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Xiaomi Corp shipped 9.2 million smartphones in India in the third quarter to seize a 21 per cent share of the market. Photo: Shutterstock

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi holds onto lead in Indian market despite a decline in shipments, continued government scrutiny

  • Xiaomi shipped 9.2 million smartphones in the third quarter, down 18 per cent from a year earlier, for a 21 per cent share of the market
  • Vivo and Oppo ranked third and fourth in the same quarter in India, behind Samsung, while Realme dropped to fifth place
Xiaomi Corp held onto the top of the leaderboard in India’s vast smartphone market, despite the sector’s overall decline in the third quarter and the government’s increased scrutiny into the operations of Chinese tech firms in the world’s most populous country.
Beijing-based Xiaomi shipped 9.2 million smartphones in the September quarter, down 18 per cent from a year earlier, for a 21 per cent share of the Indian market, the world’s second-largest behind mainland China, according to a report on Friday by tech analyst firm Canalys.

The company’s devices, according to the report, gained traction from July’s online sales ahead of India’s festival season. “Early Monsoon and Independence Day online sales were great opportunities for vendors to clear inventory before heading into the festive season,” Canalys analyst Sanyam Chaurasia said.

Samsung Electronics – the global smartphone industry leader in the third quarter, according to Canalys – ranked second in India with shipments of 8.1 million units, an 11 per cent decline from a year ago, for an 18 per cent market share.
Customers are seen inside one of Xiaomi’s service centres in Delhi, the national capital territory of India. Photo: Shutterstock
Chinese smartphone giants Vivo and Oppo jumped to third and fourth place in the same quarter, with shipments of 7.3 million and 7.1 million units, respectively. Realme dropped to fifth place, with shipments of 6.2 million.

The Canalys report said Oppo was the lone smartphone vendor among the top five to record a positive year-on-year growth, which was 14 per cent in the September quarter.

Overall third-quarter smartphone shipments in India reached 44.6 million units, a 6 per cent decrease from 47.5 million a year ago, dragged down by lacklustre performance in the low-end segment of the market, according to Canalys.

The latest shipment data reflects how major Chinese smartphone vendors remain well-entrenched in the market, while New Delhi continued its crackdown on mainland tech companies – including Xiaomi, Vivo and Huawei Technologies Co – and moved to restrict these firms from selling low-end devices in the South Asian country.

Xiaomi clings to Indian smartphone market as China growth slows

Xiaomi said earlier this month that it was “disappointed” with an Indian court order that froze US$676 million worth of its assets in the country. In August, New Delhi started a coordinated effort to investigate the finances of Chinese companies, which prompted allegations of tax evasion and money laundering.

The High Court of Karnataka in southwestern India had rejected Xiaomi’s appeal seeking interim relief from a court order to seize those assets, a move that the Chinese company said had “effectively halted” its local operations.

India’s federal financial crime agency had earlier frozen those assets in April, accusing Xiaomi of making illegal remittances under the disguise of royalty payments. The company denied any wrongdoing, saying the payments made to US tech firm Qualcomm were legitimate.
Still, Xiaomi has been quick to stamp out any suggestion that it may move its operations out of India to Pakistan. In a tweet on October 7, the company called such speculation as “completely false and baseless”, while reaffirming its “Make in India” commitment.