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Xiaomi sees sales skyrocket in 2013

2014-01-03 08:25 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing

Chinese phone maker Xiaomi continued its stellar growth in 2013, according to figures released Thursday by Lei Jun, the startup company's founder and CEO.

Sales of Xiaomi's smartphones hit 18.7 million units over the past year, a surge of 160 percent year-on-year, outperforming the 15 million target set at the beginning of the year, Lei said in a post on his Weibo.

In December alone, the sales volume reached 3.23 million, said the post, boasting an elevated annual sales target of at least 40 million for 2014.

For the whole year of 2013, sales revenue rose by 150 percent to 31.6 billion yuan ($5.22 billion). according to the Weibo post. Xiaomi's sales growth far exceeds projections for the global smartphone market, which is seen expanding at an annual rate of 18 percent a year until 2016, according to research firm Canalys.

Xiaomi has six warehouses, 18 flagship retail stores and 436 after-sales outlets nationwide, according to the company.

"To achieve its sales goal won't be difficult if Xiaomi continues its current growth momentum," Wang Jun, an industry analyst with Beijing-based market consultancy Analysys International, told the Global Times Thursday.

Wang expects Xiaomi's market share to go up in 2014, despite a growing rivalry with domestic rivals such as Lenovo and Huawei.

The Beijing-based phone maker has become a major rising star in the smartphone world, as the latest monthly survey by UK-based market research firm Kantar Worldpanel, which polled 15,000 Chinese mobile phone users, revealed Xiaomi passed Lenovo to become the No.2 Android phone vendor in the third quarter after Samsung.

"Xiaomi's success might come from its clever "hungry marketing" gimmicks, but it's also related to Chinese buyers' enthusiasm for [high specification-low price] phone," Craig Yu, an account director at Kantar Worldpanel, said in a research report released in late November.

"People also began to realize that good user experiences don't necessarily come with a hefty price tag," Yu commented in the report.

Samsung and Apple, the two top smartphone vendors globally, remain favored by many Chinese customers, but Xiaomi, among all domestic makers, has gained rising popularity among local buyers opting for affordable, yet powerful gadgets.

Xiaomi's handsets sell for between $130 and $410, much lower than the $740 price tag for the least expensive iPhone 5C model or a Samsung Galaxy Note II, which can retail for $570.

In the third quarter of 2013, Samsung and Apple increased their share of the global smartphone market, holding 32.1 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively, according to figures from US research firm Gartner. Lenovo followed on the two market leaders' tail with a share of 5.1 percent.

In the Chinese market, the world's largest for smartphones, however, domestic brands have increasingly threatened the positions of the two leaders.

During the third quarter, while Samsung topped the market with an 18.4 percent share, Lenovo followed behind with a 12.5 percent share, data from Analysys International showed. Apple only ranked No.8 with a 3.5 percent market share during the period, slightly higher than Xiaomi's 2.5 percent.

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