Xiaomi Now The World’s Third Biggest Smartphone Maker, Says IDC

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Xiaomi is now the world’s third largest smartphone maker, due in large part to the success of its high-end Mi4, says new research by IDC. This is also the first time that Xiaomi has broken into the research firm’s list of the top 5 smartphone makers in the world. Samsung remains at the lead despite declining shipment volume, followed by Apple, Xiaomi, and Lenovo and LG, which tied for fourth place. A new report by Strategy Analytics also puts Xiaomi in the number three position.

Its focus on China and adjacent markets like Southeast Asia helped boost Xiaomi into the top 5 by resulting in triple-digit year-over-year growth in Q3 2014. IDC said that the launch of Xiaomi’s flagship phone MI4, which is meant to compete against Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Apple’s iPhone, in August was key to its success. But while Xiaomi is doing well in China and other Asian countries, it’s still unclear how well it will fare in other markets where it faces greater competition from Samsung and Apple.

In Q3 2014, vendors shipped a total of 327.6 million units, an increase of 25.2 percent from the same period a year ago, and 8.7 percent from the Q2 2015.

“Despite rumors of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes. We’ve finally reached a point where most developed markets are experiencing single-digit growth while emerging markets are still growing at more than 30 percent collectively,” said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

While Samsung remained the world’s leading smartphone makers, IDC said it was the only company in the top five to see shipment volume decline year-over-year, thanks to competition as well as “cooling demand for its high-end devices.” Its main volume drivers for the quarter were mid-range and low-end devices, which means its average sales price also fell.

The launch of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 Plus, meanwhile, pushed Apple to its largest third-quarter volume ever. While its brand new models sold 10 million units during their first launch weekend, there continued to be high demand for the iPhone 5s and 5c, which made up the bulk of Apple’s volume for the quarter.

Lenovo’s sales volumes were helped by the success of models like the A369i and A316, which cost less than $100 and are targeted at emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the Middle East and Africa. Its non-China shipments reached 20 percent in Q3 2014, up 9 percent from a year ago. LG’s growth was also fueled by low-cost smartphones, which helped it push its total volume past the 15 million for the first time ever.