Xiaomi Launches eBookstore in China – Will Soon Prove Serious Threat to Amazon

Amazon is413769706555212e79f447c4[1] getting a new competitor in China today, and it’s one that cribs from Amazon’s own playbook.

The Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has launched a new ebookstore and pay-as-you-go reading app. The ebookstore is integrated into MIUI, Xiaomi’s forked Android firmware, and as developed by Duokan, the ebook/AppleTV developer that Xiaomi acquired last year.

It’s not clear how many titles are in the catalog, but we do know that Xiaomi is using a rather unusual sales model. Rather than simply sell the ebooks, Xiaomi charges readers .03 yuan for every thousand characters read, with the revenue evenly split between Xiaomi and the content provider. That is far closer to a Spotify model than a typical ebookstore, and at this point there’s no way to tell that it will generate enough revenue for the authors.

Xiaomi is not a major player outside of China, but when it comes to that market they present a serious threat to Amazon. This 3 year old company now has a valuation of over $10 billion and recently snagged Google’s VP for Android, Hugo Barra, who was likely hired to oversee Xiaomi’s international expansion.


In China Xiaomi is known for selling high end smartphones with specs comparable to Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones but only charging about half the price. Like Amazon, Xiaomi makes their profit not from hardware but when users buy apps and other content.

Back in September 2013 Xiaomi boasted of selling 7 million smartphones in the first half of 2013. They generated revenues of over $2 billion from content and hardware sales in that period, or about what Xiaomi reported earning for all of 2012.

I’m keeping a list of potential movers and shakers in the international ebook market, and Xiaomi is going on it. This is a company to watch.

TenCent Tech

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Ray Kumar1 November, 2013

    “..Back in September 2013 Xiaomi reported that they had 2.7 million users. .. also boasted of selling 7 million smartphones in the first half of 2013. ”

    Does that mean 2.7 million of the 7++ million Xiomi smartphone buyers signed up for the ebookstore? On the linked article, the 2.7 million refers to its Facebook fans.

    1. Nate Hoffelder1 November, 2013

      Whoops. You caught me in a typo.

  2. Greg Strandberg2 November, 2013

    So how do you get a book on this eReader? I know from teaching in China that lots of parents are looking for English books for their kids. These are hard to find in mainland China, especially the further you get from the coasts. I’d be tempted to come out with short English books for school children if I could get them in front of that huge audience.

  3. Bookbaby Looks East – Why Indie Authors Should Too. | Ebook Bargains UK Blog2 May, 2014

    […] November 2013 Xiaomi launched its own ebook store in China. Once the infrastructure is in place – and there’s no reason why the Xiamoi ebook app can’t […]


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