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  • Title
    Founder and CEO
  • Affiliation

Four years after building its first smartphone, Beijing-based Xiaomi is valued at $45 billion. How Xiaomi got to that point, though, says less about its products (which get only so-so reviews) than its founder. From the start, Lei rebuffed industry convention—selling online only, giving users a strong voice on software changes, and hawking phones for a third of an iPhone’s price. That, it seems, is how you get to be the world’s fifth-­largest smartphone maker overnight.