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Ever wonder why Xiaomi doesn’t make waterproof phones? Its founder explains

With phone waterproofing on the rise, thanks in part to companies like Sony and Samsung popularizing the practice, some have asked when other companies would join the fray. One such company is Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi, one of the largest phone companies in the world, and its founder, Lin Jun, had some interesting insight on the subject.

According to Jun during a recent press event, waterproofing his company’s phones has the potential to backfire, since any damage phones receive could compromise the water protection they have. Even when the damage is not nearly as significant as a cracked screen or broken camera module, that protection could fade.

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More relevant to how Xiaomi conducts its business, Jun said making Xiaomi phones waterproof would incur high manufacturing costs. To further illustrate this point, Xiaomi would consider waterproofing its phones if customers are willing to pay 20 to 30 percent of the additional cost required to add the feature.

Keep in mind that Xiaomi’s business model revolves selling its phones at such relatively low prices, thanks to multiple factors like continuing to sell older devices, having a mostly online-only presence, a small portfolio, and being located near Chinese manufacturing plants. Xiaomi has spent several years balancing all factors, and anything that even slightly bumps costs could upset that balance.

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Whether you agree with Jun’s answers, however, is a separate point. From the Samsung Galaxy S7, to the Sony Xperia Z5, to even the Apple iPhone 6S, more and more big-name phones are beginning to handle the rain better than others. Waterproofing is by no means a make-or-break phone feature, but its increased usage over the years might mean that more people are actively seeking such a feature for their phones.