The Xiaomi phone – a dual-core, 1.5GHz Android-powered smartphone that launched last month – has got off to the best possible start by filling all its 300,000 pre-orders in just 34 hours. The phone doesn’t actually ship until October.
Chinese netizens scrambled to place free orders at the Xiaomi product page – which has now stopped taking reservations – at the rate of nearly 10,000 per hour, before the first batch of phones got booked up at about midnight last night.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun – who was in hot water last week for suggesting that he, and many others, were waiting for Steve Jobs to pass away so as to fill his sneakers – told Chinese tech site DoNews this morning about the success.
Of course there’s a big difference between free bookings and actual sales – not all keen customers will be so hot on China’s most powerful home-made smartphone when they see the upcoming iPhone 5, which rumors suggest is due later this month. Plus, as Jerry Seinfeld once berated a car rental company, there’s a chance that Xiaomi – in its first ever hardware venture – won’t be able to honor all its reservations if its supply chain is not well implemented.
In the DoNews interview, Mr Lei concedes that some people will fail to take up their booking, and that they’ll put into place a virtual queue that gives the chance for new reservations to replace the failed ones. He also admits that it’s “at the latest December [when] we can guarantee supply” – meaning that those who missed the pre-order boat might still have a long time to wait.