Established in 2003, Shenzhen Hali-power Industrial Co., Ltd. was a small factory with some 20 employees producing lithium batteries and chargers as an OE manufacturer. Six years later, in 2009, it earned the distinction of being the first Apple authorized manufacturer in China. Under the MiLi brand, its products were allowed to proudly display the “Apple-Licensed” mark. The following year, in 2010, sales topped USD10-billion.
From its humble beginnings, the company has transformed itself from being a marginal OEM supplier of digital camera lithium batteries into an international brand of Apple-certified mobile solutions, and it is continuing to reinvent itself by diversifying into smart tech-lifestyle products—all in a span of just a little over a decade.
How did this evolution come about? How did a tiny company earn the trust and respect of Apple and put itself on the fast track to global market presence? Two key words emerge from company president Harry Zhu’s narrative: Innovation. Integrity.
When Apple launched the iPhone 2 in 2007, one of the most common gripes from users was short battery life. Building on their battery manufacturing expertise, MiLi saw an opportunity and developed external batteries to address the problem. The MiLi power banks were well-received in the domestic market and in 2008, their representatives flew to the Apple office in Beijing and bravely made a pitch.
To its credit, unlike many other companies in China, MiLi did not have a history of producing imitation products. For Apple, this was a huge plus in favor of the small company. In 2009, MiLi received valuable certification as an Apple Cooperation Partner, a distinction that MiLi honors by using only original Apple connectors in all its products. Zhu points out that huge profits could be made from using imitation products, but this is not how MiLi conducts its business affairs.
There is also a strong focus on producing quality products and ensuring customer satisfaction within the company. On the factory floor, one-third of the workforce are engaged in quality control functions, with stringent quality testing procedures incorporated in the assembly process.
Zhu notes, “I don’t want to make money on customer complaints. We are not selling products; we are selling happiness. We are offering value to our customers.” And, to make sure that all customer concerns are properly addressed, Zhu says he personally keeps track of customer complaints, sometimes even responding to these himself. In most instances, defective products are promptly replaced.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Zhu and his MiLi team are already working towards a future where smart products are part of our everyday life. Without going into specifics, Zhu says they are currently working on a lifestyle product that will soon be launched exclusively at Apple stores.
Meanwhile, adding to their range of external batteries, power banks, chargers, and data cables, MiLi has recently introduced three new products as part of its diversification strategy, namely:
MiLi iData is a compact flash drive for Apple iPhones and iPads, with its built in lightning connector. With iData, you can manage/transfer files, playback music and videos, view documents, store photos, etc. It conveniently allows simultaneous data transfer and charging, and is available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities. Included adaptor cables make iData compatible with most smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
MiLi Pure is a skin moisture detector that, linked with its accompanying smartphone app, analyzes and tracks the moisture condition of your face, eyes or hands. The app also gives skin moisturizing beauty tips.
MiLi Skinmate is a smart ultraviolet detector. It detects UV intensity in real time and, paired with the smartphone app, provides sun protection suggestions. The app monitors your sunscreen’s effective duration and will remind you when you need to reapply sunscreen lotion.
MiLi smart products are now sold in over 4,000 retail stores in China including 95 percent of Apple authorized resellers. It has a network of thirty exclusive distributors worldwide, and has a close partnership with over 22 international airlines. In the Philippines, MiLi products can be found in Apple resellers, premium electronic stores, and online at miliphil.com.