Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra talks Apple copycat ‘melodrama,’ more in Bloomberg interview [Video]

Xiaomi's Hugo Barra Responds to Apple Copycat 'Melodrama' - YouTube 2015-07-16 14-05-37

As smartphones grow in popularity in emerging markets, Hugo Barra has very publicly spoken for Xiaomi, the Chinese-based technology company that he left Google to join as Vice President of International in September 2013. Today, he sat down with Bloomberg to talk about many topcis, including accusations that the Chinese company has stolen Apple’s design, Android as one of the best decisions Google ever made, and Xiaomi’s eventual plan to bring its devices stateside…

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“So this whole copycat melodrama all boils down to one chamfered edge on one particular phone model which was Mi 4, which people said looked like the iPhone 5,” Barra said in reference to Jony Ive’s comments that Xiaomi had stolen his and Apple’s design. “And I’ve been the first one to admit it: Yes it does look like the iPhone 5, and that chamfered edge by the way is present in so many other devices.”

He feels that the criticism the company has received has largely been the result of a projected bias against Chinese companies. “People just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high quality products, and by the way sell them at half the price of a high-end Apple or Samsung device.”

In addition to talking about copycat accusations, Barra also spent time to talk about Google’s Android operating system, how making it open was one of the best decisions they could have ever made, and that it doesn’t make sense for phone manufacturers to build their own OS. Barra also reiterated previous stances that the company would eventually be making its smartphones available in the United States. That won’t happen for a year at least, he says, and it’s going to require “a lot of work.”

Be sure to watch the full videos below:

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  1. Have you seen their website? Even that is a total copycat. That guy in the interview is a total ignorant. Whole xiaomi is a shame!

    • irelandjnr - 8 years ago

      He’s not ignorant. He knows they’re copying Apple—he’s just not admitting to it.

    • therackett - 8 years ago

      Mi4 is an iPhone 5 knockoff…they did it first, then you copied. Mi4i is an iPhone 5C, and Mi4 Note is a Moto X knockoff. The reason these design decisions are obvious…or “are how they are”…is because Apple built that road for you (the silhouette, the glass, the rounded corners, the camera location that didn’t put a big dumb lens in the middle of your phone back so your fingers are all over it all of the time. None of it was “how it is”, but then Apple did it, and popularized it…and then Xiaomi built a business around all of these things that weren’t obvious, until somebody else made it obvious. The fact that Xiaomi can’t claim creation and chalks it up to some sort of divine absolute, while also failing to provide an alternative to Apple’s design logic is in itself admission. Dude is selling copycat schlock. Period. At least they’re knocking off others as well now. The joke in China is that R+D stands for Receive + Duplicate. They aren’t bashful about it. Hugo is just a westernized talking head to help make the entry to the American market a little less obnoxious.

      • silverhawk1 - 8 years ago

        Hopefully Apple hires new lawyers and meets the Xiaomi ship when it hits the 12 mile limit.

    • Jasper Yeung - 8 years ago

      he was like : y so serious about it , everyone copies ur design , and because all smartphone kinda use in the same way , i think we have the right to use apple’s design. i think this is what he means.

  2. ziongpham - 8 years ago

    What a complete bullshit.

    • crichton007 - 8 years ago

      Just one?

      • charismatron - 8 years ago

        I dare say it’s complete bullshits! At least two!

  3. incredibilistic - 8 years ago

    No, it’s not “just” the chamfered edge, it’s also the CEO of Xiamoi dressed in a black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers like Steve Jobs and using the tagline “One More Thing…” during presentations. It’s also the website and the product shots and the software that makes Xiamoi an unapologetic copy-cat.

  4. he doesn’t even believe what he said himself, yet he had to say that.

  5. I love how he tries to spin the copycat claim into some sort of racial issue… “The problem isn’t that Xiaomi is copying Apple, the problem is America’s intolerance to Chinese innovators”.

    He has to know that he sounds like a complete idiot.

  6. Eric Lee - 8 years ago

    sure when Chinese government gives billions to Xiaomi so they could sell at cost, no wonder the sale is so great. Xiaomi basically just like Google, they keep every activities from users like messages, email, and all data, so they could sell ads and when Government asks for any information about someone. Xiaomi can directly send all information right away. They route messages from Taiwan and HongKong Xiaomi users all the way to server in Beijing without anyone knowing until reporter discovered. Then backlash, Xiaomi rerouted to server in HongKong again. Again it’s basically more “Google of China” not “Apple of China”.

  7. therackett - 8 years ago

    Don’t forget. Xiomi thinks they’ll outsell Apple in a decade or so…

    • Apaches911 - 8 years ago

      They said the same thing about cars 10 years ago. Just a pity Chinese cars at the time may as well have been made of aluminium foil when it came to crumple zone and a-pillar design. It might be 20 years. Don’t underestimate China.
      Luckily for us I doubt Apple underestimate anyone

  8. joe smith (@joe815smith) - 8 years ago

    If they do enter the U.S. market, it will be interesting if they can beat Apple to market with one of their knockoffs. iPhone leaks start in early July and I could see Xiaomi taking that knowledge and fasttracking a new phone and announce/release it in the U.S. before Apple announces that new iPhone.

    • 89p13 - 8 years ago

      Sounds suspiciously like a certain Korean company that’s just as full of shit about their “Innovative Products” and keeps losing lawsuits to Apple over these very claims.

      Samsung anyone.

      Who will be first to market — the Chinese or Korean Copycats? Won’t matter as Apple is still the leader in the design and implementation of these types of products.


    • nekomichikun - 8 years ago

      You should see GooPhone – They did exactly that with the iPhone 5 leaks, making a knockoff based on leaks and copyrighting it just weeks before the official Apple announcement. They even went as far as threatening to sue Apple for “copying their design” if the iPhone 5 was ever launched in China.

  9. dam1999sam - 8 years ago

    Has China ever exported even one original idea?

  10. scumbolt2014 - 8 years ago

    Xiaomi. The artists of the tech world, of the bullshit variety.

  11. 89p13 - 8 years ago

    “The problem isn’t that Xiaomi is copying Apple, the problem is America’s intolerance to Chinese innovators”.

    NOTHING Xizomi hsa shown in this series is in any way, shape or form – Innovative! Having said that – show me some innovation – LOSER!

    So much for function over form.

  12. Dave Huntley - 8 years ago

    Obviously Barra is a sell out as Xi pays him… And he did work for a company who had an exec on the board of Apple listening all the time the iPhone was in development.

    They do copy Apple, some ads even match the font and such. Samsung does, Google does. No doubt. But remember Korea and Japan are still at the copy cat stage of development, Korean cars steal styling cues, look at Lotte World and tell me what that’s a rip of, but the quality is not really there, Xi will flood the market like Samsung, they are not a niche player in quality, they are after bargain basement sales, which is volume only. America horrified Europe in the Victorian times, many ideas were stolen by America as patent laws were hardly existant. Franklin was well reviled in Europe as a thief, Edison too.

  13. Mike Reynolds - 8 years ago

    They even changed the stock Android icons to look like iPhones

  14. If you look at their website, under the Mi 4 phone, the picture of the calender app totally looks like Apple’s calender app… But I guess everything about Xiaomi looks like Apple stuff.

  15. charismatron - 8 years ago

    Everyone here has made great points.

    The whole is not dissimilar to fake, late-night ‘talk show’ long-form advertisements. For example, the gal doing the interview pitched softball questions without following up *any* of the BS he’s shovelling her way.

    My question is whether or not this whole thing is reporting or simply a super-cheesy paid advertisement?

  16. dvinder42 - 8 years ago

    imagine that. a chinese company copying. sadly it’s part of their national fabric.

  17. kpom1 - 8 years ago

    Sadly, when even “respectable” companies like Lenovo blatantly rip off Apple’s design and even ad campaigns, how can you blame Xiaomi?

  18. macxpress - 8 years ago

    If they come to the US, I think the only company it hurts is Samsung. Samsung themselves already proved for the most part that Americans don’t want cheap knock-off’s running Android. It worked at first, but then Apple quickly caught up and today they’re right on par with Samsung when it comes to high-end smartphone sales, if not above. Samsung should be the company that’s worried about Xiaomi coming to the US, not necessarily Apple.

  19. Nothing that Samsung doesn’t do in a higher level.

  20. joshua (@mashdots) - 8 years ago

    You know it’s bad when even the Cult of Android website says they’re copying Apple. http://www.cultofandroid.com/66569/xiaomi-dont-copy-apple/

  21. nekomichikun - 8 years ago


  22. Sajid (@goingbananas78) - 8 years ago

    Not to mention this year Xiaomi even copied Apple’s invitation graphic…


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