Xiaomi Becomes World’s Third Largest Smartphone Company

by Matt Klassen on November 3, 2014

For years smartphone makers have been looking at China as the next great frontier of mobile growth, a country with an established wireless network virtually untouched by various popular brands and providers that have saturated many other nations. As a testament to just how lucrative the Chinese smartphone market truly is one needs to look no further than one of that nation’s home grown smartphone makers, Xiaomi.

Three months ago, despite its relative obscurity, the diminutively named Xiaomi (literally, little rice) shocked the world when it not only surpassed Samsung for smartphone sales insideChina, but became the fifth largest smartphone company by sales in the world.

But Xiaomi didn’t stop there, and now, according to IDC’s latest figures, the Chinese company now accounts for 5 percent of global smartphone sales, numbers that are enough to place the firm now in third spot behind established incumbents Samsung and Apple, surpassing other global competitors like LG and Lenovo…and Xiaomi did it all without even leaving Asia.

As The Verge writer Vlad Savov explains, “Xiaomi’s rise has been remarkable both for how quick it has been and for the fact that the company still operates primarily in its home market ofChina. It has recently broadened its reach to adjacent countries in Southeast Asia likeIndiaandSingapore, but its growth remains testament to the incredible explosion in smartphone demand thatChinais experiencing.”

But Xiaomi’s rise to power is not all due to the company’s low cost, Apple-mimicking approach to the smartphone game, as the company’s rise coincides with the continued fall of Samsung, as the Korean firm was the biggest loser of the day. According to a separate study from Strategy Analytics, while also noting Xiaomi’s exponential growth the report highlighted Samsung’s fall from grace, showing the company ceded approximately 10 percentage points in the global market, meaning Samsung has gone controlling a third of the global market a year ago to only a quarter of the market today.

Apple, as it always does, remained steady, showing some growth on the back of its newly released iPhone products, enough to offset its annual slowdown for sure. TheCupertinoCompany remained firmly ensconced in second place. The other larger competitors, notably LG, Huawei, and Lenovo, continue to jockey for inclusion in the top five. Although it should be noted, that Xiaomi will likely fall to fourth spot come the next round of reports, given that Lenovo has now closed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which should put it in third spot going forward.

But back to Xiaomi, the company has shown, like Samsung before it I suppose, that global smartphone domination is achievable through a patented mix of low cost options and high tech features, particularly features that feel like they’re from a much more expensive phone. While the Chinese company has said it will continue to expand internationally, don’t expect to see Xiaomi branded phones here in North America, as global VP Hugo Barra told The Wall Street Journal this week that the United States does not figure in the company’s expansion plans.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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