HONG KONG: In China, the smartphone battle used to be Samsung versus Apple. But not anymore. Over the summer, Xiaomi took the No. 1 position in China’s competitive market and became the world’s third-largest phone-maker in the process.
People in China expected to buy 500 million smartphones in 2015 — more than three times as many as will be sold in the United States, according to the research firm IDC — Xiaomi is poised to cement its place as one of the most powerful phone-makers in the world’s most important market. Now the company’s founders, who include the Chinese entrepreneur Li Jun and the former Google executive Lin Bin, hope that status will help them take their brand globally.
Though Xiaomi already sells internationally, next year will be the true test of whether it can continue its rise beyond China. Shunning markets like the US and Europe, Lei and Lin are looking at huge developing countries like Brazil and India. And they hope to use e-commerce networks to sell cheap, high-quality phones and recreate their Chinese success.