Founder Lei Jun says Xiaomi wants to be the world’s top smartphone maker in three years’ time
- The ambitious target was announced just ahead of the company’s launch of its flagship Mi Mix4 smartphone
- Xiaomi recently surpassed Apple to become the world’s No. 2 mobile brand behind Samsung Electronics
Xiaomi, which released its first handset 10 years ago, aims to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor in three years’ time, its founder and CEO Lei Jun said on Tuesday night.
The ambitious target was announced just ahead of the company’s launch of its flagship Mi Mix4 smartphone, which is priced at 4,999 yuan (US$771).
Xiaomi, which has gained ground as Huawei Technologies Co has lost market share under the pressure of US trade sanctions, has surpassed Apple to become the world’s No. 2 mobile brand behind Samsung Electronics, and Lei said Xiaomi’s current priority is to enhance and consolidate this position.
Lei, recalling Xiaomi’s journey to becoming a leading high-end smartphone maker, said Xiaomi’s first generation phone was actually high-end but the success of its value-for-money budget brand Redmi had made consumers identify the company more with the low to mid-tier segment.
The company refocused on high-end smartphones three years ago to develop the Xiaomi 10, which was officially launched in February 2020. Hit by the pandemic, Lei said executives had worried a lot about sales but the company had actually come through strongly with shipment volumes of over 5.77 million as of August, more than double an original target of 2 million.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi earlier said it had signed sprinter Su Bingtian, the first Chinese to qualify in the men’s 100m final at an Olympics, as its brand ambassador.
Sun became a national hero after he qualified for the finals in Tokyo, even though he did not win a medal. He was dubbed Asia’s fastest runner after he won the men’s 100-meter final at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.
The Xiaomi brand deal, announced on Tuesday just hours before its latest smartphone launch, shows the company’s aggressiveness in the domestic consumer market amid the waning fortunes of former top local brand Huawei.
The Hong Kong-listed company did not disclose the cost of signing Su, who finished sixth in the race on August 1.
“Today, I became Xiaomi’s brand ambassador. I’m really happy and proud,” Guangzhou-based sprinter Su said in a video post on Weibo.
Lei Jun is also a sports fan and loves jogging. The billionaire said on Weibo that he was deeply touched by Su’s fighting spirit and pursuit of the ultimate.
With Huawei hobbled by US sanctions, Xiaomi also surpassed Apple for the first time to become the world’s No 2 handset vendor by shipments in the same period, lifted by strong sales in Latin America, Africa and Europe, according to research firm Canalys.
In the second quarter, Xiaomi accounted for 17 per cent of the global market, just behind 19 per cent for market leader Samsung Electronics, followed by Apple with 14 per cent, according to Canalys.
Filling out the top five were Oppo and Vivo, both owned by Dongguan-based BBK Electronics, each holding about 10 per cent of the market.