Chinese Newcomer Xiaomi Wants To Sell 40 Million Smartphones In 2014

Budget-friendly, Android-powered devices are taking China by storm

Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi is hoping to more than double smartphone sales in 2014, said its co-founder and CEO Lei Jun.

According to the post on the Sina Weibo social network, the company wants to shift 40 million handsets in the next 12 months in order to challenge the dominance of Apple and Samsung.

Xiaomi was founded in 2010, and just three years later became the fifth most popular smartphone brand in China – the world’s largest mobile device market. The company has been repeatedly accused of copying Apple, with Jun allegedly cultivating his public image to appear similar to Steve Jobs.

Great expectations 

Privately owned Xiaomi released its first smartphone, the MI-One, in 2011. The company quickly gained market share in mainland China thanks to its cheap devices based on Google’s Android OS, with local information added through the proprietary MIUI interface.

XiaomiOn 25 September 2013, Xiaomi announced plans to open its first ever retail store in Beijing. Outside of China, Xiaomi smartphones are sold in New Zealand and Australia, and can be ordered from Mobicity in the UK.

In his post, Jun announced that the company had shipped 18.7 million smartphones in 2013 – about 60 percent more than in 2012. This year, Xiaomi is aiming higher, expecting to sell “at least” 40 million handsets. In comparison, Apple sold nine million iPhone 5S and 5C units in the first three days they appeared on the shelves.

Jun also revealed that the company’s sales revenues grew 150 percent in 2013, to 31.6 billion Yuan (£3.16 billion).

In August, Hugo Barra, vice president of product management for Android at Google, announced he was leaving the US company to work at Xiaomi. His resignation was tendered before it emerged Google co-founder Sergey Brin had separated from his wife and was now involved with Barra’s former girlfriend.

Barra previously confirmed that Xiaomi was opening an office in Singapore as part of its expansion out of China.

Meanwhile, Apple has just signed a distribution deal with China Mobile. The initial customer response has come below expectations, with a relatively modest 100,000 pre-orders in two days for phones on a monthly contract.

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