Xiaomi takes the lead as top-selling smartphone brand in China, overtaking Samsung and Apple

By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 05, 2014 07:43 AM EDT

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Xiaomi is rapidly gaining ground and has risen to No. 1 in its home country, dethroning Samsung as the top-selling smartphone brand.

"China's Apple," as it's often referred to, Xiaomi may not enjoy Samsung or Apple's popularity in the West, but its sales achievement speaks for itself. Xiaomi overtook Samsung to become the top selling smartphone brand in China during the second quarter, according to market research firm Canalys.

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On Monday, Aug. 3, Canalys reported that Xiaomi sold 15 million smartphones in China during the second quarter, which marks more than a three-fold increase compared to the same period last year. The company outperformed Samsung, which was No. 1 in China for more than two years, as well as other local brands such as Lenovo and Huawei.

Samsung's smartphone sales in China for the second quarter (April - June) dropped from 15.5 million last year to 13.2 million this year. Lenovo, meanwhile, trailed behind Samsung by a margin of two million units.

"Bolstered by the booming sales of its low-cost RedMi range, Xiaomi saw its second-quarter sales in China explode by 240% from a year earlier, taking a 14% share in the world's largest smartphone market, Canalys said in the report," MarketWatch reveals.

"On the other side, Samsung's slide to second place in China 'reflects rapidly shifting demand toward 4G handsets,' due to a 4G push by China Mobile, the nation's largest mobile carrier, the report said."

"As Samsung is seeking to 'realign its channel inventory to meet changing demand' for more 4G handsets, it could show improvement in the third quarter. But, Canalys said, 'with the market in China becoming even more competitive, it will not be straightforward [for Samsung] to reestablish leadership.'"

Xiaomi is not that well-known in North America or Europe because it sells the large majority of its devices in mainland China. Nevertheless, its impressive growth in China alone boosted Xiaomi as one of the world's top five smartphone makers.

Canalys further noted that China was the world's largest smartphone market during the second quarter, with nearly 4 in every 10 smartphones sold in the country.

Xiaomi made a name for itself as its products became increasingly popular, marking impressive sales achievements for the company. Xiaomi devices boast high-end specs and features comparable to those of other top-notch flagships out there, but come at the fraction of the cost of those flagships. The latest Xiaomi Mi4, for instance, draw lots of interest worldwide upon its unveiling, and will surely boost the company's success even further.

Samsung, meanwhile, reported last week that it saw its lowest quarterly profit in two years for the second quarter. The company said it faced stronger competition from local brands in China, as well as weaker demand for its 3G devices as Chinese consumers shifted to 4G handsets.

Apple was also among the top 10 smartphone brands in China, which means that Xiaomi outperformed both Samsung and Apple in the country. It's also worth pointing out, however, that Apple and Samsung were the only two non-Chinese vendors to make the top 10 smartphone brands in China. According to Canalys, Apple jumped 58 percent from a year earlier, selling 6.8 million iPhones in the second quarter.



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