Xiaomi admits putting ads in smartphone settings menus

Smartphone maker Xiaomi has admitted that it places ads in the settings menu of phones with its Miui skin. According to the hardware maker, advertisements are an essential part of the revenue model.

Advertisements are an “integral part of Xiaomi’s internet services,” the manufacturer said in a statement to The Verge. “It’s an essential part of our revenue model. At the same time, we want to keep the user experience good by providing options to disable the ads.” Xiaomi issued the statement after a report on Reddit of an ad in the settings menu.

In addition, Xiaomi says it is constantly working on its approach to ads by testing where and when they appear. “Our philosophy is that ads shouldn’t be a nuisance and that users should always have the option to get fewer recommendations,” the manufacturer said.

Xiaomi said in its IPO earlier this year that it promises to sell its smartphones with a maximum profit margin of 5 percent. That’s much less than many other manufacturers, which charge a much higher percentage of profit margin. At Apple, according to court documents a few years ago, margins were around 50 percent.

The Chinese manufacturer makes money from internet services, including its own download store, cloud services and advertisements. By earning money from services, it wants to keep prices low and thus gain more market share. Xiaomi isn’t the only smartphone maker with ads in its own software. HTC does that too. The ads only appear in Miui, as Xiaomi puts it on devices like the Pocophone F1, and are therefore not on Android One phones like the Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite.