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Global mobile brands find lines busy in China (6)

(China Daily)

13:29, September 24, 2012

"Integrating applications into the operating system of smartphones is one way to improve the speed and ease of use necessary to cement their position," Clark said.

Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd and Xiaomi Corp go even further by providing their own branded mobile phones, stretching their reach to both software and hardware.

Compared with mobile phone makers, Internet companies take a different approach.

Lei Jun, founder and chief executive officer of Xiaomi, said he doesn't hope to make money by selling handsets but, instead, by providing software and services, a similar approach taken by Apple Inc.

"The hardware is like a platform. The most important thing is to breed software and services on it. Those are the things that truly generate profit," said Lei. However, he said it will take time for Xiaomi to develop into a profitable company.

"If you ask when those investments in Xiaomi will finally pay off, it's much like you asking the same question of Baidu or Tencent just after they went into business," Lei said. He estimated that Xiaomi probably needs five years, similar to Baidu and Tencent, to generate significant profits.

Lei expects the company to have sold more than 5 million Xiaomi handsets by the end of this year, from 3 million over the first half, and to ship more than 100 million smartphones annually for one model by 2016.

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