Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi has surpassed Apple for the first time to become the world’s second-largest vendor by handset shipments in the second quarter, lifted by strong sales in Latin America, Africa and Europe, according to the latest numbers from research firm Canalys.
The Beijing-based smartphone brand accounted for 17 per cent of the global market, trailing only Samsung Electronics’ 19 per cent, according to the report. Apple came in third with 14 per cent for the quarter. Filling out the top five were Oppo and Vivo, both owned by Dongguan-based BBK Electronics, which each had about 10 per cent of the market.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun took to microblogging site Weibo to celebrate the news on Thursday. “Let me share with you all some incredibly good news,” he posted. “Xiaomi’s phone shipments surpassed Apple and became world’s No 2 for the first time.”
China’s biggest smartphone brand continues to see its strongest growth in emerging markets, with 300 per cent growth in Latin America and 150 per cent in Africa, according to Canalys. It also grew 50 per cent in western Europe. “As it grows, it evolves,” Canalys research manager Ben Stanton said in a statement. “It is now transforming its business model from challenger to incumbent.”
Notably absent from the top five was telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co. Once China’s largest smartphone brand, the company has been hobbled by US sanctions. It is a stark reversal for the brand that briefly topped Samsung in the second quarter last year to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor.
Xiaomi’s growth continues to come primarily from budget-friendly devices, as it has struggled to make significant headway in the premium smartphone market. The average price of a Xiaomi handset was about 40 per cent to 75 per cent cheaper than the price of Samsung or Apple phones, according to Canalys.
The biggest challenge for Xiaomi, though, is the same one facing all gadget makers this year: the global chip shortage. “The increase in semiconductor prices is a challenge for all manufacturers,” Xiaomi president Wang Xiang said in a conference call in March, adding that it could result in higher smartphone prices, Reuters reported.
Despite all vendors sharing this struggle, global smartphone shipments rose 12 per cent in the second quarter, according to Canalys.
In the first quarter, Xiaomi saw profits rise by more than 260 per cent, according to financial filings, and the company said it expects to meet its target of shipping 200 million smartphones this year.