Xiaomi Inc., which recently did a toe dip in the U.S., surpassed Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to become the top mobile phone seller in China for 2014, data from market researcher International Data Corp. showed on Tuesday.
The four year-old Chinese company’s blazing growth will likely see stiffer competition in 2015 as domestic rivals including Huawei Technology Co., which also saw market share gains, ramp up online sales and introduce new models, and the popularity of Apple’s iPhone 6 grows.
Xiaomi more than doubled its market share in 2014 to 12.5 percent from 5.3 percent in 2013. Samsung saw its market share erode to 12.1 percent at the end of 2014 from 18.1 percent in 2013. Lenovo Group Ltd., Huawei and Coolpad Communications Ltd. made up the rest of the top five in that order, for the full year.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has said the company wants to sell a 100 million smartphones this year, compared with about 61 million in 2014. The company raised $1.1 billion in its most recent funding round at a staggering $45 billion valuation, and is trying to expand as fast as it can make its phones into India, Indonesia and Brazil.
Selling phones in the U.S. is still a few years away, Hugo Barra, the company’s vice president of international operations, a former Google Inc. executive, has said, but Xiaomi will start selling smaller accessories such as its smartband and earphones via its Mi.com online shop.
Overall, 107.5 million smartphones were shipped to China in the fourth quarter of 2014, a two percent sequential growth, taking the full-year total to 420.7 million, IDC said in a press release.
While 3G phone shipments were affected by a cut operator subsidy, the market expanded due to growth in 4G handset sales. And while the share of phones sold through operators dropped, the proportion of phones sold through online shops increased to double-digit percentage from single-digit in 2013, Tay Xiaohan, a senior market analyst at IDC said in the press release.
“Apple's launch of larger screen sized phones also helped to contribute to the increase in shipments,” Tay said.
IDC expects smartphone shipments in China to rise another 10 percent this year over 2014.