In a battle on the scale of David versus Goliath, it turns out that Xiaomi, a smartphone manufacturer that has been in the business for a brief four years, has surpassed the tech giant that is Samsung in terms of smartphone sales in China.
The news, reported by analyst firm Canalys, comes hot on the heels of another report that claimed that Xiaomi has now become the fifth largest smartphone vendor in the world. Good news all round, then.
It was in the second quarter of this year that the company overtook Samsung, earning 14% of the market. Samsung, which has been the outright leader since 2012, earned 12% during the same quarter. Lenovo took third place.
As a Chinese manufacturer, the company has the home advantage. However, Xiaomi has surprised onlookers by releasing a range of high-end handsets – among them the recently announced Mi4 – to a market that analysts believe is more suited to entry-level devices.
Consequently, Samsung continues to dominate the entry-level sector with its vast range of affordable smartphones. Xiaomi’s affordable Redmi series of phones has also performed well, hitting sales of 15 million. Overall, the manufacturer sold an impressive 26.1 million handsets.
Xiaomi certainly knows how to drum up attention for its high-end devices, often releasing them in limited quantities to build up demand. More importantly, the devices offer great features at affordable rates – even for a high-end handset.
The Mi4, for example, is priced at an attractive CN ¥1,999 (roughly £189). For that amount, you get a 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 1080p full HD 5-inch display, a 13MP rear-facing camera and an 8MP front-facing snapper. Add to that 4G LTE capability and a powerful 3,080 mAh battery and you have a solid smartphone with a great design.
All eyes are on Xiaomi now and it will be interesting to see what it does next. It has already announced plans to expand to several international markets, but there has been no word on whether it will make it to important regions such as the US and UK.
Meanwhile, Samsung has been met with a fair bit of bad news of late. Earlier this month, the manufacturer reported that its profits had dipped by 25% and that the remaining year would be “a challenge”.