Xiaomi’s Lin Bin Talks R&D, Secret Projects, Camera Department and More

At Xiaomi’s big launch event on November 5, the company’s President and Co-Founder Lin Bin was interviewed for the first time in years. He revealed several details about the company’s growth and restructuring over time.

Lin said that he much prefers working inside of the company and is not too happy about being public. This was the first time he was interviewed since Xiaomi’s initial public offering.

He said that the company has gone through a series of organizational restructuring ever since it was founded. This was one of the reasons why all of his focus went to Xiaomi’s internal development.

Major Expansions

Back in 2016, the company only had 400 employees for its R&D (research and development) department. Xiaomi has hired over 3700  employees ever since and has opened several more R&D centers in cities including Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Bangalore, etc. However, the biggest development was the company inaugurating its very own camera department.

Xiaomi sent out internal letters to its employees in 2018, informing them that a separate camera department will be set up with the sole purpose of improving smartphone cameras. He appointed several managers to supervise this department.

The camera department became more independent later on, experimenting with integrated software, algorithms, and collaborating with other teams.

He said that producing a good camera is harder than producing a good smartphone. The Mi CC9 Pro tied up with Huawei Mate 30 Pro in terms of camera performance as revealed by DxOmark, which also showed that the CC9 Pro not only had an excellent camera but one of the best smartphone cameras on the planet. Lin claimed that the CC9 Pro could have easily surpassed the Mate 30 Pro if they had a few more weeks to work on it.

Difficulties Faced & The Future

As for the Mi Mix Alpha, he said that it was one of Xiaomi’s most radical decisions to change things around from the inside. He had almost given up on the project until the team finally produced a functional unit.

Adjustments to the company’s structure have ended now. The result was a completely different work style from before, with the company paying more attention to trends and changes.

Looking forward, he said that there are several more “secret projects” coming up that are going to be very exciting. He also said that they are going to go far beyond Mi CC9 Pro’s camera performance in the future.