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Xiaomi phone sales boomed in 2020 at HUAWEI's expense

One phone giant's loss is another's gain.

Published onMarch 24, 2021

Xiaomi Mi 11 front against floor
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Xiaomi had an exceptional 2020, with profits up by more than 28% and over 10 million ‘premium’ phones sold.
  • Its TV business dominated mainland China, too.
  • The company’s success came in part from HUAWEI converts.

It’s no secret that Xiaomi had a banner year in 2020, but it’s now clear just how rapidly the company grew. Xiaomi has reported “stellar” results for 2020, helped in no small part by strong phone sales — and likely the downfall of its arch-rival HUAWEI.

The company’s profit surged 28.7% in 2020 to RMB36.8 billion (about $5.6 billion) on the back of a 19.4% jump in raw revenue to RMB245.9 billion ($37.7 billion). Phone sales played a huge role, Xiaomi said. The company sold about 10 million “premium” phones, or devices costing over RMB3,000 ($460). It didn’t say how many budget Redmi phones it sold, but it’s safe to presume there was strong demand.

Read more: The best Xiaomi phones you can buy

International expansion and living room efforts also helped the Chinese tech giant’s bottom line. Overseas revenue jumped a sharp 34.1% in 2020, and Xiaomi dominated Chinese TV shipments as well as the country’s sales of 70-inch and larger sets. Xiaomi’s shipments put it in the top five worldwide.

There’s a good chance some of this success stemmed from HUAWEI’s decline, though.  The US trade ban hobbled HUAWEI’s business in 2020, with Chinese market share plunging from 41% at the start of the year to ‘just’ 30% at the end, according to Counterpoint. Xiaomi’s share grew a more modest two points to 13% by the end of that year, but that was a significant achievement when even heavyweight brands like OPPO and vivo struggled to make any progress.

Just how the company fares in 2021 is unclear, although there’s reason to suggest it will thrive. Flagship phones like the Mi 11 are bound to drive Xiaomi’s sales, and HUAWEI could easily continue its plunge as it runs out of high-end chips and sees the full effects of selling the HONOR badge. There’s lots of room to grow, and it may just be a question of how well Xiaomi capitalizes on that opportunity.

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