Lei, 43, is often called China's Steve Jobs -- with good reason. His company, Xiaomi, makes luxe-feeling smartphones, and like the iconic Apple founder, Lei is obsessed with delighting consumers. "I always ask myself these two questions," Lei writes in an e-mail. "Can Xiaomi give the customer a great surprise? And can Xiaomi customers win praise for their recommendations to friends?" He appears to be succeeding: Last year, the company says, it sold 7.2 million phones and raked in $2 billion in revenue. By making sophisticated, affordable, and hard-to-find phones (Lei limits the number of units he makes), Xiaomi has developed a cult-like following. Just like Apple.
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