During an interview at the Vanity Fair Summit earlier this week, Apple’s senior vice president of design Jony Ive gave a rather candid reply when an audience member asked how he felt about phone manufacturers such as Xiaomi, which is often dubbed “the Apple of China”.
“I’ll stand a little bit harsh, I don’t see it as flattery. When you’re doing something for the first time, you don’t know it’s gonna work, you spend 7 or 8 years working on something, and then it’s copied. I think it is really straightforward. It is theft and it is lazy. I don’t think it is ok at all,” Ive said.
Xiaomi, China’s biggest smartphone vendor, launched its Mi 4 this past July to much fanfare. The phone goes for around 320-390 USD and is seen as the most threatening contender against Apple and its new iPhone 6, preorders for which are inching towards 5 million ahead the phone’s October 16 mainland launch.
Xiaomi’s global vice president Hugo Barra, a former Google VP who joined the Chinese smartphone maker in August last year, said in July that he was “sick and tired” of hearing about the company copying Apple, adding that such allegations are “sweeping sensationalist statements because they have nothing better to talk about.”