The Steve Jobs of China says the iPhone is the best smartphone available right now

Xiaomi is a tiny Chinese handset maker that prides itself on making highly affordable devices, selling them online, and creating an Android skin called MIUI. Lei Jun, the CEO of Xiaomi, often gets called the Steve Jobs of China because he’s copied both Jobs’ look and the presentation style. And in a recent interview, Jun called the iPhone the best phone on the planet.

Wait, what?

Why would Jun call the iPhone the best phone you can buy? Easy, he told the press that his company is only three years old, and that one day he hopes for it to be as well liked as Apple. Unlike other Android handset makers like Samsung or HTC, who openly ding Apple and say their alternative experience is better, Jun is taking the opposite approach by saying Apple is the best and that both Xiaomi and Apple have the same goals. It sounds counterintuitive, but this stuff is straight propaganda.

Will Xiaomi become as big as Apple? In terms of revenues, no, that’s damn near impossible. But in terms of the actual number of smartphones sold, it’s far too soon to tell. Hugo Barra, the guy who used to be in charge of Android, is now working for Xiaomi. He’s tasked with getting Xiaomi’s devices into international markets, so there’s definitely some potential for the company to grow.