If you are to rule the world as a smartphone manufacturer, there is one main market you must take over – China. It’s the future home of technology and a massive economy where your business can truly flourish. This is why we were all so hopeful for Xiaomi, a small smartphone maker which managed to reach the #1 spot in said country.
Many of us consider Xiaomi “China’s Apple” or “the next big thing”, but it turns out the original Apple continues to be a main threat even in Xiaomi’s own turf. A recent study from IDC proves that Apple has surpassed Xiaomi’s shipment volumes and market share in China for Q1 of 2015.
During this time, Apple shipped about 14.5 million units, while Xiaomi fell behind at 13.5 million shipments. These manufacturing giants are followed by Huawei and Samsung at 11.2 and 9.6 million shipments, relatively. Apple also took first place on market share by taking 14.7% of the quarter’s population. Xiaomi managed to take 13.7%.
This shows a massive growth on Apple’s accounts, with an estimated increase of 62.1% year-over-year. Some credit this victory to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus‘ larger screens, which seem to be rather popular in emerging markets. Regardless of the reasons, we have to wonder how Xiaomi’s future will look.
Does this represent a danger to Xiaomi?
It’s natural for a Xiaomi fan to start worrying about this, but we should think things through with a calm mind and really look at how things are before freaking out. For starters, Xiaomi is not really competing with Apple… right? I mean, they are in the sense that pretty much everyone is competing with Apple, but they are really serving different audiences.
Xiaomi devices are affordable, while Apple continues catering to the high-end market. The Chinese company is about bringing something new to the table. It’s a copycat that knows how to differentiate itself. In that sense, Apple is really no huge threat, because those who like Xiaomi like it for good reasons, and won’t be leaving.
We must also consider how Xiaomi does business. Apple is a world leader, and so selling 14.5 million units in a country is not as significant. They have the resources and power to expand at whatever speed they want. The big difference with Xiaomi is that it throttles itself in a smarter way, in order to not bite more than it can chew.
Xiaomi is extra careful with its stock; they want to make sure demand is always higher than supply. They can sell out in a matter of minutes and have managed to break a Guinness World Record for selling billions in hours.
Would Xiaomi do better if it expanded at Apple speeds? We are not certain, but I would be willing to put some money on that bet.
Xiaomi’s counter attack
The point I am trying to make is that this is not really a defeat for Xiaomi. It’s just a demonstration of how huge Apple is, world-wide. Xiaomi continues to build a name for itself and is expanding at its own pace. They have been growing and reaching multiple Asian markets. Their recent announcement of piercing the Latin American market is also a huge demonstration of where they are going.
Once they reach America, it will be hard to beat Xiaomi’s offerings. Especially when they land in the USA, which they are already planning to do. Xiaomi will not be selling phones in the USA at first, but as we said, they are all about taking careful, baby steps.
Things should balance out as Xiaomi continues to gain expansion power. We will accept the battle could be getting more fierce in China, though, a market Apple has been very interested in lately. I mean, Apple CEO Tim Cook even joined Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) soon after these numbers came in.
At the end of the day, true geeks will realize how valuable Xiaomi is as a company, and how much bang their devices can offer for your buck. Not to mention, many of us are tired of Apple’s ongoing empire. My money will go towards Xiaomi when they come to the USA – where will yours go?