Xiaomi has always invited comparisons to Apple, and its latest major initiative is straight out of the Steve Jobs playbook. The Beijing-based company appears intent on designing its own microprocessors, as Apple, Samsung and domestic rival Huawei all do. And while Xiaomi is a loyal customer of Qualcomm and Mediatek for the time being, recent reports suggest that it could be selling handsets outfitted with chips of its own creation as early as next year. The company is said to have reached a licensing deal with ARM that it hopes will allow it to design the chips for its low- and mid-tier handsets by 2016. In addition to keeping production costs down, the move could also have real IP significance by increasing Xiaomi’s bargaining power in licensing negotiations with other companies.

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