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A Chinese blogger put Apple’s Memoji and Xiaomi’s Mimoji side by side. (Picture: 搞机少女 via Weibo)

Xiaomi’s new Mimoji reminds people of Apple’s Memoji

Chinese blogger posts comparisons, sparking heated discussion online

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Xiaomi has long faced accusations of copying Apple. The most famous critic of them all is perhaps Jony Ive. When the soon-to-depart Apple design chief was once asked about the Chinese gadget maker’s designs, he put it harshly: “I think it’s theft, and it’s lazy.”

Xiaomi has repeatedly denied it’s cloning designs from the Californian giant. But even today, criticisms are showing no signs of abating. The latest incident concerns Xiaomi’s animated avatars named Mimoji, which look similar to Apple’s Memoji.

A Chinese blogger put Apple’s Memoji and Xiaomi’s Mimoji side by side. (Picture: 搞机少女 via Weibo)
As one Chinese blogger on Weibo first pointed out, it’s pretty easy to create Apple Memoji that resembles Xiaomi’s avatar set. Mimoji isn’t exactly new, though. The feature debuted last year, but mostly as animal characters, like the Animoji Apple introduced with iOS 11 in 2017. Humanoid Mimoji only arrived this week with Xiaomi’s new CC9 phone -- a full year after Apple launched Memoji with iOS 12.
Xiaomi denies it copied Apple’s Memoji and published what it says are hand-drawn original designs of its Mimoji. It also threatened legal action against any “malicious rumor mongers.”
Xiaomi says these are original designs of Mimoji. (Picture: 小米公司发言人 via Weibo)

Under the original blog post featuring comparisons between Memoji and Mimoji, there seems to be plenty of Xiaomi fans defending their beloved brand.

“This isn’t copying,” said the top comment, which has been liked more than 1,900 times. “Apple’s [Memoji] can be manually adjusted to look like Xiaomi’s [Mimoji].”

But while Apple users can indeed personalize their Memoji, they are still choosing from a fixed set of hairstyles, facial features and accessories, all designed by Apple.

In any case, neither Xiaomi nor Apple were the first to introduce personalized animated emoji designed to look like you. Samsung showed off its AR Emoji last year. Disappointingly, despite my best efforts, my AR Emoji looked nothing like me.

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.