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Lenovo overtakes rival Xiaomi as top-selling Chinese smartphone brand in India

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 August, 2015, 1:08pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 August, 2015, 1:32pm

As Xiaomi announced that it was beginning manufacturing in India, new statistics show that it and rival Huawei have both been overtaken by Lenovo as the top Chinese smartphone maker in the subcontinent. 

Lenovo was the lone Chinese brand among India’s top-five smartphone suppliers in the quarter ended June 30.

Data from technology research firm IDC showed that smartphone shipments to India increased 44 per cent in the second quarter to 26.5 million units, up from 18.4 million in the same period last year.

READ MORE: Xiaomi starts making phones in India through partnership with Apple supplier Foxconn

Kiranjeet Kaur, the research manager at IDC's Asia-Pacific mobile phone team, said Chinese suppliers Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei and Gionee accounted for 12 per cent of the total smartphones shipped last quarter.

“As China started to slow down, most vendors from that country targeted India as the next big growth market for smartphones,” Kaur said. 

It was Lenovo, the world’s largest supplier of personal computers, which made it among the top-five brands in the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market last quarter.

Lenovo, which acquired Google’s Motorola Mobility smartphone business last year, captured a 6 per cent market share to rank fifth among India’s biggest smartphone suppliers, according to IDC.

That feat was helped by the wide distribution of both Lenovo- and Motorola-branded models through Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart.

IDC said Lenovo’s entry-level 4G smartphone models, the A6000 and A7000, saw strong demand after only initially being available online.

Lenovo’s role as the leading Chinese smartphone brand in India will likely be short-lived. Xiaomi has already started production in the country through contract manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry, more widely known under its trade name Foxconn.

Founded in Beijing in 2010, Xiaomi is the world’s most valuable start-up, worth an estimated US$45 billion after it raised US$1.1 billion from investors in December.

Xiaomi has also been the most aggressive smartphone supplier to build up its presence in India via e-commerce. 

Apart from being available for purchase on Xiaomi’s nascent online retail platform in India, the company’s smartphones can also be purchased from Indian e-commerce players Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, Xiaomi was the sole Chinese smartphone supplier among India’s top brands after it ranked fifth with a 4 per cent market share.

Kiran Kumar, the research manager at IDC’s India mobile phone team, said on Tuesday that electronic retailers like Flipkart “have opened additional avenues for growth for many vendors in India, who would have otherwise struggled to get a hold in the [country’s] complex distribution network”.

Samsung Electronics remained India’s smartphone market leader in the quarter ended June 30, with a 23 per cent share.

Indian smartphone suppliers Micromax, Intex and Lava followed with respective market shares of 17 per cent, 11 per cent and 7 per cent.

Almost 50 per cent of all the smartphones sold in India last quarter retailed for under US$100.

In an IDC report last month, Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo ranked among the world’s top-five smartphone suppliers behind Samsung and Apple.