Xiaomi comes roaring back thanks to focus on Indian market

Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi reckons it shipped 23.16 smartphones in Q2 2017, a 58% increase on the same period a year ago.

The announcement came in the form of a tweet from Wang Xiang, Xiaomi’s international boss who took over from Hugo Barra when the former Google exec decided it was time to move on at the start of this year. “Excited to announce that #Xiaomi shipped a record high 23.16M smartphones in Q2 2017, marking our return to fast track growth,” he chirped.

According to the smartphone market tracker Xiaomi only managed to ship 14.7 million units in Q2 2016 so it has managed to raise its game by a remarkable 58% in that time. Nothing since then warned of this sudden uptick either, with Xiaomi’s Q1 2017 total a mere 13.2 million.

There is some precedent for a bit of creative accounting regarding smartphone shipment claims so we checked in with Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics to see if that tweet was consistent with what he is seeing in the market.

“Xiaomi has bounced back due to a strong performance in India,” said Mawston. “Xiaomi has surged from 4% smartphone shipments marketshare in India in Q1 2016 to 14% in Q1 2017. New models, extended distribution channels and aggressive marketing have driven Xiaomi’s India growth. Xiaomi is struggling slightly in China, however, and it is still very much India driving the upswing.”

Xiaomi’s China struggles have been well documented, with the likes of Oppo and Vivo beating it at its own game in the mid-range Android market. As the appointment of Barra a few years ago indicated, Xiaomi has long had ambitions beyond its domestic market and seems to have decided there are easier pickings to be had in India.

Thanks to the disruption caused by Jio the Indian smartphone market seems to be growing like the Chinese one did a few years ago, so it seems like the logical place to chase growth if you have the right product portfolio. The chances are Xiaomi hasn’t been making much money on the Indian smartphone sales themselves, but its business model is focused more on creating a captive mobile commerce market so no worries.

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