1. As a foreign entity (mainly American), suing any Chinese company (especially within China) is a complete waste of time. It’s extremely complicated and time-consuming, and the outcome is almost never for the foreign company.
2. The Chinese government and its laws are very protective of local companies. In most cases, allowing your patents and IP to be infringed upon is a price you have to pay to have access to one of the biggest and most important markets in the world.
3. The above two are just general points when it comes to suing Chinese companies in China. Xiaomi is not just any Chinese company. It’s a company loved by tens of millions of Chinese people. It is essentially China’s answer to Apple, and their CEO Lei Jun is China’s answer to Steve Jobs. It would be stupid for Apple to sue them and anger a billion people, and risk having problems in their 2nd largest market.
4. Apple is a very profit-oriented company, unlike many Chinese companies that are volume/market-share-oriented. It’s a widespread Chinese business mentality to Take the market-share first (using extremely low prices), and the profits will eventually come. It doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s another story. The reason why Apple isn’t really threatened by Xiaomi is that Apple takes in more than 90% of the smartphone industry profits globally. The immediate second in line is Samsung, with a distant 14% only, for which Apple has sued them relentlessly already. Xiaomi doesn’t even register as a blip on the global mobile phone profits scale. There’s no reason for Apple to be concerned, yet.
5. Obviously, Apple would have a much better chance of winning a legal battle against Xiaomi in places like US and Europe, areas that Xiaomi has intelligently avoided until now. Xiaomi is wise enough not to enter these areas, yet. They want to ride on Apple design and marketing principles long enough to eventually turn their products into something that is purely unique to them, by which time, not only will they already be considered a serious brand in the West, but also, by that time there will be little left to sue. Just look at how Samsung turned around their reputation since starting with Galaxy SI and SII. Obviously, they were never that blunt in copying Apple anyway, but as you can see in just a few iterations, now their phones (Galaxy S6, S7) have their very own distinct identities. Apple is no longer be able to sue them anymore, just like they will not be able to sue Xiaomi, by the time they reach the same stage. We just have to see whether Xiaomi actually has the patience to wait a few years before entering US & Europe.
6. Even if Xiaomi were to enter US & European markets prematurely, suing Xiaomi is still a lot more challenging and dangerous for Apple than suing Samsung. Here’s why: the last time a European entity tried to ban Chinese Telecom brands like ZTE and Huawei (for security and copyright issues), the Chinese government in response threatened to ban Europe’s profitable sales of wine (and other beverages) in China. The message was simple: “If you don’t let our companies make money in Europe, we won’t let yours make in China.” Unlike China, the South Korean government will not make your business and life difficult in their country, just because you sued one of their top companies in an international court. So no matter where or when Apple decides to sue Xiaomi, there will always be repercussions. Xiaomi would have to become so massive and strong, that they would have to literally start crushing Apple’s global business and profits extensively, for Apple to even consider sacrificing Chinese market, to sue Xiaomi to oblivion.
7. Of course, we have to take into consideration that at the end of the day it’s all up to the CEO of the company. Tim Cook isn’t exactly Steve Jobs. He is more careful and calculating regarding business. Steve Jobs was an innovator, but also a fierce defender of his company’s IP. We are all talking about the obvious safe route Tim Cook will take if he doesn’t want to upset the Chinese market. All the above points take that into consideration. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Tim Cook just snaps, and starts to think like Steve Jobs, where he doesn’t care who threatens him with what, and he is ready to give up everything and fight for the rights of his company. In other words, there is always a possibility that Apple may ignore all the risks, and just go sue Xiaomi everywhere they can, very soon. But of course, that would be very drastically unlike Tim Cook.
8. Suing mobile phone companies doesn’t always work out. We haven’t seen a very good track record yet, regarding results. Apple hasn’t benefited terribly well from suing Samsung, nor have they been able to stop them from becoming the second most powerful mobile phone manufacturer in the world. On the contrary, some might say that it helped Samsung gain recognition and publicity. Apple has had to sue Samsung separately in many courts globally. Yes, Samsung eventually had to pay in a few cases, but it took them many years, and there are still many cases that are ongoing, which no doubt at some point will become meaningless for both of them.
9. Even if Xiaomi pays all their debt in terms of IP and licenses, and truly innovates and starts making unique phones, and finally enters all the worldwide markets (without being sued), they are still very unlikely to pose a serious threat to Apple. Just look at all the other Chinese companies in this field. Especially ZTE and Huawei, both of which are extremely rich and have abundant resources, and have been in the mobile phone business for more than 6 years, have yet to even beat Samsung, let alone Apple. So Chinese mobile phone companies overall don’t have an adamant track record in becoming top mobile phone companies in the world. If that were the case, Apple would have already sued Huawei, or ZTE long ago, especially since they ARE ALREADY selling their phones in U.S as well as European markets, and they are also infringing Apple’s designs. For more, see how Huawei copied iPhone down to the last screw:
10. Even if Xiaomi becomes hugely successful, it is far more likely to hurt companies like Oppo, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, LG, Sony, etc. (in other words all the players in the Android field). That’s because history shows that even becoming the top Android company isn’t enough to hurt Apple’s global profits. Samsung did beat everyone; they are now #1 in the world when it comes to Android. After all the hardships, they finally reached the point where they are making excellent products (that sometimes even surpass Apple products), but they still can’t hurt Apple enough. So one thing is for sure, Xiaomi would have to beat every other Android company globally to be even considered a serious threat to Apple, and doing that is easier said than done. Samsung has taken many years to do this, and is currently nearly unbeatable in the Android field.