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This user is not happy with Xiaomi|
That might be a little extreme, but I can understand the frustration. A month or so ago, my wife’s phone was stolen. I knew Xiaomi phones were going to go on sale on the 18th, so she decided to wait until then to buy a new phone. My phone is also quite old, so we figured we’d both give Xiaomi a try and make it our Christmas present to each other. On Saturday, we were out of town doing some work, but when we arrived home just after 4 A.M. Sunday morning, instead of immediately going to bed, I hopped on the computer to order our new phones (what can I say, I was pretty excited about it). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that barely four hours after the “open sale” had started, it was already over, that “doesn’t lack stock” apparently meant just 100,000 units, and that there was no word on when the next sale would be!
100,000 units might seem like a lot, but this phone sold 300,000 units in less than two days back in September, and the buzz around it has grown substantially since then. Xiaomi’s management team is extremely experienced, and there’s no way they thought 100,000 units was going to meet the demand, or even come close. The question, therefore, is why Xiaomi advertised so publicly that it “didn’t lack stock.” Why make that the main selling point of your advertising campaign if your stock is actually so lacking that you sell out in less than five hours?
The cynical answer would be that Xiaomi is just trying to build hype and mystique by keeping the phones rare. At the same time, by advertising that they weren’t rare, Xiaomi attracted tons of interested buyers, which gave rise to the current situation: hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of people likely tried to buy the Xiaomi phone but couldn’t, and now they’re telling their friends and coworkers about how quickly the things sold out. It’s a word-of-mouth campaign built on the frustration of Xiaomi fans. I’m sure it’s good for business, but it does seem like a pretty rotten Christmas present for the company to give its fans.
We reached out to Xiaomi for comment on this story early Sunday morning, but have yet to hear back.