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Little Rice: Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream

Columbia Univ. Oct. 2015. 128p. ISBN 9780990976325. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9780990976332. TECH
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Shirky (Distinguished Writer in Residence, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Inst.; arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program, both at New York Univ.; Wikimedia Foundation board member; Here Comes Everybody) explores the China-based Xiaomi, a growing leader in mobile phone design and manufacturing. Particularly interesting points in the discussion are the global implications of a "Chinese Dream" within the context of state sponsored capitalism. This dream, as explored by Shirky, is notably vague, often trying to equate the achievement of personal wealth with national greatness. It is within this emerging consumer culture that Xiaomi has become the third largest maker of mobile phones in the world; while the typical narrative of smartphone and hardware dominance places the design of smartphones outside of China, with Xiaomi's growth as a hardware designer and manufacturer, the company is set to have a worldwide impact. Shirky investigates the rise of the Xiaomi start-up culture, documenting the business's early success with customized versions of Android and reliance on test users' feedback.
VERDICT Recommended for those who enjoy reading about how mobile technology works and particularly in exploring its impact on global business.
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