Hugo Barra has been fairly vocal since making the move from Google to Xiaomi. Not only have we seen some talk before he started, but he has since offered a bit of a status update following his first full week at work and now we are getting a bit of detail about how Xiaomi is able to change hardware so rapidly. The short answer here is paying attention to user feedback.
Anyway, Barra recently spoke at the GMIC mobile conference in San Francisco and he touched on topics such as how Xiaomi is able to move so quickly because their product managers spend quite a bit of time browsing the company's user forums. In fact, Barra noted how some of them spend half of their time on those forums.
This means a suggestion can go from customer to product manager to engineer in a matter of hours. From that point, if the engineer believes the idea is good it can then be put forward and appear as early as the next weekly build. As far as that weekly build goes, Xiaomi has those being sent out in batches of 100,000 and they appear on Tuesday at noon time. Barra also mentioned how "every batch is incrementally better."
This all comes back to a topic that we have heard before -- about how Xiaomi is attempting to sell products that are close to the manufacturing price. This, at least in part, has helped Xiaomi undercut the iPhone in China and overtake Apple. They climbed above the 5 percent market, when Apple was sitting at 4.8 percent. Touching back on the price, the Xiaomi low end model sells for around $300 in China, while the iPhone is nearly three times that.
China aside, Xiaomi has mentioned plans to expand internationally. Though, at this point in time they haven't revealed much in terms of where they plan to go next.