Xiaomi beats Samsung as top smartphone vendor in India

Xiaomi beats Samsung in India
The logo of Xiaomi is seen inside the company's office in Bengaluru, India, January 18, 2018 REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

Chinese electronics company Xiaomi finally beats Samsung Electronics Co.Ltd as the top smartphone seller in India. The milestone comes for the first time after the South Korean technology giant's six years of reign.

Data of two research firms--Counterpoint Research and Canalys--have agreed that Xiaomi outgunned Samsung sales-wise in the final quarter of 2017. Both entities have credited Xiaomi's aggressive localized approach thought to have snatched the crown from Samsung.

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Counterpoint's Tarun Pathak tells Reuters that Xiaomi's hardline move to offer a line of high-spec handsets as well as its market expansion strategy contributed well to its recent success. The Chinese company, currently valued at approximately US$100b, has been operating in India for three years.

Looking back to the year-end holiday season in 2017, Xiaomi heavily relied on flash sales on e-commerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon.com in India. It catapulted the brand to the top even without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on brick-and-mortar marketing.

Counterpart estimated Xiaomi's phone market share in the country at 25 percent in the fourth quarter based on shipments, while Samsung secured 23 percent share. Lenovo, Oppo and Vivo round out the first five, each with around 6 per cent share.

Canalys quantified Xiaomi's shipments at 8.2 million units (27 percent) in the fourth quarter and Samsung at 7.3 million (25 percent). Despite that, Samsung still remains the best-selling smartphone vendor in India for the year.

"Multiple factors have contributed to Xiaomi's growth, but the key reason for its current success lies in the autonomy that it granted its Indian unit, letting it run the business locally," says Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt.

This article was first published on January 25, 2018
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