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Chinese Xiaomi smartphone overtakes Apple in global phone market

Apple store. (Pixabay/Released)
July 16, 2021

The Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has overtaken Apple in the global smartphone market in the second quarter of 2021, according to new data published Thursday by market analytics firm, Canalys.

The Singapore-based Canalys reported Xiaomi now holds the number two spot for global smartphone sales, after having beaten out Apple for the spot. Samsung currently leads the global market with 19 percent of the market share, compared to Xiaomi’s close 17 percent and Apple’s 14 percent. Oppo and Vivvo are virtually tied in fourth place, with about 10 percent of the market share each.

Xiaomi’s newfound number two spot comes after a period of rapid growth for the year. While Samsung grew 15 percent annual growth and Apple saw one percent annual growth, Xiaomi’s annual growth was estimated at 83 percent for the year.

“Xiaomi is growing its overseas business rapidly,” said Canalys Research Manager Ben Stanton. “For example, its shipments increased more than 300% in Latin America, 150% Africa and 50% in Western Europe. And as it grows, it evolves.

Stanton said Xiaomi “is now transforming its business model from challenger to incumbent, with initiatives such as channel partner consolidation and more careful management of older stock in the open market.”

Stanton did note that the Chinese phone company’s average device is price at around 40 percent of the price of a Samsung device and 75 percent of the price of an Apple device.

“So a major priority for Xiaomi this year is to grow sales of its high-end devices, such as the Mi 11 Ultra,” Stanton said. “But it will be a tough battle, with Oppo and Vivo sharing the same objective, and both willing to spend big on above-the-line marketing to build their brands in a way that Xiaomi is not.”

Stanton said all of the top five phone vendors are “fighting hard to secure component supply amid global shortages, but Xiaomi already has its sights set on the next prize: displacing Samsung to become the world’s largest vendor.”

According to CNBC, Xiaomi’s rise may be the result of the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei’s ongoing struggles. Last year, Canalys place Huawei as the smart-phone maker with the largest market share, CNBC reported.

Huawei has been targeted by the U.S. for alleged spying and intellectual property theft on behalf of the communist Chinese government and last year the FCC officially labeled it a national security threat. Huawei has since fallen out of the top-five list, as U.S. sanctions have cut it off from various critical supplies including software and chips. By January CNBC reported Huawei had fallen from the number one to number six spot in smartphone market share as its smartphone shipments dropped 41 percent from its high-point in the second quarter of 2020.

Beyond smartphones, Xiaomi also announced in March that it plans to launch an electric vehicle business.