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The History of Xiaomi’s Sub-brands – MIJIA, Huami, VIOMI, Zhimi & ZMI

Xiaomi, a consumer electronics company, founded in April 2010, more than six years ago is seating on the top of the world. Still, a young startup compared to the brands it is competing with, the Beijing Headquartered company that started with MIUI, their customized software interface based on Android has come a long way since it’s initial days. The privately held company which is awarded title of being world’s 4th largest smartphone maker excels in design development and selling, not a just smartphone but have a presence in various categories such as wearables, IoT (Internet of Things), Laptops, mobile apps and many related consumer devices.

After venturing into consumer hardware in August 2011 with their first smartphone, starting that the brand got involved in design & development of various kinds of hardware products such as consumers products. At the end of the December 2014, the company was announced as the world’s most valuable technology start-up. It was the same year when the company expanded into new markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and India.

Today we are rather taking a different perspective of talking about Xiaomi’s achievements; we are going to make you aware about company’s (potentially called) sub-brands and partnerships where they have invested in a number of young firms. With company’s aim to expand in almost every category and go big with their Mi Ecosystem (which was in the making since years, but announced recently only) the brand alone won’t be able to accomplish that. Xiaomi not being your usual chap, like big brands it took a different route to achieve what it has achieved today – the total availability of being present in almost all categories.

On top of that, it can be stated that the brand has created new categories as well. Which is why the company decided to get started on investment, which rapidly increased in 2014. The year that saw the foundation of Huami, Xiaomi’s exclusive wearables manufacturer, some might even call Huami the Wearables arm of Xiaomi, but that’s not precisely the case. They are just one of investors in the company with some advantages such as exclusively providing design and development hand to Xiaomi for products such as Mi Band, Li-Ning Smart Shoes, and Mi Smart Scale. Below you can find out the detailed description of the Xiaomi’s (so-called) sub-brands which they have partnered up within one or other sense. But first let us explain you about Mi Ecosystem.

What is Xiaomi Mi Ecosystem?

Not to surprised by the numbers, but up until March this year, Xiaomi had stakes in about 55 companies, which directly or indirectly involved in Xiaomi’s Smart Home products. It all started several years ago and geared up in 2014 as you read above. With an aim to collaborate all of its investments under one roof, Xiaomi has created a singular brand called Mi Ecosystem. Under this ecosystem, there is multitude of sub-brands that comply with Xiaomi’s standards of designing and developing a product. So, now onwards, if you hear any Internet of Things product from Xiaomi it would come under Mi Ecosystem brand and would be developed by any of the sub-brands. It is an attempt from company to streamline their smart home line of products away from its core product, which comprises smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.

MIJIA

In March this year, the company along with their new smartphone announced that they are launching an all new “Mi Ecosystem”, under which all their Internet of Things products, i.e. smart connected gadgets would come. Xiaomi then reported that MIJIA Smart Rice Cooker is their first product announced in this all new Mi Ecosystem. Rice Cookers are crucial kitchen appliances and Xiaomi CEO Lei Unwanted to create a Chinese-made rice cooker which could go up against the big Japanese names like Toshiba and Tiger. Which is why Xiaomi developed a connected rice cooker that uses pressure and induction heating to cook rice at much affordable pricing at 999 Yuan (Approx. $150).

Talking briefly about the Rice Cooker, the smart connected kitchen appliance from Xiaomi’s sub-brand, MIJIA, offers pleasantly minimalist design that certainly adds to its appeal. It uses pressure cooking technology as well as comes with a gray cast-iron inner pot which is said to help cook rice evenly. Interestingly, users can scan the barcode on their rice bags, which will help device cook the best rice according to the brand, type, and origin. During the launch time, the app was stated to identify 200 brands of rice, which is ever-expanding for future needs.

While Xiaomi did quote that it’s Smart Rice Cooker is the first product for Mi Ecosystem, which is manufactured by MIJIA. But factually, MIJIA has more products in store than one could ever imagine. This sub-brand has been active in various other fields such as empowering penmanship with their elegant Mi Pen. You’d be surprised to know that there is nothing smart about this refillable pen launched by MIJIA a few months back.

Xiaomi might have said that MIJIA would be their sub-brand for all things smart home products, but this seems to be the exception. Talking briefly about the pen, it uses Swiss PREMEC Refills with quick drying Japanese Mikuni ink that doesn’t fade easily or break. Even if you doesn’t use the pen for a long duration, the ink doesn’t dry, which is the case with most pens, even the premium ones. The Mi Pen comes in White and Black color options and sports a diameter of 9.5mm which ensures to offer comfortable grip as one writes with it. It also features a 120-degree spin that hides pen’s 0.5mm high-precision tungsten ball tip. Xiaomi is known for taking great care in manufacturing their products; such is the case with Mi Pen, Mijia which is doing the work here has taken great care of the pen parts. The connectors are made out of metal, and the rotating member is said to be made of copper that offers a life span of 50,000 rotations. It’s a nice elegant piece of technology, but there’s nothing fancy about it regarding the smart connected product.

That’s not it, MIJIA also has announced a Smart Camera that can rotate 360 degrees, it offers cute little look as well. This MIJIA Smart Camera is static, but the head of the camera can rotate 360 degree, which is why it provides any view you want to check out. The smart camera can be controlled via Mi Smart Home App. The materials used to make the body is SABIC plastic that is touted to be quite lighter than usual. It means the gadget is easy to carry around and could easily stand on the even light corner. The specifications include 1080p HD recording; it has an aperture of f/1.8 that means it would be good for a low light recording. The company touts LDC lens, which is an acronym for Lens Distortion Correction. What it does is that LDC removes fish eye effect and that helps a lot in distinguishing between objects in the image. The camera comes with Ambarella S2LM chip; it supports OV HD sensor as well as magic zoom up to 4x. It is said that chip is quite powerful and the images captured are more colorful and looks real. Interestingly, the MIJIA is equipped with voice assistance as well, which is one of it’s kind as it’s not been seen on a smart camera before. The user could look at the camera and ask some limited queries like temperature in your city or even a math problem.

VIOMI

Mi Ecosystem products aren’t limited to the MIJIA products; there are other sub-brands that company uses to market their Mi Smart home products. And VIOMI is one of those sub-brands. This brand has only one product which went on crowdfunding listing at home.Mi.com, i.e. Xiaomi’s Smart Home products store. VIOMI Filter Kettle L1 was announced sometime in August this year, it went on to successfully complete the crowdfunding and went on sale following month. This smart Kettle launched by Xiaomi is another one of their elegant and innovative products the offers great features. This Kettle is not like most of the ones in the market because it also filters the water. It is all said to remove bacteria, residual chlorine as well as reduce the scale and heavy metals from the water.

It has a capacity of 1.5 Litre and weighs 1.5 Kg. It has a UV potent bactericidal sterilization rate of 99.99% and specially designed UV disinfection function. It destroys bacteria in water, killing bacteria without side effect. The sterilization takes two mins, and the rate is 99.9996, the disinfectant doesn’t require replacement up to 30 million times. The filter that you see has seven layers that reduce chlorine, scale, and metals. Regarding the design, it has a 360 inlet passage innovative design that claims to make full use of every single filter. It has a dual outlet design, which is said to reduce waiting time. It uses imported food grade material, German transparent AS solution chemical and Korean ABS material. The Smart Kettle has a low power Germicidal UV Rechargeable Lamp. It takes only just 40 minutes to charge the UV lamp.

Zhimi

Zhimi Technology, is a maker of Xiaomi’s Mi Purifier range that includes three models, first and second generation, the significant difference between them is that new iteration comes with larger Sq. Ft. Coverage and offers Real-time AQI monitoring. Both the models are made in partnership with Zhimi Technology. While the third model that we are talking about is called Mi Air Purifier Pro, it comes with a new OLED display that accurately showcases real-time air quality and work status. You’ll see several other things such as temperature, precipitation, Wi-Fi connectivity and night mode functionality. Display screen edge shows eh current air level at a glance, it showcases three colors – Green, Orange & Red, depending upon the PM2.5 concentrations. The Mi Purifiers can be controlled via Mi Smart Home app. The first Air Purifier by Xiaomi was released in December 2014 in Beijing.

Before partnering up for the Mi Purifier with Zhimi Technology, Xiaomi introduced a DC inverter Smart Fan. The fan’s power is 36W, it houses a 2800 mAh lithium battery and weighs 3.74Kg. This smart fan is claimed to generate less than 54db, which is quieter than the decibels you hear during a normal conversation. Interestingly, it can be connected wirelessly through 2.4 GHz channel. The company touts some features such as it offers natural wind, works silently, easily movable and smartly controlled. Coming to the specifications, it carries a bloc motor, which is said to offer a support of 100 gears for different speed. The natural wind that was touted is created through an algorithm. The fan design adopts wind facet, which makes the fan housing add more linear flow. Zhimi Smart Fan is remotely controlled by a smartphone, you can do various things such as adjust the tilting angle, turn ON countdown to switch OFF or ON the fan, and custom user settings can be implemented. The battery can work for 16 hours continuously without any interruption. Do make a note that if the fan is running at 1st gear without no tilt, then 1w electricity is enough to give 500 hours of ON time.

Huami

Initially Huami Technology had a presence in China in three different places Hefei, Shenzhen and Beijing, which is where company headquarter is. Interestingly, the brand expanded recently to West and now sold their own branded Amazfit wearables. Huami is known as an exclusive design and manufacturing partner to Xiaomi’s wearable division. You might be aware of the Mi Band, which has two iterations in the form of Mi Band 1s and Mi Band 2. The popular, affordable fitness band that Xiaomi brands as its own are actually produced by Huami. The company has received several design awards for their impressive work in wearables. Xiaomi has invested in the company and got in agreement with the company to get wearables expertise from the team at Huami Technology. According to the IDC (International Data Corporation) report, the company has sold more than 25 million Mi Bands as stated in the Q2 2016 report. The company was founded in 2014 with base in China, and now it has officially landed in West, i.e. the United States this year. Within the just span of two years, this brand has grown into a big player.

ZMI

ZMI Technology is an electronics accessories manufacturer; the company supplies Power Bank under Mi Branding to Xiaomi. Currently the brand offers four Mi Power Banks that ranges from 5200, 10400, 1600 and 20000 mAh capacity. If you’re aware of the Mi Power Banks, then you would know that they are quite popular in the regions it’s officially available. Interestingly, ZMI sells power banks by their own branding on Xiaomi’s official e-commerce store. And they are priced similarly to the Mi Power Banks. We saw only 5000 & 10000 mAh capacity variant which is available in three colors White, Red and Gold. It is being touted as an ultra-thin lithium polymer power supply. Notably it uses Texas Instruments chip and seventh master protection circuit, which has a conversion rate of 93% and is considered impressive. What’s more is that ZMI has couple other things on sale on Xiaomi’s E-Commerce store one of those interesting items includes a Power bank with modem functionality. You can head over to store to check for yourself.

Note: We will update this story as we get more information on Xiaomi’s sub-brands. As well as you will an update whenever any of these brands launches a new product. Bookmark this link for your convenience to directly find if there is any update.

By Vishal Toshiwal on Thursday 8th of Dec 2016


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