Xiaomi’s omission of chargers for Mi 11 sparks controversy

By Wang Bozun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/27 18:18:40

Lei Jun, executive director, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Xiaomi, introduces the company at a news conference held in Hong Kong on June 23, 2018.Photo: Xinhua/Qin Qing

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's decision not to provide chargers with its upcoming flagship smartphone Mi 11, which the company said was intended to protect the environment, has raised discussions online about whether the move will protect the environment or just the company's business interests.

Xiaomi's co-founder and CEO Lei Jun said Saturday on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media in China, that to better protect the environment, the upcoming Mi 11 will not come with a charger.

"Nowadays, everyone has many spare chargers, which has been a burden to both you and the environment. We understand that this decision might not be understood or might even cause criticism. Is there a solution between the industry convention and environmental protection? Let's talk about it at Mi 11's launch event on Monday," Lei posted.

Lei's post sparked netizens' hot discussion, with some criticizing the decision and hinting that it was more likely inspired by the company's interests. However, there were also some who said that it was a good way to give options to customers.

"When customers suddenly lost chargers they used to have for free, there will be some critical voices as they have to vent their emotions, but when you think about it rationally, it's true that nowadays almost everyone has more than one charger, which is quite a waste of resources," Xin Haiguang, a senior IT commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.

According to Xin, omitting a charger also means that each package containing a cellphone will be much thinner than before, which will reduce packing costs, increase shipment efficiency and cut emissions during transportation as the thinner packages require less space.

Business interests are also highly likely to have been a factor behind the decision, but if Xiaomi can strike a balance between customers and the environment in its new strategy, it could be beneficial for the environment, Xiaomi itself and customers, according to Xin.

Xiaomi's decision came months after Apple announced that its newest iPhone 12 series would not come with a charger to better protect the environment.

Omitting chargers could become a new trend for cellphone makers as protecting the environment has become a common sentiment among many tech companies, and the trend could boost the market size of fast-chargers, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent analyst, told the Global Times.

However, Liu warned that, as not too many companies have the same quality control standards as Apple or Xiaomi, the booming market size brings the risk of more substandard quality chargers, which could pollute the environment.

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