Chinese technology conglomerate Xiaomi has continued its trend of copying American tech companies by releasing its Mi Band. Known for blatantly infringing upon Apple’s (AAPL) intellectual property, the Xiaomi Mi Band is a fitness tracker designed to compete with the Apple Watch, Fitbit bracelets, and Jawbone bands.
The Mi Band costs $17 and has many fitness features similar to the Apple Watch and Fitbit Charge. The Mi Band can track the number of steps users take in a day and contains Bluetooth connectivity to alert users about their progress. It also has an associated app that allows users to monitor their progress; the app is available on both Android and (surprisingly) iOS devices.
However, the Mi Band isn’t the end of the line for Xiaomi. Quite the opposite actually, the Mi Band is just the beginning. In addition to its fitness band, Xiaomi has been reportedly developing a smartwatch to directly compete with the Apple Watch. Reports indicate that it will have many of the same features as the Apple Watch, but again will be dirt-cheap.
Xiaomi also released its Note Pro, an almost identical version of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus that even shares the same dimensions. Its cost is less than half the price of Apple's iPhone 6 lineup. Everything Xiaomi "creates," down to even its invitations and notifications, are reminiscent of Apple. As such, Xiaomi has developed a loyal fan base that has customers lining up around street corners every time it launches a new product, which, come to think of it, also reflects Apple's retail strategy.
In case you were wondering why Xiaomi is able to get away with blatantly copying Apple's products, it's because Chinese officials selectively enforce antitrust and intellectual property laws. As a result, Xiaomi is valued at about $45 billion. Even so, don't expect Xiaomi products to flood Western countries any time soon, as they do enforce international trade laws. Not surprisingly, Xiaomi notes it has no intention of launching its products in the Western Hemisphere any time soon, which nobody is complaining about.