Xiaomi might be known for its aggressively priced smartphones but the world’s largest “startup” is increasingly getting into the connected devices and Internet of Things space. Its Rs 999 Mi Band fitness tracker has been highly successful, with Xiaomi selling over a million bands in just three months. Xiaomi’s Mi Power Bank is another product, batches of which gets sold out within hours of them going on sale. But few know that Xiaomi doesn’t make these devices, unlike its smartphones. Instead Xiaomi ties up with other Chinese startups that at times sell them under the Mi brand and rarely under their own brand name in association with Xiaomi.
It is a win-win situation for both Xiaomi and other startups. Xiaomi gets interesting products, which are not its core focus at the moment. Meanwhile, the startups get Xiaomi’s global brand presence, its online store and distribution, as well as enables them to scale up quickly and raise new funding. For instance, earlier this week Xiaomi opened the doors to its US and Europe store and all of the products sold on the store were third-party products.
Here are some of the relatively unknown companies that make some of Xiaomi’s best selling products.
Huami – Mi Band, Mi Smart Scale, Yi Cam
We love the Mi Band. You can just strap it on your wrist and forget about it, the Mi Band would automatically track your activity and sleep without you having to do anything. Priced at Rs 999, it is ridiculously cheap and you don’t have to remove it while going to the shower either! But guess what, it isn’t made by Xiaomi.
The Mi Band is a product from another Beijing based startup, Huami, which was founded in January 2013. Xiaomi had invested in the startup in its initial round.
The same company is behind the Yi Cam ($64) and the Mi Smart Scale ($15). The company last raised $35 million in its Series B round last December at a valuation of $300 million. Xiaomi did not participate in that round, which included Banyan Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Morningside Capital.
ZMI – Mi Power Bank
There are power banks and then there is the Mi Power Bank. Xiaomi turned the accessory industry on its head by launching its 5,200mAh and 10,400mAh power banks, both priced below Rs 1,000. The Mi Power Bank weren’t just good value for money but also extremely well designed. They turned out to be so popular that an entire ecosystem of fake Mi Power Banks spawned, probably a first for a Chinese product.
As you may have guessed, the Mi Power Bank was also not made by Xiaomi. Its maker is a little known company called ZMI. It was founded in Wuxi in 2012 and seems to have raised some angel investment.
1More – Mi In-ear Headphones (Piston Design)
For its audio products, Xiaomi turned to 1More, a startup founded by ex-Foxconn GGV Capital invested an undisclosed amount in the company in its Series B funding.executives who started the company to launch quality audio products at affordable prices. The Shenzhen-based company has already won a few IF Design awards.
Yeelink – Mi Yeelight
Xiaomi had announced four connected devices last year, one of them being a smart bulb, which could be controlled with an app. Called Yeelight, it was put up for beta testing.
The Yeelight, again, is not a Xiaomi product. It was started by a startup that participated in the HAX Accelerator. The company has also put up the Yeelight on a dedicated website and apart from Xiaomi, has Misfit as a partner.