Chinese sometimes refer to Lei Jun as the “Steve Jobs of China,” because of his dynamic personal leadership style and, perhaps oddly, his fashion sense. But like Apple, Xiaomi has a cult fan following and intense brand loyalty in China.
Lei Jun celebrated his birthday on Dec. 16. He turned 46.
Lei Jun and De Liu created Xiaomi in April 2010, but in just five years their little startup has transformed into a $46 billion smartphone and electronics appliance juggernaut.
Xiaomi is vying for supremacy in its home turf with compatriots Huawei and Lenovo, not to mention global super players Samsung Electronics and Apple. In China it is the second largest smartphone maker after Huawei and, on the world stage, it is ranked No. 5 after Samsung and Apple, and then Huawei and Lenovo, depending on how you parse market share.
Chinese sometimes refer to Lei Jun as the “Steve Jobs of China,” because of his dynamic personal leadership style and, perhaps oddly, his fashion sense. But like Apple, Xiaomi has a cult fan following and intense brand loyalty in China. Here are 9 fun facts about one of China’s tech super-heroes:
- Jun founded his first business in 2000, Joyo.com, an online bookstore, which he sold to Amazon.com for over $75 million in 2004. He’s got the Midas touch!
- Jun graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Wuhan University in 1987. But Steve Jobs never graduated from college.
- Before Xiaomi, he was CEO of King Soft, now China’s largest office suite developer, for 10 years. He is still chair of King Soft. Busy bee!
- While China is not well known for customer service, it is said that Jun took it so seriously that he studied Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao and famed US retailer Wal-mart.
- Since Xiaomi is reknown for its savvy marketing, it is no wonder that Jun is said to believe social networking, mobile and e-commerse are the future. That sounds like Steve Jobs, too!
- Jun famously accepted investor Yuri Milner’s ALS ice bucket challenge. But Jun then one upped Milner by calling out Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gau and Baidu founder Robin Li. What a nice guy!
- Jun could very well be one of the most prolific angel investors in China. He has invested in over 20 startups, including Yu Jin Hui’s cosmetic venture group. Cunning business smarts.
- Big shot Jun is ranked at No. 4 on China’s Rich People’s list and No. 16 on a list of the richest people in tech, according to a Forbes ranking of Chinese business notables.
- Jun has been valued at a personal net worth of over $13 billion. That’s a lot.
- Brainy Lei Jun’s childhood hobby was building home radios. What a nerd!