Xiaomi‘s name may mean “little rice” in Chinese, but it’s not so little anymore. According to a report from Canalys, Xiaomi has surpassed Samsung as China’s top smartphone maker, thanks to massive growth over the past year.
The report says that in the second quarter, Xiaomi shipped 15 million smartphones in China, up from 4.4 million devices, or 240%, in the same period a year ago. Samsung, meanwhile, shipped 13.2 million smartphones in the second quarter, down from 15.5 million a year ago. The other top smartphone makers were Lenovo, Yulong, and Huawei.
This means that Xiaomi now holds a 14% share of China’s smartphone market. Canalys says that in Q2 2014, China, the world’s largest smartphone market, accounted for 37% of global shipments, or 108.5 million units. Eight out of the ten top smartphone vendors in China were domestic companies, including Xiaomi, Lenovo, Yulong, Huawei, BBK, ZTE, OPPO, and K-Touch, which together shipped 70.7 million units and took a 65% market share. Samsung and Apple, the only international players on the list, accounted for 20 million units, or 18% of the smartphone market in China.
Xiaomi has previously said that it hopes to sell 60 million handsets this year, and 100 million devices next year.
According to Canalys research analyst Jingwen Wang, Xiaomi’s success in Q2 2014 was helped “by an unanticipated, temporarily under-strength Samsung performance during the quarter.”
“But this is only half the story–Xiaomi has also executed on its strategy to grow volume shipments. It has delivered compelling products at aggressive price points, focused chiefly on its locally relevant MIUI software features and services, backed by effectively targeted marketing.”
Arguably, Xiaomi has been able to deliver “compelling products at aggressive price points” by taking many cues from (many critics argue outright copying) successful competing devices and then selling them at cost. As TechCrunch’s Matt Burns noted last week, Xiaomi can sell its hardware below the market average by spending very little on advertising and for the most part avoiding selling its products in stores, depending on direct consumer sales instead.