Lin Bin on How Xiaomi Engineered Its “Surprise Comeback”


Lin Bin, the co-founder, president, and head of mobile for Xiaomi, reveals the secret sauce of one of the most valuable private companies in the world, which is reportedly going public later this year. Xiaomi had an unprecedented “comeback year” in 2017. In January 2018, Xiaomi was the third-largest smartphone seller in the world by shipment, the No. 1 smartphone seller in India, and one of the top five sellers in 12 other countries. Lin Bin, an engineer by training, recounts the founding story of Xiaomi, the uniqueness of the “Xiaomi ecosystem,” the phenomenon called “Mi Fans,” how he learned to fall in love with offline retail, and his takeaways from Xiaomi’s meteoric rise in 2017 following a sluggish 2016.

Prior to Xiaomi, Bin worked at Microsoft for 11 years and Google for 4 years. He served as the engineering director of Microsoft Research Asia, the vice president of the Google China Institute of Engineering, and the engineering director of Google Global.

Hans Tung, one of the earliest investors and a former board member of Xiaomi, discusses how he first met the team and why he believed in a company whose success was considered “almost impossible.”

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The 996 Podcast is brought to you by GGV Capital and co-produced by the Sinica Podcast. On this show, we interview movers and shakers of China’s tech industry, as well as tech leaders who have a U.S.-China cross-border perspective.

GGV Capital is a multi-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, Shanghai, and Beijing. We have been partnering with leading technology entrepreneurs for the past 18 years from seed to pre-IPO. With $3.8 billion in capital under management across eight funds, GGV invests in globally minded entrepreneurs in consumer internet, e-commerce, frontier tech, and enterprise. GGV has invested in over 280 companies, with 29 IPOs and 22 unicorns. Portfolio companies include Airbnb, Alibaba, Bytedance (Toutiao), Ctrip, Didi Chuxing, DOMO, Hashicorp, Hellobike, Houzz, Keep, Slack, Square, Wish, Xiaohongshu, YY, and others.  Find out more at