10 Things You Didn’t Know About Li Wanqiang

The tech industry, while being a sea of innovators and pioneers, has a handful of leaders who stand as giants due to their accomplishments and contributions. One such individual is Li Wanqiang. Known as one of the co-founders of the technological giant Xiaomi, Wanqiang is a prolific figure who has carved his place in the industry. However, there’s more to Wanqiang than meets the eye. In this post, we will explore 10 things you probably didn’t know about Li Wanqiang.

1. He was a former designer

Many of us know Wanqiang due to his status as a co-founder of Xiaomi. But before entering the field of business, Wanqiang was initially a designer. He earned his degree in Industrial Design from the illustrious Beijing University of Technology.

The creative skills he nurtured as a designer play a significant role in curating Xiaomi’s aesthetic appeal, a key component of the brand’s global success. Wanqiang’s expertise in design has made Xiaomi products stand out visually, contributing considerably to their marketability.

2. Li Wanqiang co-authored a book

Wanqiang is not only a businessman but also an author. He co-authored a book titled ‘Sense of Participation: Xiaomi’s Secret,’ published in 2012. The book helps to reveal the business philosophy and practices of Xiaomi, which has become a successful example of innovation and ingenuity.

The book is a blend of Wanqiang’s personal experiences and insights into Xiaomi’s unique business model. It provides an insider’s look into the factors that have contributed to the company’s massive success in China and its rapid global expansion.

3. Xiaomi was not his first startup

Prior to Xiaomi, Li Wanqiang was part of the founding team of Joyo.com, which grew to become one of the biggest online bookstores in China. The startup was eventually acquired by Amazon in 2004 for approximately 75 million USD.

Wanqiang’s experience with starting a business from scratch and cultivating it into a success story has undoubtedly played a significant role in Xiaomi’s growth and success.

4. He is the man behind MIUI

MIUI, Xiaomi’s custom skin for Android, has been received positively by consumers for its sleek design and user-friendliness. Wanqiang had a pivotal role in the development of MIUI. His vision and understanding of design aesthetics were instrumental in shaping the MIUI interface as we know it today.

Hailed often as ‘Apple of China’, MIUI’s features offer a unique blend of Android’s flexibility and iPhone’s user-friendly capabilities. This success can undeniably be chalked up to Wanqiang’s significant contributions.

5. His emphasis on the power of the Internet

The business model of Xiaomi is heavily reliant on the potency of the Internet. The strategic use of social media for consumer feedback and the decision to sell phones directly via online channels were innovative ideas initiated by Wanqiang and his team.

From customer engagement to cost-effective marketing, his unconventional approach of leveraging the power of the Internet has transformed the way consumer electronics are sold, and disrupted the traditional retail model.

6. He is an advocate for user participation

One of the mantras of Xiaomi has been active consumer engagement from the outset. Wanqiang believes in the power of user participation. He even described it as Xiaomi’s “most important secret” to its quick rise in the marketplace.

From soliciting users’ feedback on MIUI to crowd-sourcing ideas for product development, Xiaomi’s community-centric approach is a testament to Wanqiang’s belief in the user participation ethos.

7. Wanqiang has a passion for photography

Apart from his professional accomplishments, Wanqiang is also an avid photographer. He regularly shares his snaps on social media, which reflects his eye for aesthetics and his love for capturing the beauty of everyday life.

This passion for photography ties well with his role in Xiaomi’s smartphone camera development. Wanqiang’s understanding of good photography has undoubtedly contributed to Xiaomi’s strong emphasis on camera quality.

8. His modesty is admirable

Despite being a co-founder of one of the most successful tech companies in the world, Wanqiang is known for his humility. He has remained grounded even in the face of massive achievements and embodies the belief that humility and respect are essential values for any leader.

His modesty is a stark contrast to the egotistical image that most high-flying entrepreneurs are often associated with, making Wanqiang a refreshing and inspiring figure in the industry.

9. Li Wanqiang is a keynote speaker

Sharing his wisdom and experiences with future innovators is a part of Wanqiang’s repertoire. He frequently presents at tech conferences and industry events, providing insights into the tech industry and passing on his professional knowledge.

His talks are often regarded as thought-provoking and inspirational, demonstrating his aptitude for leadership and mentorship.

10. His leadership has shaped Xiaomi’s culture

Li Wanqiang’s influence extends beyond product development and business strategies. His style of leadership has played a crucial role in shaping the company culture at Xiaomi. The focus on consumer engagement, encouragement of employee participation, and nurturing an inclusive work culture can all be attributed to Wanqiang’s leadership.

He encourages employees at all levels to contribute ideas, fostering a sense of recognition and belonging. His approach to creating a harmonious working environment has played an instrumental role in cultivating a dedicated workforce committed to Xiaomi’s vision.

Learn more about Xiaomi
Li Wanqiang’s book
Profiles: The Success of Chinese Xiaomi