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Little Rice: Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream
by Clay Shirky
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0990976327, Paperback)
Almost unknown to the rest of the globe, Xiaomi has become the world's third-largest mobile phone manufacturer. Its high-end phones are tailored to Chinese and emerging markets, where it outsells even Samsung. Since the 1990s China has been climbing up the ladder of quality, from doing knockoffs to designing its own high-end goods.
Xiaomi — its name literally means "little rice" — is landing squarely in this shift in China's economy. But the remarkable rise of Xiaomi from startup to colossus is more than a business story, because mobile phones are special. The common desiderata of the global population, mobile phones offer the kind of freedom and connectedness that autocratic countries are terrified of. China's fortune and future clearly lie with "opening up" to the global market, requiring it to allow local entrepreneurs to experiment.
Clay Shirky, one of the most influential and original thinkers on how technological innovation affects social change around the world, now turns his attention to the most populous country of them all. The case of Xiaomi exemplifies the balancing act that China has to perfect to navigate between cheap copies and innovation, between the demands of local and global markets, and between freedom and control.
(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 18 Jul 2015 15:18:17 -0400)
Smartphones have to be made someplace, and that place is China. In just five years, a company named Xiaomi (which means "little rice" in Mandarin) has grown into the most valuable startup ever, becoming the third largest vendor of smartphones, behind only Samsung and Apple. China is now both the world's largest producer and consumer of a little device that brings the entire globe to its user's fingertips. Clay Shirky delivers a compact update on China's evolving economic and political conditions.
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