Xiaomi becomes China’s largest smartphone vendor, pinches first place from Samsung

by: Robert TriggsAugust 5, 2014
Hugo Barra Xiaomi -19

Xiaomi might not be a household brand in Western markets, but the company is making a big name for itself in China. Canalys research estimates that the company became the largest smartphone vendor in China last quarter, beating larger manufacturers, including Samsung, to the top spot.

In the second quarter of the year, Xiaomi captured 14 percent of the market, just ahead of Samsung, Lenovo, and Yulong, who are all on 12 percent each. Huawei takes its place as the fifth largest vendor in China, with an 11 percent share, whilst other manufacturers still make up a healthy 39 percent of the market. This research reflects IDC’s recent findings, which showed shrinking global market shares for Samsung, and growth for many of the industries smaller players.

China unit shipments table Q2 2014

This year, quite a bit of effort has been made to try and understand exactly what is causing declining market shares for the more established smartphone brands, and the consensus seems to be that lower-cost Chinese manufacturers are offering a better performance/price proposition for consumers.

Xiaomi is a prime example of a company profiting from undercutting the premium players. Its budget Redmi series has proven hugely popular in the low-end segment, and Xiaomi’s premium hardware offerings, the Mi3 and the new announced Mi4, are sold at much more affordable prices than Samsung’s hardware. A typical Xiaomi handset will set you back just $100, compared with Samsung’s $500+ price point.

In its poor quarterly earnings report, Samsung acknowledged its sales had suffered due in part to intensified competition from Chinese manufacturers, especially in the mid and low-end categories.

China unit shipments Q2 2014

Although Xiaomi has not quite broken into the top five largest manufacturers in the world, currently there are twelve companies poised to break into the top five, of which Xiaomi is one. Strategy Analytics believes that Xiaomi is set to leapfrog LG into fourth place in the near future.

Xiaomi’s business model has allowed it to sell devices at close to cost, the company then makes its profits through mobile applications and additional purchasable services. This has given the company a unique advantage in certain markets, where consumers are happy to pay less upfront in exchange for premium longer term services.

It is likely that we will see smaller manufacturers continue to steal market share from the big players, especially in price sensitive and emerging markets.

  • Luka Mlinar

    In the last week all i see is Samsung getting it’s ass kicked. Could this be the fall of the giant?

    • MasterMuffin

      As long as they don’t go all Nokia, nope :)

      • Luka Mlinar

        No one can go all Nokia except Nokia. Not unless Microsoft buys another mobile manufacturer.

  • Groud Frank

    Put the squeeze on them. Samsung won’t disappear and I don’t want them too. They are, ATM, the only Android OEM with the prowess to seriously challenge Apple. Hopefully, this will get them to make better products at a lower price point.

    • JamesSB

      “the only ‘ASOP’ Android OEM”

  • ryq24

    People buy samsung before because iPhone is too expensive . Now people buy xiaomi and other Chinese phones because samsung is now considered too expensive. But the biggest casualty on the rise of xiaomi and other Chinese makers are sony and htc.

  • Gorge

    Android OEMs competing for market share, not profits. That’s where Apple dominates. Apple dominates China and Japan. Read here: http://goo.gl/rNlSSC

    • ERYREB

      Apple does very well in Japan. They are not doing well in China. They got a bit of a bump with the China Mobile launch, but since then they’re starting to decline again.

  • Lilith_Black

    It just means that XiaoMi is making decent phones which are cheaper and local (There are quite a large grp of them who believes in supporting local stuff)

    I’m quite skeptical abt the after-care services offered by China manufacturers (the service I have experienced when buying stuff frm online China sellers has never been good) and RedMi is really not that attractive to me :/

  • Mochammad Santaka

    Man, I love this news. Samsung is the only successful Android OEM you say? HOW ABOUT THIS!?

  • Balvinder Makkar

    Coming from nexus 5 stock android…miui is way better in my opinion because its based on user feedback and they implement what user want.
    And here in india it cost half the nexus 5…and it has similar specs as nexus 5

  • Sal

    And this marks the fall of Samsung being king.