Xiaomi is a mobile Internet company that focuses on independent research and development of high-end smartphones. Established in April 2010, the company has three primary business areas including Xiaomi Mobiles, MIUI, and Mi-Chat. With a motto of “born for the enthusiast,” Xiaomi used crowdsourcing to develop its mobile operating system, which more than 600,000 fans helped create. Three years after being founded, Xiaomi now has more than 14.2 million mobile users in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as well as ￥13.27 billion in revenues.
Xiaomi knew that in order to succeed in the competitive smartphone industry, the company needed to differentiate itself in two ways: by providing content services for its users and building a sustainable, global business. According to Yongbin Li, IT Infrastructure Manager at Xiaomi, content services have become an important driver for consumer satisfaction, along with excellence in product design, hardware configuration, and pricing. Launching an app store became a top priority for the company.
In 2012, the smartphone provider launched a global business plan to introduce Xiaomi mobile devices to a worldwide audience. Xiaomi wanted to deliver fast download speeds for customers and build a reliable infrastructure that would allow the company to scale up quickly as it grew. To do that, Xiaomi began evaluating cloud computing providers. “We needed a solution that could provide the reliability and connection speeds that would satisfy our users in various countries and regions,” Li says. “We also wanted to make sure that we could seamlessly expand our services as we grew.”
Why Amazon Web Services
“When we were evaluating cloud providers, we realized that only Amazon Web Services (AWS) had the experience to provide a reliable infrastructure and connection speeds demanded by global users,” Li says.
To run its app store, Xiaomi deploys a Linux-based virtual server machine on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) that provides the company with the flexible computing resources it needs. AWS also provides Xiaomi with a simple and user-friendly web interface for configuration and management. The company achieves reliable data storage, access, and search by storing smartphone app resource packages, configuration files, and related content in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
Xiaomi also uses Amazon CloudFront to reduce latency and deliver content quickly. “We were able to set up Amazon CloudFront in just one day,” Li says. “By shifting our traffic to CloudFront, our IT team was able to support our business growth without delay.”
Five months after the app store launched, Xiaomi exceeded 100 million user downloads. By using the AWS Cloud, Xiaomi has been able to satisfy the download speed that global users require and quickly launch a new online business. The company’s download speeds are 30 percent faster running on AWS, and the company can rapidly deploy computing resources to support its growing business. Li explains, “It’s exciting to see such a large number of downloads in such a short period of time. The mature services provided by AWS enable us to save time on deployment and testing, and helped us launch the app download center very quickly.”
Running on the AWS Cloud also allowed Xiaomi to launch its app download center without a large upfront capital investment. “With AWS, we were able to cut our capital expenditure to zero,” Li says. “Using Amazon CloudFront enabled us to save about 50 percent in the first month of our subscription, and significantly reduce the response time of our servers overseas—improving our user experience.”
"AWS enables us to provide superior access speed, reduce our upfront investment cost, and shorten our service delivery cycle,” he concludes. “Using the AWS Cloud helps us develop innovative products and provide quality services to our users.”