Xiaomi’s India sales pass $1 billion as Chinese brands hold sway

Xiaomi says it grew shipments by almost 150% in 2016, selling two million smartphones in the third quarter alone


The company had focused on India since failing to meet sales targets and dropping to number four in a home market it once led. Photo: Bloomberg
The company had focused on India since failing to meet sales targets and dropping to number four in a home market it once led. Photo: Bloomberg

Bengaluru: Xiaomi Corp. surpassed $1 billion in annual India revenue two years after selling its first smartphone in the country, as Chinese names begin to dominate the world’s fastest-growing major market at the expense of local players.

Xiaomi said it grew shipments by almost 150% in 2016, selling two million smartphones in the third quarter alone. The company had focused on India since failing to meet sales targets and dropping to number four in a home market it once led.

India is increasingly attracting foreign players as global demand stagnates. Apple Inc. is said to be exploring ways to expand its business there. Chinese companies in particular went on an advertising blitz in 2016, touting superior specifications at affordable prices.

That helped Chinese brands from Xiaomi and Oppo to Lenovo Group Ltd. account for 51% of smartphone shipments in November, according to Counterpoint Research. In contrast, local names such as Micromax Ltd. saw their share dive to less than 20% from a high of over 40% earlier in the year. Samsung Electronics Co. held onto top spot in the country.

Xiaomi assembles over three-quarters of its Indian smartphones in the country under the government’s “Make in India” program. Oppo, currently the sales leader in China, is planning to invest 1.5 billion yuan ($217 million) on its own industrial park in India within two to three years, with an initial output of 50 million units, Caixin reported last month. This week, local rival OnePlus will open its first store in India, in Bengaluru. Bloomberg

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