On the morning of November 19, in the heart of Beijing’s Central Business District, Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, was greeting guests at the company’s annual developer conference. The charismatic entrepreneur promptly flew in from Shanghai where just a day before he was ringing the bell at the Shanghai IPO of Kingsoft Office, subsidiary of Kingsoft Corporation, a company where he started his exemplary tech career and which he now oversees as a chairman.
Lei talked briefly about Xiaomi’s recent achievements including the release of the first surround screen smartphone Mi Mix Alpha, and the company’s plans to launch over 10 new 5G-equipped handsets in 2020. However, the focus of the event was not on hardware, but rather on the company’s vision for the future of AIoT.
Xiaomi currently operates a world-leading AIoT platform that spans numerous devices. The company prides itself on developing a full smart home ecosystem. As of June 30, 2019, Xiaomi sold 196 million connected devices, up 69.5% year on year, while the number of users with 5 or more Xiaomi IoT platform devices reached 3 million, up 78.7% year on year.
“5G + AI + IOT is the next generation of super Internet,” said Lei Jun in his speech, emphasizing that 5G will essentially take AIoT to the next level. The next-generation wireless networking technology is set to empower a host of groundbreaking technologies, especially in China, a country that, in the words of Xiaomi’s leadership, has unique advantages including abundant data, talent, hardware, 5G savvy and more.
Cui Baoqiu, vice president of Xiaomi Group and the chairman of the group technical committee, introduced several cutting-edge technologies developed by the company, including the deep learning framework MACE, and the natural language processing platform MiNLP. These advances have already been integrated into Xiaomi’s smart devices.
When asked about Xiaomi’s approach to data protection and user privacy, Cui, who also serves as chairman of the company’s security and privacy committee, said: “In the past, Xiaomi could not compare to some Internet giants in terms of security, because our security team was relatively small. Until now, security teams of some Chinese Internet giants remain very small. But we have done a very good job in IoT and AIoT security. We have been holding an IoT Security Summit for several years now, which shows Xiaomi’s strong investment in information security and IoT security.”
The Vice President also added,“Xiaomi is a 2C company. Many of our devices, products and Internet services are 2C, for individuals, for consumers. If we don’t respect the privacy of users, protect the information and the big data, users will leave us, so we will always adhere to the highest standards of privacy protection.”