This phone brand you’ve likely never seen, has overtaken Samsung in China

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

xiaomi-1When most of us think of getting a new smartphone, the list of phones we go for has the obvious; iPhones if we have the money (or if we just want to buy off the street), Samsung is next, then maybe HTC, Nokia, Motorola, and maybe LG and Sony Ericsson.

The name Xiaomi doesn’t feature anywhere close. And yet this smartphone brand has just beat Samsung to become the largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world’s largest smartphone market. The data is for Q2 2014 and was released by independent research firm Canalys.

Outside Asia, Xiaomi is little known. In fact, only the most curious few have ever seen, let alone held a Xiaomi device. In no surprise actually, the company ships about 97% of its phones into mainland China. Xiaomi sold 15 million phones in China in that quarter alone, effectively taking 14% market share in the country. Samsung, which previously held 18% market share previously, had their share reduced to just 12%.

Globally Xiaomi has risen to the 5th largest smartphone maker. Samsung is still ahead worldwide ofcourse, with Apple, Huawei and Lenovo in number 2, 3, and 4 respectively.

On why  Xiaomi is beating Samsung in China, Canalys says it’s aggressive pricing and and local relevance:

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

MIUI, the platform, is a heavily customised version of Google’s Android operating systems that is made by Xiaomi. It is made primarily for the Chinese market, with a lot of locally relevant services and apps. Canalys admits that outside China, Xiaomi’s key value proposition is eroded without the locally relevant services it offers atop MIUI.

Have you tried to get a Xiaomi? What was your experience? If not, will this make you want to try one?


  1. Nicholas Moyo

    Are you marketing for them or what ? Go Samsung no Jing Jong in my hand.

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      lol, not marketing for them. You read the Canalys report?

      1. Br@1Ny

        You shld try 1plus1 its the best phone after even Iphone inodedera……

        1. ic0n1c

          Ya the 1plus1 beats all these other zhingzhongs..

    2. Farai

      Research well. Some of Samsung and iPhone components are made in China. I wonder if you call those jing jongs as well

      1. Doug

        Good point.

      2. Llodza

        They might be made in China but they are designed in Europe and USA. It’s like us manufacturing Surf and Coca Cola; the recipes come from UniLever UK and USA respectively. An iPhone has never been made in the USA but in China. An iPhone is made from screens and some chips made by Samsung so it doesn’t make it a Samsung. It still beats Samsung hands down.
        Locally, Olivine lost franchises when it changed hands yet it still had the same staff and machinery!

  2. Sekuru Kaguvi

    Interesting piece L.S.M. This just goes to show that by understanding your market and driving products focused on what is relevant to the market at that time, even perceived giants and global leaders can be overtaken. Samsung is stretched, from dealing with a broader market globally to competing with the rest of the smart phone markers that run on Android and toppling iPhone for the niche market, their focus on the local community has waned and Xiaomi has seen an opportunity and taken it. It would be nice for an African player to do like wise, study the current African market, say Southern Africa and then tailor make a suit of products directed towards that market.

  3. Castro

    Local is lekker… Wish Astro would do the same and concentrate on localizing their software….

  4. chimunhu

    l dont get it when pple think anything made in China is fake that phone is really good they also have other brands that are really doing well look at Lenovo, ZTE,Huawei

  5. Cyber T

    Viva China..Viva ZTE..1plus1 ..etc look they brought affordability..and many pple (Zimbos) are Whatsapping and Googling

  6. painrude

    “Sony Ericsson” really, wc meizovic Era are you living in?

  7. Yussuf Ouedrago

    I have a Xiaomi android phone that I bought in 2012, very strong screen and battery, powerful processor, that brand is a hit in Asia

  8. thesquid

    xiaomi’s rom is good, actually way better than google’stock rom. its flush smooth and it has the perfomance and feel wch is almost at par with Apple’s IOS.. I’v not used Xiaomi but i’v used the Miui rom om my SGS2, i loved the experience..

  9. Alex Thompson

    Have heard about this new smartphone Xiaomi. It is well reviewed by the customers.

  10. Muju01

    People still buy Sony Ericsons?
    I thought the partnership dissolved a few years back and now Sony produces phones on its own.Correct me if I’m wrong.