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Business

Meet 'the Steve Jobs of China'

Lei Jun, chairman & CEO of Xiaomi

BEIJING -- The "Steve Jobs of China," Lei Jun, got his nickname through hard work and business acumen.

     His company, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Technology, was founded in 2010. It has already overtaken Apple Inc. in terms of market share in China.

     Xiaomi unveils new smartphones to great fanfare. People in their 20s and 30s treat the charismatic Lei as if he is holding a live concert. His popularity online? He has nearly 8 million followers on his microblogging site. 

     "Just like skiing, it is always fun to overcome fear and keep challenging yourself." Lei wrote Jan. 1 on his blog, stressing confidence that he would achieve growth in the coming year. 

     His aim is to create products that surprise and lead to word-of-mouth buzz. Xiaomi is a rising star in the rapidly growing Chinese smartphone industry, with 2013 sales amounting to around 31.6 billion yuan ($5.12 billion) and around 19 million units.

     The company is targeting more than 40 million units this year, when it launches the Xiaomi Mi4, the fourth generation of its flagship model. The management concentrates advertising and sales on the Internet -- an unconventional method in China. This year's challenge for Lei: Prove that his company's rapid growth was not beginner's luck.

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