Xiaomi, a Chinese manufacturer that’s not really heard of much outside of China, took the Chinese market in smartphone sales in Q2 2014. According to the Canalys report, Xiaomi tripled its smartphone sales in Q2 2014 as opposed to the same quarter last year. In contrast, Samsung sold 13.2 million smartphones in Q2, but this is down from the over 16 million smartphones Samsung sold in Q2 2013.
While Xiaomi also beat out Lenovo, Lenovo fared well in Q2 2014, shipping more smartphones than it did a year earlier. Huawei and Yulong did well too, surpassing the number of shipments from a year ago. Only Samsung was hardest hit in the new results.
Xiaomi’s success in China has made the manufacturer the fifth-largest in the world, but there’re a few reasons behind Xiaomi’s success that lie outside of selling smartphones. For one, the company’s got former Google employee Hugo Barra working on its side, and Barra’s made quite a few work relationships in the tech industry that’ll help the company as it tries to expand its reach into Indonesia, India, Turkey, Brazil, The Philippines, Malaysia, and up to an additional 10 markets within the next year.
Next, Xiaomi provides its own user interface (MIUI) that users can help customize by providing feedback to the company on what works, what doesn’t, and what the company can do to make it better. Users feel as though their say matters, something that certainly shows customer appreciation. Xiaomi also sells their phones right at cost but tend to make up in pricing by selling apps and other features to Xiaomi users. Whereas some companies may charge up to $800 or more for a smartphone, Xiaomi’s charged $400-$500 but allows you to spend the additional $300 or $400 on games instead of losing all your money to a smartphone. Xiaomi’s become a success in China, but having such international success in other parts of the world is a different story.
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When the company’s not providing affordable, premium-looking smartphones, Xiaomi is having customer appreciation festivals as a way to say thank you. It is certainly something that’s been unheard of with companies, but Xiaomi’s new trend is what’s changing the market.
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At least in China, Xiaomi’s becoming a big success. One thing that companies like Samsung do have, however, is marketing prowess, and that may prove to be a hard hit for the rising star manufacturer Xiaomi.
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If Samsung can be comforted in one thing, it’s that you don’t have to be a big hit in one country to still be a dominant world player. Apple’s global market share is small, but the country still dominates in the United States. Perhaps Samsung’s fall in China means that Chinese customers have new interests, but Xiaomi’s new success doesn’t translate into a major fall for either Samsung or Lenovo. China is one country, the world consists of many.