Xiaomi overtakes LG and Lenovo but Samsung and Apple still dominate

30 Oct 2014

The Xiaomi Mi4. Image via Xiaomishop.com

Xiaomi has leapfrogged past LG and Lenovo to land in third place in a list of the world’s top 5 smartphone producers.

Despite Samsung and Apple still being streets ahead at the top, their combined overall share is declining (Apple, on its own, is up) and the presence of the Chinese company on the podium is confirmed by two separate smartphone reports.

“Xiaomi was the star performer in the quarter,” said Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics, one of the two companies releasing these figures.

“Xiaomi’s Android smartphone models are wildly popular in the Chinese market. Xiaomi’s next step is to target the international market,” he said, with Strategy Analytics including a second Chinese producer, Huawei Technologies, in the top 5 at the expense of Lenovo.

Elsewhere, IDC’s figures largely concurred, with Lenovo replacing Huawei. IDC found smartphone shipments are up over a quarter worldwide, largely driven by operators currently trailing in Samsung and Apple’s wake.

“The next three vendors – Xiaomi, Lenovo, and LG Electronics – all posted market-beating growth and with markedly different strategies,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s mobile phone team.

“This shows that there is still room to compete in this market, whether it be in the low end as Lenovo has done, at the high end where Xiaomi competes, or in both as LG Electronics has shown. Beyond the top 5, there are a number of other vendors achieving similar results.”

Key to Xiaomi’s recent success was the launch of its Mi4 smartphone in August, according to IDC, which was positioned as a high-end alternative to the current market leaders.

“What remains to be seen is how quickly the company can move beyond its home territories to drive volumes higher.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic