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BOOK REVIEW: Little Rice
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Little Rice
Smartphones, Xiaomi and the Chinese Dream
By Clay Shirky

BT 201809 BOOK REVIEW V1 Little Rice小米手机已经征服了中国的智能手机用户,其发展势头甚至超过苹果和三星。在这本书中,著名科技作家Shirky为我们讲解了小米如何借助低价高性能的市场需求,一步步走向成功。有趣的是,这本书记录了小米的创业起点,也记录了小米如何克服不完备的市场政策和信息技术基础设施的艰难历程。这是一本轻松的读物,作者以真实、简明的笔触,向我们展示了中国经济的崛起,以及与其相随的他制与自制之间的拉锯战。不难理解,小米一直努力证明自己是一个更好的替代品,而非廉价仿制品。这本书中,Shirky 向我们讲述了小米如何通过先锋用户优惠政策以及定制化服务展示出自己的实力。本书素材来源于与企业创始人的直接沟通,且作者以旅居国外者的身份评述讲解,这一点对任何计划进入中国市场的企业,以及任何对于商业案例、营销战术、扩大市场感兴趣的人来说,都是难能可贵的补充材料。

Xiao Mi literally means “little rice” in Mandarin. Likened to the noble rice grain which is the main staple in China, the Xiaomi phone has well conquered the user base among smartphones in China, even exceeding those of iPhone and Samsung. Prominent technology writer Shirky introduces the phenomenon of Xiaomi’s success, aided by the economic demand for lower-priced yet competitive smartphone features. Interestingly, this book notes Xiaomi’s beginnings and how it was able to contend with the rudiments of policies and the tight information technology infrastructure. A breezy read, Shirky’s little book was able to present a credible and concise illustration of China’s economic ascent and its accompanying tug-of-war between maintaining control vis-à-vis its citizens’ self-determination.

Understandably, Xiaomi was set to prove that it is a better alternative, rather than a cheaper imitation. With this, Shirky chronicles how this Beijing-based company has demonstrated its real capacity to innovate profitably through lead user advantage and offering customizable experience for individuals or even by countries. His perspective, mostly through first-hand accounts of his interaction with the company’s founder and his commentaries as an expat would be a great supplementary material for start-ups who are planning to pioneer a product in China, or anyone just curious about various business cases, marketing tactics and expanding territories.

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