Learn more about the origins of the Asian tech brand name.
3 min read
Xiaomi was originally supposed to be Dami or Big Rice, but its founder Jun Lei wanted the company to have more modest values and changed the name to Xiaomi or “Little Rice,” said Alvin Tse, director of Poco and Xiaomi Indonesia. .
During the company’s 10th anniversary celebration, Jum Lei gave a speech in which he stated that Samsung, Nokia and Motorola, three foreign companies, dominated the Chinese wireless market a decade ago with good products at exorbitant prices. Lei’s idea was to make phones just as good at half the price.
“Motorola had the best hardware business, Microsoft had the best software, and Google had the best internet services. “”[Pensé] What if we could bring together the best talent from these three companies? [abriríamos nuestro camino hacia el éxito]Said the founder of Xiaomi in his speech.
Lei first convinced Bin Lin, then Vice President of the Google China Engineering Institute and henceforth Xiaomi’s second largest employee. At Motorola, he signed Guangping Zhou, who led the development of the MING phone series, which is very popular in Hong Kong. He moved from Microsoft to Kong-Kat Wong, who now heads the Mi Wi-Fi and Mi Cloud teams.
When Lei tried to recruit Feng Hong, a young Google engineer who now heads the entire MIUI systems division, Hong asked him three questions:
“Have you ever made smartphones?”
“Do you know Wang Jianzhou, President of China Mobile?”
-No, I do not know.
“Do you know Terry Gou, the founder of Foxconn?”
“I know him, but I’m not sure he can say the same about me.”
Xiaomi founding team. Photo: Xiaomi
Despite all odds, Hong accepted the proposal and joined the team. At this point the 13 partners gathered around a rice cooker and shared a plate of millet porridge or similar xiǎomǐ (小米), a fine-grained grain that China has been growing for six millennia, especially in the poorest and driest regions in the north of the country.
The Chinese character 米 (mǐ) means “rice”, as does 米饭 (mĭfàn), that’s the word Xiaomi refers to its fans. For his part, xiǎomǐ means millet because 小 (xiǎor) means “small” in contrast to 大 (gives) that’s big “, so Xiaomi (小米) should be called Dami (大米).
Lei refers the name Xiaomi (“small rice”) to a Buddhist expression that means that “a single grain of rice from a Buddhist is the size of a mountain”. Millet also has historical significance for China and is related to the revolutionary expression “millet and rifle” used by the Chinese Communist Party during the Second Sino-Japanese War.