Xiaomi App Store: A Hot Bed Of Piracy?


The Xiaomi app store, the most popular app store in China, appears to be a hot bed of piracy, both using semi-legitimate avenues and what appears to be blatant disregard for copyright laws.

Several high profile premium apps that cost money in other app stores are freely and widely available on the Xiaomi app store. Some of them appear to come from an internal app store feature labeled “User Shared” which apparently allows users to share paid apps for free on the Xiaomi app store without restrictions.

Other apps that don’t have the “User Shared” designation, but are still appearing on the Xiaomi app store for free while costing money on other app stores. I got in contact with Vector Unit, the developers of the popular Riptide GP2 jet ski racing game. They confirmed to me that they don’t have a deal with Xiaomi in order for their game to be on the store for free. However, they do have an agreement with a third party that may be the cause of their app being available on the app store.

The apps, even the user shared apps, have no problem connecting to Google Play services, playing online or any other features. A few games (like Battlefield 2) had trouble downloading extra files, but the vast majority of them worked without issue.

Here are the games I was easily able to download and play that cost money on other app stores but are free on Xiaomi’s

  • Riptide GP2
  • Dead Space
  • Prince of Persia Shadow and Flame
  • Biohazard 4 (Resident Evil 4)
  • Biofrenzy
  • Shadowgun
  • NBA 2k14 (Amazon)
  • King of Fighters ’97
  • Samurai II: Vengeance
  • Battlefield 2 (couldn’t get to run)
Just some of the paid games available for free (excluding Flappy Bird)
Read Also:  Lu Weibing asks users whether they want the Dynamic Island in the Redmi K60

As an aside, I was also able to download Flappy Birds, complete with Google Plus integration, even though the developer had removed it from Google Play and the Apple app stores.

We have reached out to the developers of these games and will get back to you if they give us any comments. However, it seems unlikely that they are giving away their games for free, particularly Dead Space, which costs $6.99 on Google Play.

This also isn’t the first time Xiaomi has been associated with piracy. China’s premier video streaming service, YouKu, previously sued Xiaomi for providing videos exclusive to that service on its TV set top box. It has also been accused of ripping off the Kickstarter developed Pressy.

We have also reached out to Xiaomi for more information regarding their “User Shared” feature but have not heard back at press time.

We should also point out that until we get official confirmation from the game developers, everything in this article is alleged. One thing is for certain though, premium apps that cost money elsewhere are 100 percent free on the Xiaomi app store, and the developers of those apps don’t seem to always be aware of it.

Previous Hisense launches Sero 8, a Rockchip powered tablet for those on a budget
Next MIUI v5 For Tablets Review [Nexus 7]

8 Comments

  1. mitu
    April 16, 2014

    Seems that NFS: Most Wanted which was also avaiable in the Xiaomi Market is no longer available. Only question you should ask yourself what are you downloading ans installing on your phone? The real deal like in the Play Store or an altered version with free malware. Although the Play Store is not free of malware either alternate app markets in China and Russia often do have apps with malware with large impact like oldboot infecting large groups of users.

  2. Guest
    April 16, 2014

    Seems that NFS: Most Wanted which was also avaiable in the Xiaomi Market is no longer available. Only question you should ask yourself what are you downloading ans installing on your phone? The real deal like in the Play Store or an altered version with free malware. Although the Play Store is not free of malware either alternate app markets in China and Russia often do have apps with malware with large impact like oldboot infecting large groups of users.

  3. Steve
    April 16, 2014

    And that’s the problem with China.

    Manufacturing needs to move out to law obeying countries. We’re having to compromise so much because of its lawlessness and/or enforcement. The longer manufacturing stays in China, the worser these problems will become.

    • Jacque Paulo
      April 16, 2014

      Fully agree with you.

      India? May not be a great option, but definitely better and at least you won’t have such hardware piracy issues.

  4. Guest
    April 16, 2014

    And that’s the problem with China.

    Manufacturing needs to move out to law obeying countries. We’re having to compromise so much because of its lawlessness and/or enforcement. The longer manufacturing stays in China, the worser these problems will become.

    • Guest
      April 16, 2014

      Fully agree with you.

      India? May not be a great option, but definitely better and at least you won’t have such hardware piracy issues.

  5. william harrison
    April 16, 2014

    This is not news

  6. william harrison
    April 17, 2014

    This is not news