Lei Jun, founder and CEO of China's mobile-device maker Xiaomi Inc., shows Mi Notes at its launch in Beijing Jan. 15, 2015. Reuters/Jason Lee

Xiaomi Inc. may fall short of its goal of 100 million smartphone shipments for 2015, but it’s still growing at a rate that's making rivals jealous. CEO Lei Jun said the Chinese company may move between 80 million and 100 million phones, with sales expected to soar by 35 percent, to 100 billion yuan ($16 billion), year over year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A member of China’s National People’s Congress, Lei spoke on the sidelines of its annual meeting in Beijing Thursday.

In March last year, Lei was cited as projecting Xiaomi’s handset shipments would climb to 100 million in 2015, with its sales crossing 100 billion yuan. In 2014, the company sold 61.1 million smartphones, which run on a modified version of Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system.

Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion during a funding round in January, when its total valuation rose to about $45 billion. The company is deploying the funds to help it expand beyond China into Brazil, India, Indonesia and Russia. The firm’s largest market outside China, India, will remain at the center of Xiaomi’s expansion this year, the Wall Street Journal quoted Lei as saying.

Ramping up sales in India, the world’s third-biggest smartphone market, could be critical as Xiaomi faces increasing competition from Lenovo Group and Huawei Technology Co. in China, which is satiated with commodity handsets, but showing a voracious appetite for premium devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Thanks to its Motorola Mobility acquisition, Lenovo has also seen strong sales in India. It’s likely to get another boost with the arrival of the 4G versions of the popular Moto E and Moto G handsets in the coming months. Meanwhile, Huawei opened a new research-and-development center in India’s tech capital Bangalore this year. The center is Huawei’s largest outside China.