After some recent digging about more information about two companies that are always in the news, we stumbled upon an interesting bit of information. The hottest smartphone manufacturer out of China, Xiaomi, which was founded by billionaire businessman Lei Jun, has an interesting connection to Kingsoft, the maker of the controversial and often times inaccurate benchmark AnTuTu.
While many people still use AnTuTu’s benchmark, there is a general consensus across the industry that it isn’t a good benchmark because of a whole host of complaints about how the benchmark weighs certain components and how it tests them. The interesting part is that all of the major SoC vendors we’ve spoken with for the most part do not advise that users utilize this benchmark as a comparison benchmark, so that alone should set off some alarms. We haven’t been using AnTuTu as part of our benchmark suite for quite some time and because of that, we were curious about the status of AnTuTu now, which pretty much has slowly drifted into irrelevance. At least in the eyes of most serious smartphone reviewers and device makers. Not to mention the fact that they leak benchmark scores of devices ahead of their launch even though its really their job to keep those things quiet.
The important thing is that AnTuTu has AnTuTu Labs which claims itself to be "The Independent Mobile Devices Benchmarking Institute." This claim simply can’t be qualified or justified when the company’s very own Chairman runs and owns his own smartphone manufacturer and hides the fact that AnTuTu and Xiaomi are even connected. If you check out AnTuTu’s website, you’ll notice that they specifically mention AnTuTu Hong Kong as the owner of the site. And AnTuTu Labs is run by and owned by AnTuTu Inc. Nowhere is the link between AnTuTu and Kingsoft even made until you look up AnTuTu’s trademark holder, which happens to be Kingsoft.
Also keep in mind that before founding Xiaomi, Lei was actually the CEO of Kingsoft for some time, so his involvement with Kingsoft has been very deep and continued. The real truth is that Lei Jun should have no involvement with AnTuTu’s parent company or AnTuTu should be more forthright with who actually owns them and who their company leadership really is. After all, Qualcomm does make their own benchmark called Vellamo, but they don’t try to obfuscate the fact that it is made by them. They want to be as open about their benchmark as possible, especially since they are an SoC vendor. I believe that AnTuTu needs to come clean about their connections with Xiaomi and Xiaomi’s founder and not try to sell themselves as independent when they’re probably the furthest from it.
The only thing that would make them less independent than they are now would be if they moved into Xiaomi’s offices and called themselves Xiaomi AnTuTu. So, next time you’re benchmarking with AnTuTu (even though I don’t know why you would) remember that AnTuTu is owned by the company who’s Chairman founded Xiaomi. That’s like Peter Chou of HTC being Chairman of Kishonti or Futuremark or Rightware. It just isn’t right.