Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted? - Hitecher
Пользователи подозревают, что Mi Mini PC — это скам. Можно ли доверять проектам на Indiegogo?

Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted?

by James B. Hutcherson on

Startups

In brief

Mi Mini PC — is a pocket computer with a built-in 5″ display and the capacity of a conventional PC.

The project launched on Indiegogo in May had a Stretch Goal of $20,000. With over $1.5Mn already collected, the gadgets promised parameters have been changed, the mass production and delivery deadlines have been pushed back, so the users are now in a rage.

Technical specifications
CPU1Intel Atom x7
RAM8 Gb
SSD128, 256 or 500 Gb.
screen25’’, 1280×720.
interfacesHDMI, USB, USB-C, Ethernet и mini-jack
communicationsWiFi, Bluetooth
OSWindows 10 or Android.
weight230 gram

1 upgrade to M3-7Y30

the case is increased to 6’’ because of the cooler for the more powerful CPU

We wrote the project’s brief overview in May where we mentioned the gadget’s key features and its estimated price. Back then, $750, 000 was already collected at the announced flexible goal of $20, 000.

Over $1.5Mn is already collected and money continues to come.

Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted?

Already on May 1, the project’s first day, its founder Leo Cheung informed about the project’s success. The first goal of $20,000 was reached within a mere 18 minutes.

Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted?

Updates

After a blitz start the project’s creators began to introduce new Stretch Goals with additional bonuses to the participants.

Stretch Goal #1, May 7

If the project collects $450,000, every participant will get a free USB fingerprint scanner. Two days later the goal was reached.

Stretch Goal #2, May 16

At $1,000,000 — a CPU upgrade and RAM increase to 16GB. When 1$1Mn goal was reached on May 22, the project’s creators informed that M3-7Y30 processor would be installed instead of the originally announced Atom x7.

Stretch Goal #3, May 28

At $1,500,000 — a free screen protector for all ordered devices.

On June 1, the creators informed that Indiegogo had allowed extending the subscription period for a week in order to reach the third Goal. The same update asked the participants to stay calm and assured them that the change would not in any way affect the deadlines for the gadgets’ delivery.

Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted?

June 13

The Mini PC thanked all the participants and confirmed the soon-to-come production launch.

July 12

The team’s next message asked the users to stay calm and attached a «picture of a quality control section of their factory».

Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted?

The only picture featuring the production facility failed to assure some participants that there were no problems with the project.

August 22

The next update from the company started to confirm the apprehensions. As the computer was to be fitted out with a more powerful CPU, a more efficient cooling system was required.

Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted?

And then the engineers started to experiment with coolers of various sizes and shapes. Moreover, a special noiseless smaller-sized screw was ordered in Taiwan.

September 24

The team’s latest update read that the body’s dimensions had been increased to 6’’. Mass production was postponed until the end of October and the owners would get their gadgets in mid-November at the earliest.

Users suspect Mi Mini PC to be a scam. Can Indiegogo projects be trusted?

Let us recall that the team initially promised to start mass production in July with the product tests scheduled for August and the gadget deliveries planned for September.

Moreover, many users asked for a money return as they had paid for a device with different features while the confidence in the project has severely eroded.

Suspicious facts

Only Leo Cheung’s profile features his mini photo. The other team members are just listed on the lending page — their fill names, positions and the years in the profession are provided. There aren’t any links to social networks, personal sites or similar things.

Interestingly, many team members, including Leo Cheung, must be top notch professionals in their respective fields — some of them have worked in certain areas for 18, 20 and even 30 years. However, we have failed to find any kind of information about them in the internet.

Leo Cheung’s profile on Indiegogo provides very few details — the location (Fochan, China) as well as links to the site and the corporate page in Facebook.

The Company site looks as if it was written in the 2000s. Everything suggests that it is just a set of static HTML pages with a terrible design and strange coding.

The project’s page in Facebook has not been updated since May 14. The page is rated 2.1 of 5 based on the opinions of 7 people.

Plagiarism?

Many users point out that the design of Leo Cheung’s Mini PC strongly resembles that of Gole1 mini computer, whose developers successfully did fundraising in Indiegogo in 2016. MiniMachines publication writes in its review that Gole1 is just a slightly modified version of Pipo X3.

Moreover, after the project’s launch, Kickstarter featured an identical one, but Leo Cheung advised that somebody had just copied all information from the Mini PC page on IGG. After the Mini PC team contacted Kickstarter, the project was removed.

Bottom line

True, the team may have encountered some problems and is now trying to promptly resolve them while the keen demand for the gadget may be the reason for a production delay.

But many questions still remain. Why is there such scanty information about the creators on the project’s page? Why is the device so similar to the old versions by other manufacturers? Moreover — was production launched in July as planned?

We turned for comment to the project’s developers on Facebook and sent an e-mail to hi@mipcworld.com. If we get an answer we are sure to update the article and share with you the point of view of the project’s creators.

Indiegogo is a convenient alternative to the other crowd funding platforms, for unlike Kickstarter, for example, it enables to launch a project from any place in the world. In addition, users can order a ready-to-use product on the web site, while startups do not have to look for intermediaries. Moreover, a bank account will suffice to launch and project.

One of Indiegogo’s useful potentialities is a «flexible goal» that allows a project creators to not return the money raised even if the goal has not been reached.

So, according to the platform’s rules, if you have transferred money to an Indiegogo project, you are most unlikely to recover it.

Indiegogo is indeed a convenient site, but unfortunately, it is precisely the platform that often features scam projects that disappear with users’ money.

As likely as not, all that remains for those still expecting to get the most powerful pocket computer, is to hope for the business integrity of the team and Leo Cheung in particular (if he is an actual person).

A tip to all our readers

Please always verify the information on projects you want to support.

Scrupulous startups should do their best to ensure that one can easily find detailed information on their project and team in the network.

They should provide a detailed and logically relevant plan and progress of the project. Because vague wordings and scanty information about its creators as well as in no way substantiated regalia and professional expertise are valid reasons for a skeptical attitude towards the project.

Telegram logoRead more
in our Telegram

27 Comments

  1. All of us who doubted the validity of this crime project have been cut off from even commenting now. So essentially they have stolen our money. I, for one, am very good at tracking individuals down so the game is on. I wish Leo Cheung, Me-Ming good luck. He is going to need it

  2. This design is wicked! You certainly know how to keep
    a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Excellent job.

    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  3. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running
    off the screen in Internet explorer. I'm not sure if this is
    a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I'd
    post to let you know. The design and style look great though!
    Hope you get the issue solved soon. Kudos

  4. Heya i'm for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it
    helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

  5. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I'm impressed!
    Extremely useful info specially the last part :
    ) I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain information for a long
    time. Thank you and good luck.

  6. Let the real “Leo” guide you how to create a scam-crowd-funding campaign and earn millions $$ of dollars, and how this campaign achieved $1.5m dollars of funding for a non-existent product:
    41) Step 1: Create a grand scam plan since late last year, using only IGG as the funding platform (not Kickstarter) since the control will be loose. Between Jan to May 2018 was the time to register domain, create website, create facebook page, shoot videos, create product specs, register co-working space for IGG verification purposes
    42) Step 2: Announce a new and non existing hard-to-resist product to draw people’s attention (sorry I do pity those poor, students and the blind who put hope and backed the project), with dirt cheap upgrades and highly desirable combinations of accessories
    43) Step 3: Draw more funds by employing fake causasian Leo demo’ing Gole1 making it convincing that the product/prototype already existed and ready to ship, or at least ready to be manufactured (covers the red flags about badly done website, company reputation, etc.)
    44) Step 4: Draw even more funds by offering incentives and irresistible upgrade to m3 and 16gb, diligently using it as a double-edged sword for reason to delay later (see the architectural and heat sink/fan issues, and possible design problems or components cost later as smart excuses)
    45) Step 5: End the official funding campaign while keeping the InDemand perks going to get more funds, smartly getting the first and largest batch of investments into the bank first, by then it was around late June/early July. Earn extra for income by selling backers’ data to marketing companies i.e. LaunchBoom for email adv and database marketing
    46) Step 6: Keep the hopes high that the perks will deliver in Sep 2018, in a smart attempt to hold on to the funds and ensure lesser chances of IGG discovering, scrapping the campaign and banks chargebacks (thereabout the consistent smash about competitors, trolls, team resigning, stealing of paperwork, gathering of silly allies i.e. Jerry Gunn lol, etc.)
    47) Step 7: Nail the funds and time to sit back and relax by getting lazier in responding to questions/requests. Honoring apologetic delays to Nov 2018 in another smart attempt to avoid issues of bank chargebacks and immediate fraud claims, making it impossible for anyone at all to recover a single cent from their banks
    48) Step 8: Let all hell break loose (see today’s comments), stop responding since there is nothing IGG can do anymore even if they want to, very little to zero chance for banks to issue chargebacks, and let angry backers, campaign destroyers (nanashi, Patrick Lim) and clueless supporters (Jerry Gunn lol) fight among themselves, till all realise the last laugh actually belongs to Leo, good luck fighting
    For those who have been watching and following this campaign but did not fund a single cent, kudos to you! You've passed the test of greed. Remember, nothing in this world is for free and when something is too good to be true, always think twice! Signing off now, going to spend your hard-earned money on round-the-world cruises and Alaskan king crabs for the next 25 years. Yours truly, Leo.

    • LOL!!!! That was by far the best comment to anything I've read in ages!

    • I'm a Backer .... and Yes possibly a sucker too ... clueless ...not likely .... crying and whining doesn't work and if you couldn't afford to lose the money you should not have invested.
      So a Quote: Attitude is everything so pick a good one!

  7. I just could not depart your website prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the standard
    info a person supply on your guests? Is going to be back often in order to investigate cross-check new posts I am sure this post has touched all the internet visitors, its really really nice post on building up new web site.
    I’ll right away grab your rss as I can not to find your email
    subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly permit me recognise so that I
    may subscribe. Thanks.

    • Hello! You can subscribe to the newsletter using the form on the right or bottom of the page.

  8. Campaign Context: Like many great startups e.g. Yeelight, Aqara, Yi, and other Xiaomi related partnerships, this Mi PC World (or Leo to be specific, or "myself" to be delusion-ed), was trying its luck to obtain funding to just to create a few prototypes. And then sell idea to Xiaomi and get a proper license, factory, manpower and network to sell the real stuff once the partnership is sealed. Conveniently "Leo" would name this product as Mi Mini PC, something which Xiaomi hasn't had at the moment, which will make the transition ideal and seamless. Pretty damn great idea actually. The intent was good too.

    In Reality: Greed took over, so much can be done at Indiegogo that has a good reputation of scam campaigns and cheating of backers' hard earned money. So why not, farm the US$1.5m and give nobody nothing at all, rather than go through all the proper business protocol and make losses for the first few years. With minimal effort by intensive marketing, fake Caucasian Leo video creations, shutterstock factory images, endless empty promises and self-demeaning of Chinese values and dignity about competition, the US$1.5m had been quite easy to come by.

  9. The author of this article left out some big points

    1) Months ago they published some pics and said they were the production line. Some users found they were stock pictures taken from the internet. In a haste they posted up different pics and said that they were the production pics. Again someone found they were from a stock video on tech production in China. Caught out twice, they deleted the update.

    2) Someone pointed out the issues with shipping batteries. Their response was that they were going to ship the batteries in bags which conceal the contents from customs x-ray machines

    3) There is a huge 14nm Intel chip shortage at the moment which is heavily effecting supply of the m3-7y30. But some how they managed to get a lot of them. Hhmmm

  10. Also there latest picture supposedly of production, is laughably not a picture of a production line. People holding units the wrong way around, supposedly making them with no parts around them in what's clearly a wharehouse with used paint cans and junk around

    • Yup. Those were my first red flags and I waited for responses and when none came it was an example of yet to come and I dropped out.

    • You should ask a picture of the motherboard design on the Indiegogo page (I think that as a customer, you have the right to have some input about that) . I'm curious to see how they could stack worth of 16GB DDR3 chips, a full Core M3 package and a M-sata connector. (and of course, I would like to know how they sourced Core M3 +16 GB for less than 189$ :3)

      I guess you won't have an answer though :/

  11. Update 14

    posted by Leo Cheung, Mei-ming Nov 2, 2018 • 2:20PM
    11 days ago

    Factory Production

    Hey Backers,

    As promised, we post more pictures of factory production line. Factory have finished 400pcs production. We can ship first lot 1000pcs on 9 Nov.

    Please see the below pictures. I apologize for two months delay.

    1. For US backers, we arrange to ship to US warehouse first and then dispatch from US warehouse. Mini PC will be sent by USPS locally.

    2. For EU backers, we arrange to ship to DE warehouse first to avoid VAT and import tax. We'll send by Parcel Force to UK backers or DHL to other EU backers. Please note only EU union countries can waive VAT and import tax.

    3. For Japanese and rest of countries backers. We'll send by EMS.

    After we ship, we'll send you tracking no. from hi@mipcworld.com. Please pay attention.

    Thanks again for your patience to support. If you like our product, please post the good review comments.

    Mi Mini PC Team

    In ALL fairness ....this needed to be posted.

  12. The Intel M3-7Y30 CPU is an older 2016 design and not involved in the shortage of the NEW 14nm Intel chips... check for yourself:
    Original article ; https://www.tomshardware.com/news/14nm-processor-intel-shortage-9000-series,37746.html

    .... misleading info posted for what purpose?

    • No where in that story does it say the 7y30 is not affected. Furthermore. I now the CEO of GPD nad have been speaking to him about production of their products. He tol me directly that they are heavily affected at the moment by the 7y30 shortage as are OneNetbook who have had to resort to using the 8100Y to make up numbers.

  13. I should also add that when quizeed about what 521GB SSD they were going to provide, Leo stated that it would be a Kingston one. When confronted with the that Kingston didn't make a 512GB SSD of the specific type they mentioned. Leo stated that it's a numbers thing - whatever that means.

    • If this thing exists, it would be probably a eMMC module. I can't see how to fit a M-sata connector on a motherboard of this size (even with a 6'' screen). Check out Gole1 motherboard picture: there is no room for a SSD.

    • David

      Have a look at the GPD WIN 2. It has all those things, 7y30, M2.2242 SSD etc. It's also a 6" screened device and has a much bigger battery to boot along with a number of other things the Mi Mini Pc doesn't have.
      So yeah it's possible space wise.

      But yeah, the other things about what they have said are dodgy. It's worrying

  14. Not a backer but glad I didn't. This is fake. No vulume buttons? Really. The update picture has the same people in the same room as Coolala. Coolingstyle is also the same scam artist. When they said they needed a heat sink they talk about bringing in "air conditioning" expert lol. Get a gole1 it works fine.

  15. Jack Frost....the M3-7Y30 CPU is a 14nm core released in 2016, my mistake here as I believed that only the newer most recent CPU's were affected....

  16. All,

    If you have been wondering what really is going on, let me tell you the dark side of this wonderful crowdfunding sites that were supposed to be of good will, just like any other sites or revenue generating engines.

    People have abused it, abused the trust of it, and used it for cheating, scamming and social engineering. Quite a number of campaigns (could be few tens of them) were operated by a syndicate, professionally trained to engage in online scams and campaigning kickstarters like these i.e. Mi Mini PC, Coolala, and many more.

    Getting some facts right straight and easy,
    - The same production/marketing company is used to make professional videos, product specs, unbelievable invention which are so attractive and irresistible
    - The same physical locations and actors to provide updates
    - The same techniques in socializing and responding to backers, with deliberate intention to misunderstand questions and answer "like a Chinese" e.g. Yes we are excited too!

    Believe it or not, they will not stop. More products or what they call 'inventions' will be out soon that will draw more and many innocent backers for millions of funding.

    No point attacking among yourselves, no point finding Leo, he doesn't exist. It could have been a pretty lady called Leona in some sexy photo. The syndicate operates as a large organization that has enough resources and funding to create scams for ten-fold rewards.

    If you think you have been burnt, be more vigilant the next time or back a trusted company (or at least one that is already selling stuff and only putting up new launches in KS and IGG for additional funding purpose).

    Once again, don't believe for a moment you have been scammed by Leo. This is a large syndicate organization we are talking about with tons of scam professionals creating and working on new scam campaigns as we speak. I don't need you to be smart to decipher what I am saying or form a line of defense claiming this is baseless. Just take 3 steps back and look at the bigger picture. The world is bigger than you think it is. Stay calm. Good luck.

  17. With the form factor of the product, I'm wondering how can one believe that solder 16GB on board is even possible (and i won't mention the Core M3Y710 VRM (yeah, it needs more juice than an Atom). The battery is also something weird. If you refer to the Gole1 motherboard, the battery is not swappable easily (you have to tear down the screen)

    SSD concern : will it be a eMMC module (probably) or a M-sata port (in this case, due to the size of the product, I'm wondering where it will be soldered :3 ) ?

    In a nutshell, the Atom version was doable with the former Gole1 design (though, 8GB will hardly fit on the board) but the core M3 version is probably a scam. Even resize the product to hold a 6'' screen imply refactoring the whole motherboard.

Please log in to comment