[Exclusive] Interview with the CEO of UMi


Colleagues from Gizchina.com managed to snatch an interview with the CEO of UMi during a visit to Shenzhen and we are proud to offer it in the language of the beautiful country!

GizChina: What's your name and what is your position in the company?
Heaven: My name is Heaven, I'm the CEO (CEO ed) Of UMi Technology Limited. I deal mainly with the planning, design and production phases of the products.

GizChina: You have chosen a very interesting name. How was it born?
Heaven: Well, everything goes back to my first day in English class. I was late and when I arrived the teacher caught me suddenly and asked me my name. I replied "I have not" (I do not have it ed), but she has heard "Heaven" (Heaven ed), and so, from that day, that was my name.

GizChina: How did you get into the smartphone industry?
Heaven: I am a lover of technological products (and who is not? ed). Since the release of the first smartphone I fell in love, buying all the new models as soon as they came out on the market. After graduating, I decided to move to Shenzhen because there was a huge electronic industry. Obviously I feel very fortunate to be able to get into a phone company and so I started my journey in the smartphone sector.

GizChina: You have created UMi, what can you tell us about your company?
Heaven: The name UMi remembers Xiaomi to many people, and I do not deny it, but the meaning of UMi is unique to us and the way we approach our products and consumers. In English, UMi sounds like "you and I", and represents the union between the company and its fans. I wanted to create a company that paid close attention to its customers, with products and designs that were very attentive to their desires. We always try to make sure that owning one of our products represents a wonderful experience. I spend a lot of time on forums, sharing ideas about products and users' opinion. Over time I realized that most companies are not interested in the opinion of their fans, so I decided to create my company with the name UMi.

GizChina: Recently you have launched the UMI Zero. Does the choice of the name have a particular meaning?
Heaven: We have to go back to 2 years ago when UMi was born. At that time we were only focused on the Chinese market. We launched the UMI X1, X1 Pro, X2, Cross and we also created software that made it easier to root smartphones for installing Custom Roms. It was a phase in which we learned a lot, facing many difficulties. .

The X1 was a commercial success and we were surprised to face problems in procuring raw materials, but somehow we survived. At the launch of the X2 the demand was even greater and we found huge delays in deliveries, and this caused the cancellation of many orders. Although we did not have control of the production and supply chain, we were in contact with several companies that could offer only very limited software updates, so all our devices, including C1, can not be updated to Lollipop 5.0.

While we were busy keeping up with the Chinese market, which was our target market, we left foreign markets in the hands of our dealers. We relied on them, and we did not have direct contact with international fans. Obviously dealers only cared about making money and not our brand, and that caused a lot of problems.

With UMi Zero we decided to take back the foreign market and manage it personally, so as to better treat our customers and offer a superior service. Furthermore, today we have a better control on the production chain and we are working on our own interface for this model.
It was a great challenge for us and it almost seems to start from scratch again, that's what the name derives from. UMi Zero represents a new beginning for the company, an opportunity for us to improve ourselves.

UMi Zero

GizChina: Some have asked why you launched the UMi Zero without LTE. Can you clarify this point?
Heaven: The reasons are many. We believe that currently the LTE network is still at an early stage. We did not want to launch Zero at a higher cost with a feature that only a small percentage of users would have used. In addition, we are a small producer, adding the LTE would have delayed the release on the market and our fans would have to wait more.

UMi Zero

GizChina: The UMI Zero costs 200 dollars (160 euro), like many other models. What features make the Zero unique?
Heaven: There are 3 big Zero specifications that you can not find on other 200 dollars phones. The Samsung Super AMOLED full HD display, the Sony 13 megapixel camera and the elegant metal body.

GizChina: As you have already mentioned, UMi is a small company, what plans do you have to compete with the major companies?
Heaven: Our goal is not to compete with other smartphone manufacturers, but to bring the best possible user experience for our fans, who share the same dream with us.

GizChina: What can we expect from UMi in the future?
Heaven: In the coming months we will open a forum dedicated to UMi products for all our fans who want to share ideas and opinions with us, so as to grow together.

GizChina: Do you plan to establish new branches outside of China to supply international customers?
Heaven: Yes, we are going to expand our activities in 3 big markets, Spain, Germany and Russia, so as to provide a professional service locally.

GizChina: How long will we have to wait for the next UMi smartphone?
Heaven: We plan to succeed for next summer.

GizChina: Can you give us any further information on the next UMi phone?
Heaven: Well, for sure we will focus on solving the problems of "lead time" (the time interval necessary for a company to satisfy a customer request ed).


GizChina: Do you have any advice for readers who would like to enter the smartphone industry?
Heaven: You must trust yourself. Even if you fail once, it does not mean that you will continue to do so. What matters is to start from where you left off and work on it and always do better.

GizChina: Thank you for taking the time and answering our questions.
Heaven: Thanks for the interview. I hope you help to convey a new concept about us.