 100 billion set at the beginning of the year. I checked — and found out that to achieve this milestone, Apple took 20 years, Facebook took 12 years, Google took nine years, Alibaba took 17 years, Tencent took 17 years, Huawei took 21 years.

Xiaomi has taken only slightly over seven years. We are very likely to enter the Fortune Global 500 list of companies this year.

  1. Three reasons for the successful rebound in smartphone sales

Due to the improvement of our turnover capabilities, our global shipments have improved significantly since Q2 2017 — Xiaomi is back in the top 5 smartphone brands. As per IDC, we have become the world’s #4 smartphone brand in Q4 2017 in terms of shipments. Even with the overall smartphone market declining 6.3%, we managed to maintain a year-on-year growth of 96.9% — Xiaomi was the only brand with continuous growth, demonstrating the support and recognition we received from our users.

How did Xiaomi achieve this turnaround? This is because we use a telescope to look at innovation, and a microscope to examine product quality. Innovation determines how high we can fly, while product quality determines how far we can go.

1) Relentless pursuit of technology innovations, release of Surge S1 and leading the smartphone industry with Mi MIX 2

Xiaomi is driven by an engineering culture and innovation is in our DNA. In 2017 we grew from focusing our innovations on single products to a more systematic approach.

Early last year, Xiaomi launched our first chipset Surge S1 and successfully put it into mass production. We became the fourth company in the world with the ability to design and manufacture both chipsets and smartphones.

In Q3 last year, we launched Mi MIX 2, becoming a leader in the full screen display era, while the industry continues to follow this trend closely. It is the first time a Chinese consumer technology industry is leading the world’s evolution of technology.

Meanwhile, we’ve built the world’s biggest IoT platform with many advanced smart devices in our ecosystem and continuous investment in cloud services. We are also among the first to launch AI products in China.

So far, we have applied for more than 24,000 patents globally with 5920 of them granted, among which half are global patents.

2) Firm focus on quality, showing significant improvement

Quality is the lifeline of our company’s development. In early 2017, Xiaomi set up its Quality Control Committee with me as chairman. The quality of Xiaomi’s products and services is the most important mission of the company and we will improve product quality regardless of cost.

After a year’s efforts, our quality has improved significantly based on our original standards and these efforts have been widely recognized. Recently, Xiaomi was among the top ten in the “Made in China 2025” quality award, and I was also honored to receive a Quality personality award and was elected as Deputy Chairman of the China Quality Committee.

3) Rapid growth in our global business, with Xiaomi becoming #1 in India and global markets flourishing

We are present in 70 countries and regions so far globally and became top five in 16 markets. India is an extraordinary example. According to multiple research firms, starting Q3 last year, our smartphone market share in India has become number one. Also, with Indonesia representing Southeast Asia, Russia representing Eastern Europe, and Spain representing Western Europe, all our markets have shown strong growth.

  1. Bumper crop of design awards

Good design is a key part of the user experience, and right from the start, it has been an important focus for Xiaomi. In fact, two of our co-founders come from a background of industrial design and have extensive experience in the field. Our ongoing investment in design was greatly recognized in 2017 when we received a host of design awards, including four major awards (IDEA Gold, iF Gold, Red Dot Best of the Best, Good Design Best 100). Led by Mi MIX and Mi MIX 2, five Xiaomi smartphones bagged international design awards. The Mi MIX series was even displayed as exhibits by a range of top museums including Centre Pompidou in France, Finland’s Design Museum and Germany’s Die Neue Sammlung.

Our success comes from the core of our business model: Winning the lasting trust of our users

Amidst the difficulties and challenges we faced, we still achieved amazing results. This victory is possible only because of the effort that our 18,000 employees have put in, the unrelenting support of our Mi Fans, and ultimately Xiaomi’s business model and values.

2017 holds a deeper meaning for us — alongside our miraculous comeback, doubts about our business model have been entirely crushed. Our business model has been thoroughly tested and we have gained a lot of confidence that we are on the right path, with the right values and the right culture.

We believe that rather than pursuing short-term gains in terms of hardware profit, making sure that our products have a good user experience will enable us to succeed in the long term. Instead of many layers in the distribution channel adding multiple costs to a product, honest pricing will win our users’ hearts. As long as we continue delivering products that are innovative, powerful, with high quality and great design, and with an honest price tag, we can win the lasting trust of our users.

And winning the lasting trust of our users is the most important thing to us. Some users have said that they can walk into a Xiaomi store, close their eyes and buy anything, because they are confident that our products offer the best quality and price. This is a really strong affirmation for us as this is exactly the ultimate goal we are pursuing. By continuing to win the trust of our users, our users will choose our products without thinking twice, and our highly efficient business model can be truly realized.

A new journey in 2018: Expanding around the world and staging a comeback in China

2018 marks the start of a new journey for Xiaomi, and it is bound to be a magnificent year. We have built a solid foundation over the last seven years, and we will ride on this momentum for greater expansion, growth and quality improvement.

While continuing to focus on technology innovation and quality improvement, we will also put in a lot of effort in our overseas expansion. In 2017, I went to India three times, Indonesia twice and Vietnam once, and I saw huge and exciting opportunities wherever I went.

We have entered more than 70 markets globally and established a leading position in many of them. But this is just a start. There is still a lot of room for growth in the markets we are present in, and we have yet to enter many more markets around the globe. Overseas markets represent huge opportunities for us and we need to give more support in terms of strategy, resources, and localized product development, as well as send more of our employees out to the rest of the world.

On the domestic front, we have to start a full counter-attack and accumulate small successes into a full victory, sparing no effort to ensure that we have the ultimate victory in 2019.

In 2018, the Chinese smartphone market is poised to experience a decline for the first time after more than a decade of growth. The market is consolidating while the competition  becomes more and more brutal. There is no turning back for us and we have to charge forward. The Chinese market is Xiaomi’s foundation. It is the biggest consumer electronics market in the world and the most competitive one. Only by winning in the domestic market  can we have enough support for global expansion. Only by winning in China, can we win in the rest of the world.

So this year I am setting a new goal: We will regain the #1 position in China within 10 quarters.

In this battle, we should move firmly forward and set up command center at the front line. We cannot afford to lose any province, city, county and community. We should remain brave and alert, and fight to the end.

This requires us to have strong management and organizational capabilities on all fronts. So from now on, we will nurture and promote a fleet of young and capable managers, creating a more dynamic and progressive team. We will make sure that capable, ambitious, aggressive and daring talent can learn how to fight and grow rapidly.

To everyone at Xiaomi, thank you all for your continued hard work! I hope you grasp all the opportunities in this great era and bravely shoulder your responsibilities. Let us embrace the great opportunities and challenges, and have the ambition to build a great business! Let us take on the mission of delivering innovation to everyone in the world, and write a new chapter in Xiaomi’s journey!

Lei Jun

2/7/2018

From Mi Fans to Partners

Xiaomi’s fans – Mi Fans – are an integral part of our corporate culture. Mi Fans also contribute to our widespread reach through a new program known as Xiaomi kiosks. In March 2017, we established a new sales channel called Xiaomi kiosks to reach districts without Mi Home Stores and towns and villages with limited e-commerce access. We’ve been encouraging Mi Fans to run their own Xiaomi kiosks, allowing them to use their in-depth knowledge of Xiaomi to become a Xiaomi business partner.

A Xiaomi kiosk in a small village

Ye Rong, from Wuxi city in Southern China’s Jiangsu province, is among the first Xiaomi kiosks owners, running a 12 sq. meter Xiaomi kiosk in a district of Wuxi. He sells a wide array of trendy Xiaomi products, including the Mi AI Speaker and the Mi Temperature and Humidity Monitor.

Ye Rong’s Xiaomi kiosk

Like many other Xiaomi kiosks owners who are Internet savvy, aware of trends in technology and have developed a love for Xiaomi products, Ye Rong first became interested in Xiaomi in the summer of 2013, when he bought a Mi 3 for his father as a present.

At the start of 2014, he started to buy Redmi smartphones for his friends and acquaintances. He came to know the Xiaomi kiosks program in the start of 2017 and applied to it. After passing an exam to test his level of understanding of Xiaomi products, Ye Rong officially became a kiosk owner on June 1, 2017.

In the Xiaomi kiosks business model, owners don’t need to pay any initial fee or deposit and are given a lot of freedom, including the ability to choose the site of their kiosks. In fact, partners may choose not to have a brick-and-mortar store, and instead, have a series of pop up booths to reach customers in a variety of locations. Different from a full-scale store, Xiaomi kiosks owners can place small orders from Xiaomi headquarters to avoid the risk of excess inventory. Shop owners can also use the company’s warehouse, delivery services and post-service support. They are also given training from time to time, allowing them to share learnings and experiences from their region.

Xiaomi products on display at a Xiaomi kiosks owner’s pop-up booth

Because Xiaomi is deeply committed to fair business practices, they do require all partners abide by three key rules: all product prices must align with Mi Home stores’ sale prices, no cross-region sales and no cheating.

We have been encouraging our Mi Fan partners to use innovative methods to promote their business. Ye Rong has been glued to his Mi MIX 2, using various social media platforms to build a network of hundreds of clients. Another Mi Fan surnamed Xu, who is just 21, has achieved a monthly sales revenue of over RMB 100,000 by organizing creative roadshows in busy areas to attract new customers.

The Mi Fan, as well as Xiaomi kiosks owner surnamed Xu is organizing a roadshow

On August 2, 2017, after the first batch of Xiaomi kiosks reached a sales revenue of RMB 100 million, Ye Rong posted a WeChat group photo featuring representatives of Xiaomi kiosks owners with several Xiaomi executives. He wrote, “So proud to be part of this achievement. Thanks to all the users who have trusted me. We bring good products at honest prices, and high-quality door-to-door services as well.”

Why Xiaomi leaped into the VR industry

For centuries, people have dreamed of new worlds and dimensions, something that has more recently been brought to life in Sci-Fi films and even more recently, has become a reality through VR.

And the VR industry came to the middle of a whirlwind in 2014, as in that March, Facebook acquired the VR pioneer Oculus – which has been testing VR devices since 2012 – for $2 billion. Soon after that, global technology players like Google and Samsung followed suit, investing heavily in this growing industry. 

Xiaomi’s leap into VR

By the end of 2015, our founder and CEO Lei Jun discussed with Alee, our co-founder who leads the marketing team as well as other high-level Xiaomi executives about introducing more cutting-edge technology to Mi Fans. It was at this time that we established Mi Lab and confirmed two major research directions – AI and VR.

Lei Jun told the VR team, “If you are going to dive deep into the VR field, you have to be fully prepared for a hard time of at least five years.” From day one, we decided to fully commit to exploring and adapting VR practices and integrating them into our technology.

In 2016, we launched our first standard-sized VR headset in China for RMB 199, a device that required a separate smartphone. We continued to develop a standalone VR headset that was easy to use anytime, anywhere, and still priced affordably, all while providing a high-quality VR experience.

We were determined to find the world’s best and most dedicated team to work together. Since 2015, we’ve been visiting Oculus to collaborate and understand their VR developments. To bring the best in the industry to our customers, and let more people enjoy high-quality VR experiences, we partnered with Oculus to bring two standalone VR headsets to the market: Oculus Go and Xiaomi Mi VR Standalone.

An important part of good VR experiences stems from engaging VR content, which mainly comes from games these days, as gaming companies are best at computer graphics, which can build a genuine and immersive 3D world.

Nowadays our VR platform brings over 100 popular VR games from around the world to China. For example, by playing “Hello Mars,” which uses NASA’s statistics, the player can experience an adventure of taking a spacecraft and landing on Mars. While in “Dream Flight,” the player can soar over oceans and villages, exploring the world’s geography. 

According to the China Culture and Entertainment Industry Association, in 2017, VR games achieved a sales revenue of about $62.5 million in China, growing 28.2 percent from the previous year. There were over 800 popular VR games on the market, mostly from global makers. Meanwhile, we are working with developers directly to bring more engaging content to China.  

Ever growing content in the global markets

Currently, VR content in the global markets mainly touches the gaming, education, design and tourism industries, among which gaming is also the most popular.

Analyst firm TechNavio anticipates that between the year 2016 and 2020, the world’s VR game market scale will increase 84.4 percent. By 2020, its sales revenue will achieve $162 billion, with the major income stemming from the US.

As the VR industry grows, it has introduced numerous tools, such as VRChat, a social platform that allows users to create and explore virtual worlds with other people from around the world. You can play the game with a VR headset or in desktop mode, but a VR device creates a more immersive experience.

However, the VR industry is still very young and VR content is still in its early stages. According to our research, on a global scale, the average time that people spend on VR is just 21 minutes per day. On Oculus’ devices, the world’s largest VR platform, the average time spent is 37 minutes. Even in these early days, we found that 20 percent of VR game players are willing to pay for VR games, and most players care more about content quality than the price.

We anticipate that VR will have to go through major transformations in both hardware and content to bring users an experience that truly transcends and amplifies the real world. It may take time to achieve this goal, especially as we are now only starting in China, but we are looking forward to experiencing aiding in the growth of the VR industry across the world in the coming years.

[News] XIAOMI PARTNERS WITH OCULUS TO BUILD THE NEXT GENERATION OF VR

Xiaomi introduces Mi VR Standalone, a new all-in-one VR system coming to China in 2018

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2018 — Today, global technology leader Xiaomi, and Oculus announced they have been working together to bring two standalone VR headsets to market: Oculus Go and Xiaomi Mi VR Standalone. Both headsets aim to lower barriers of entry, allowing more people to experience high-quality VR.

The Mi VR Standalone headset will be available exclusively in China. Oculus Go, first announced at Oculus Connect in October 2017, will be available in the rest of the world. This new standalone category of hardware is designed to bring more freedom and accessibility to VR. Without the need for a cable, external sensors, or a dropped-in mobile phone, standalone headsets represent an exciting new phase of VR hardware.


In collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, both headsets use the powerful Snapdragon Mobile VR Platform to address VR processing demands in this standalone form factor. By bringing together Xiaomi’s innovation and experience in consumer electronics and Oculus’ industry-leading VR engineering and expertise, both Mi VR Standalone and Oculus Go will offer cutting-edge technologies and a high level of craftsmanship.

Facebook VP of VR Hugo Barra, Qualcomm Incorporated President Cristiano Amon, and Xiaomi VP Thomas Tang at CES 2018.

Tang Mu, VP of Mi Ecosystem and head of Mi Lab, said: “We are excited to work with Oculus on these standalone devices that exceed expectations in terms of performance at a very attractive price. Xiaomi has always relentlessly pursued the best user experience and price-to-performance ratio. For the best experience, we consider every minute detail. Through our collaboration with Oculus, we have integrated world-class technologies and craftsmanship to produce a VR standalone that lets people immerse themselves in another world without being connected to smartphones or computers.”

“The standalone VR form factor represents the next significant phase of VR hardware development at Oculus,” said Hugo Barra, VP of VR at Facebook. “Through our partnership with Xiaomi, both Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone represent our first step in delivering that sweet spot between mobile and PC VR. These devices will be, hands down, the easiest way to get into VR.”

FIRST LOOK AT MI VR STANDALONE
Mi VR Standalone shares the same core hardware as Oculus Go. Both headsets have the same advanced technologies, including a 2K high-resolution fast-switch LCD screen, next-generation lenses and integrated spatial audio. Adding to these features is a vast content library of movies, 360° videos and interactive games available through the Mi VR Store.

Mi VR Standalone features integrated spatial audio technology developed by Oculus. The audio drivers are built directly into the headset, making getting in and out of VR much faster and making the headset easy to share with someone else. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for a more private listening experience.

Based on Oculus technology, the Mi VR Standalone system caters to what Chinese users want the most: a powerful video player and a localized social experience. Mi VR Standalone supports both the Oculus Mobile SDK and the Mi VR SDK, making it easy for Chinese developers to support the headset, and giving existing Oculus developers a streamlined path to bring their content to the Chinese market on the Mi VR platform. Xiaomi is working with developers to bring some of the popular games, videos and apps from the Oculus Store to the Mi VR Store in China, giving Chinese consumers access to high-quality mobile VR content.

Capture the world through new lenses

Are you getting a little bored of your 4:3, 16:9 or even 18:9 camera frames that provide a limited view of the world you are trying to capture? 360-degree cameras can represent a scene in an entirely new way, enabling the viewer to capture a greater range and sensory experience.

Among the many products in this rapidly growing photography category, Mi Sphere Camera is an well rounded, accessible device that elevates the user experience from just seeing the world in the front to the entire scenario of that location.

“A 360-degree camera is an important tool that allows consumers to make their own VR content,” said Huang Yetao, founder of MadV, the manufacturer of Mi Sphere Camera. (MadV is one of Xiaomi’s Mi Ecosystem companies.)

In addition to capturing 360-degree still photos, Mi Sphere Camera also allows users to record amazing panoramic videos at high speeds. Its six-axis electronic image stabilization corrects movement while skiing, skydiving, bungee jumping, or any other high-speed actions. It also has a 1600mAH battery, which is higher in capacity than many other products in its price category. The powerful battery supports up to 75 minutes of 4K video on a single charge during normal temperature conditions.

To accommodate the adventurer who uses the Mi Sphere Camera, the unit is water and dust proof, and can withstand being immersed in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.

The size is also an important attribute as the Mi Sphere Camera was designed for individuals who are often carrying a lot of equipment. In fact, the thinnest part of the Mi Sphere Camera is only 12mm, making it easy to transport and store as well.

With such specifications, users can focus on reaching the next peak, pushing their limits or exploring a new city knowing that their camera will capture each adventure to the fullest.

Comparison  

Life in 360, a YouTube channel focused on 360 photography, created a video comparing the 4K video effects of Mi Sphere Camera, INSTA One and Theta V — three popular consumer-level 360-degree cameras. After changing locations and light conditions with the three units, the reviewer found that Mi Sphere Camera did a great job in stitching and stabilization, and just as well as the others when it comes to the quality of 4K videos.

Below are the key specifications of the three 360-cameras portrayed in the video:

Device name Theta V INSTA 360 One Mi Sphere Camera
Image resolution 5376 x 2688 6912 x 3456 6912 x 3456
Video resolution 3840×1920@30fps 3840×1920@30fps 3456 x 1728@30fps
Size 45.2 x 130.6 x 22.9mm 96 x 36.5 x 25mm 78 x 67.40 x 12.00mm
Battery life Supports up to 40 minutes 4K video 820mAH 1600mAH
Image stabilization Not supportive Electronic image stabilization Six-axis electronic image stabilization
Water-proof Not supportive Not supportive IP67 water/dust-proof
Price $375.99 $299 $299.99

 

Mi Sphere Camera is now available for U.S consumers to purchase on Amazon, creating an opportunity for the beautiful moments in life to be captured in an entirely new way.

A Love Dream Created by Mi 6

With smartphone camera capabilities quickly matching and even surpassing those of DSLR cameras, professional photographers and consumers alike are resorting to their phones for everything from a professional headshot to the perfect Instagram picture. Recently, we held a portrait photography competition, attracting a wide variety of submissions, many shot on Mi 6 with our flagship dual-camera setup. Photographer An Shenlyu won the competition with his photography series called “A Love Dream.” We spoke with him after his win about what inspires him and his experience using Mi 6’s camera.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an independent photographer based in Shenzhen. I’m good at creating artistic portraits and I like building dreams by using photography to show my fantasies and dreams.

How did you become a photographer? How would you describe your style?

Two years ago, I began to take photos to keep a record of my life. Gradually it grew into an indispensable habit. When I get old, these photos can remind me of my past moments and emotions.

Speaking of photography style, I like emotional and touching images that can inspire me like poems and paintings can. I want my photos to mimic the colors and forms of oil paintings.

What do you think are the main reasons that your photography series, “A Love Dream,” won our competition?

Luck, I should say, because many photographers I admire also joined this competition. Another reason would be my style and attention to detail. I’ve been trying to put unrelated things together in the same scene and make them look comfortable and coordinated. To achieve this harmony, I need DIY tools and garments at the scene. For this series, I needed a cloth curtain in the middle of the water.To work out this effect, I used a wooden structure to fix the curtain. Additionally, the lanterns, oil paper umbrellas and other garments all took a lot of effort.

An Shenlyu shooting “A Love Dream”

How did you conceptualize the idea for “A Love Dream”?

My original idea for “A Love Dream” was to transform a dream scene into a reality, where a beautiful woman leans on a tree in the middle of a sea. Many people living in big cities like being close to nature, as it provides a change from their typical view of skyscrapers out the window. The photos were taken in a famous tourist destination in Dali, Yunnan, where trees grow in the vast waters. I had to wait for a sunny day to shoot the photos because sunshine defines the style, and if you take the photos on a gloomy day, it would completely change the feel and style of the photo.

Different from design, for which post-production is crucial, I think the most important part in photography is the content. Developing and executing creative ideas are crucial to me. I often watch movies, listen to music and see good exhibitions where I am inspired. Usually I first come up with a point, which then evolves into an image. Then I prepare tools and garments, contact models, check the weather forecast and pick a day for shooting.

What do you think are the key factors for portraits?

This is a rather complicated question. You need to pour your emotions into your photos, so that people can feel the resonance of emotion, even if they don’t know the person in the photo. A photo without emotion is just an ordinary photo and can’t be considered art.

Another important thing is that I love nature. When I come across a beautiful place, I imagine someone standing in the environment. I observe the natural light and figure out the best time, the best clothes, and the best tools and garments for shooting.

Tell us your feelings about Mi 6. Does it make photo shooting easier for you?

Mi 6 provided a good user experience. I appreciate the slogan “Picture Perfect Dual Camera. Its 4-axis OIS makes shooting easier. The sunlight was very strong on the day I shot “A Love Dream,” but the photos were still well exposed. In general, I like Mi 6’s color quality and its ability to capture an environment truthfully.


Can you share a few photo-taking tips with our Mi Fans?

For non-professionals, I think good photography composition is half the success of a nice photo. Photography composition is like the frame of a house. If the framework is good, the house will not look bad regardless of its decorations. The other half includes light, colors and theme, which can be improved through practice.

I often watch movies to learn from their composition and artistic practices. I also see a lot of good photography work, almost on a daily basis. After seeing enough beautiful things, your aesthetic and tastes will naturally improve.

*All the photos in this post are contributed by An Shenlyu. 

Kids Are the Future and Xiaomi Is Here to Help Motivate Them

Technology is greatly influencing the way children learn and play.

Over the decades, smart toys have grown from a niche industry to a profitable business. According to UK-based analyst firm Juniper Research, annual smart toy sales across the globe are expected to grow to $11.3 billion by 2020. Today, toy stores not only have an array of classic board games and stuffed animals but also internet-connected devices, smart racing cars and drones, smart building blocks, and even robots that teach kids how to code.

We saw an opportunity to combine education and play with our Mi Robot Builder, a building and coding robotic toy, which allows kids to develop their own codes and build different models using creative thinking. Our Mi Robot Builder, recently made available on Amazon, is one of our newest additions to the smart toy market.

The Mi Robot Builder is manufactured by one of our Mi Ecosystem companies, Aiqi, which focuses on smart hardware and robotic products. The lead designer at Aiqi graduated from California College of the Arts and he has amassed a design team that comes with decades of experience in the traditional building block toy industry.

For kids who love robotics, this toy is indeed a treat. It comes with 978 bricks made from a mechanical transmission structure to ensure effective movement and action. It can be remotely controlled by the Mi Robot Builder app via Bluetooth. By simply dragging and dropping complex command codes to the robot from the connected smartphone, kids can command the robot in three different control settings – joystick, gyroscope and route control –  and can also create their own set of instructions for the robot to follow.

The Mi Robot Builder can be compiled into different models including a robot, a dinosaur, and an airplane. Each model can reach its self-balance, thanks to an intelligent CPU processor that is developed through a series of balanced algorithms at the heart of the product, allowing the robot to always stay upright and perform perfectly coordinated actions, whether at a standstill or on the move. The robot also comes with four USB type-C ports, which provide power to the robot and support scalable components up to 3 kg in weight.

The high-power motor, in addition to a built-in photoelectric encoder, allows the robot to have accurate speed and direction. As a result, if motor stalling occurs, a protection mode is automatically triggered to prevent the motor from overstraining.

Mi Robot Builder inspires kids to be creative thinkers and builders. It is our hope that this early introduction to technology and problem-solving will allow kids to find a passion for science and technology at an early age, allowing them to realize that the power to create is within them.

【News】Xiaomi announces Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus starting at RMB 799

Available in China starting 12 December, these feature-packed smartphones bring full screen display innovations to the sub-RMB 1000 category

BEIJING, 7 December 2017 — Global technology leader Xiaomi today brought its full screen display innovations to the sub-RMB 1000 category with the release of two smartphones—Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus.

With beautifully designed 18:9 screens with rounded display corners, these two models are powered by Qualcomm’s 14nm eight-core processors. They sport large pixel (1.25μm) sensors for the main camera, front Selfie-light, as well as long-lasting batteries. Priced from RMB 999, both versions will go on sale starting 12 December.

18:9 display with rounded corners

With 5.7-inch and 5.99-inch 18:9 displays that take up almost the entire front surface, Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus provide a much larger viewing area compared with traditional 16:9 screen displays. This gives a better user experience whether users are reading news, editing spreadsheets, or playing games on a smartphone.

In addition, Redmi 5/Redmi 5 Plus have screens with rounded display corners and are designed with close attention to symmetry, delivering a stunning appearance. They also feature a four-sided curved design that gives users amazing hand-feel.

Large 1.25μm pixels and front LED Selfie-light for natural, well-exposed photos

Redmi 5/Redmi 5 Plus come with rear cameras sporting large 1.25μm-pixel sensors. The larger the pixels, the more light a sensor can capture, giving better image quality even in situations when lighting conditions are not perfect.

The front Selfie-light on Redmi 5/Redmi 5 Plus allows users to capture beautiful selfies even in low-light conditions. With an always-on mode, this also works when shooting videos. Combined with Xiaomi’s Beautify 3.0, Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus deliver flattering and natural selfies.

Long battery life and MIUI 9 enhancements

Battery life is one of the most important features on the Redmi series, and Redmi 5/Redmi 5 Plus continue this tradition with a built-in 3300/4000 mAh battery. The power-efficient 14nm Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets, coupled with enhancements in MIUI 9, give Redmi 5 Plus a standby time of up to 17 days.

Flagship-level testing standards

Xiaomi’s Redmi series is widely recognized for high quality, a result of various factors including the use of best-in-class suppliers, and extremely stringent reliability tests comparable to those used for flagship devices.

One example of Xiaomi’s dedication to introducing the highest quality features on all its devices is a design tailored to buffer the impact of any fall in the new Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus smartphones. With a reinforced structure, the likelihood of a broken screen is reduced in cases when a user drops the smartphone, landing corner first.  Furthermore, enhancements to the earpiece, including an additional waterproof layer, help protect Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus from sweat and dust, reducing the likelihood of the call volume dropping over time.

Redmi 5 (2GB+16 GB) and Redmi 5 (3GB+32GB) will be available for RMB 799 and RMB 899 respectively. Redmi 5 Plus (3GB+32GB) will retail for RMB 999, and Redmi 5 Plus (4GB+64GB) for RMB 1299. They will be available in China on Mi.com, Mi Home stores, as well as Xiaomi’s flagship online stores on Tmall and JD.com starting 12 December.