Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi recently released an infographic covering some data points for MIUI, the company’s Android skin and ecosystem that comes pre-installed on all of its handsets.
While the infographic is a bit soft and isn’t as thorough as we would hope, we’ve translated it into English because it still carries some insight.
For one thing, MIUI users aren’t located just in China, but are scattered over 58 countries, as the MIUI is available for download as a ROM on lots of compatible Android devices. Of course, it’s likely that an overwhelming majority of MIUI’s total user-base is indeed Chinese, and the overseas users are probably Android geeks who like fiddling with ROMs. On the back of the envelope, If we recall that Xiaomi sold about 7 million phones in 2012 and 18 million phones in 2013, that means roughly 5 million of its MIUI users, or one-sixth of the total, have the ROM installed on a non-Xiaomi phone.
Second, Xiaomi has included some data regarding its messaging app, Miliao, though the report simply refers to the app as “MIUI free internet messaging” (usually, the app is referred to as “Miliao free internet messaging” when translated literally from Chinese to English). The average MIUI user sends just 1.8 messages daily on the service – that’s not much at all! In the past, Xiaomi’s Miliao messenger had been interpreted as a bit of a failed experiment, and the company has since tried to rebrand it as more of a social community app.
There’s also a cool regional breakdown of the company’s user-base in Greater China.
But the real significance of this infographic is what’s missing from it. In addition to selling unbeatably-priced phones and complementary accessories, Xiaomi is an “internet services” company. According to Xiaomi, its MIUI Android ecosystem generates over $4.9 million in monthly revenue from features like theme upgrades and purchases from the company’s app store.
Of the $4.9 million in monthly revenue, how much of that comes from e-book purchases? How much of it comes from app purchases? How many paid themes will users install on their phones? How does its game center differ from other game centers?
The absence of this information doesn’t imply that Xiaomi’s business model is weak. Instead, it merely highlights that Xiaomi could be doing a much better job pointing out the alleged advantages of MIUI to prospective non-geek users – especially since it appears to be making pretty good money! Though perfect points of comparison are lacking, one report suggests Xiaomi’s MIUI revenues might already be close to those of other app stores. Last April Distimo compared monthly revenues from Google Play and Amazon’s app store, and found that Google Play brought in $5.2 million in monthly revenue from downloads of the Top 200 apps, while Amazon’s app store brought in about $3.05 million of the Top 200 apps.
With Xiaomi’s forthcoming move into Southeast Asia, this infographic could look quite different next year. It’s possible that in addition to hitting new markets, Xiaomi might ramp up its efforts to make MIUI more than just an Anrdroid skin with some apps and services tacked on, as it seeks to make the ROM’s revenues even bigger.
[Editor's note: We've chosen to remove a portion of the infographic Tech in Asia received due to lack of clarity in the data]
(Editing by Steven Millward and Terence Lee)
(Image via Facebook)
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