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Chinese handset maker Xiaomi jumps to No.3 spot in the worldwide smartphone market: IDC

XiaomiChinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has jumped to the number three spot in the worldwide smartphone market, behind Samsung and Apple. According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, the company shipped 17.3 million handsets in the third quarter of 2014, and enjoyed a market share of 5.3 per cent.

This is the first time the company has featured in the top five, and is largely due to its focus on China and adjacent markets, which resulted in triple digit year-over-year (Y-o-Y) growth for Xiaomi. Key to the company's success was also the launch of its flagship Mi4 smartphone in August this year, which was positioned as a high-end alternative to the status quo.

Already one of the leading smartphone manufacturer's in China, Xiaomi had made an extremely successful debut in the Indian smartphone market in July this year with the launch of its flagship device Mi3 in the country. Following an online only flash sales model for selling its devices in the country, the company has seen its product being sold out within seconds not once or twice but each and every time.

In India, the company has entered into an exclusive partnership with Indian e-commerce major Flipkart.com to offer its devices. According to the company, it has already sold over 500,000 smartphones in the country in less than four months of operations. It is now also considering setting up a manufacturing base in the country.

In total, vendors shipped 327.6 million units during Q3, 2014, which was a 25.2 per cent increase in comparison to the 261.7 million units shipped in the year ago quarter, and a 8.7 per cent increase from the 301.3 million units shipped in the previous quarter. A driving force behind the record smartphone volume was the combined effort of the vendors trailing market leaders Samsung and Apple.

Top 5 vendors

Samsung remained the clear leader with 78.1 million units shipped in the quarter and 23.8 per cent market share, but was the only company among the top five to see its shipment volume decline Y-o-Y. With continued competitive pressure from nearly every side coupled with cooling demand for its high-end devices, the company's volumes have fallen from their previous highs at the start of the year.

Apple took the wraps off its new iPhones and in the process posted its largest third-quarter volume ever. The company shipped 39.3 million units in the quarter and enjoyed a market share of 12 per cent. And although the company posted strong results of 10 million units sold during its initial launch weekend, it also sustained demand for its older iPhone 5S and 5C models, which comprised the bulk of its volume for the quarter.

The other players that completed the top five included Lenovo and LG. Lenovo shipped 16.9 million units and had a market share of 5.2 per cent, while LG followed closely with 16.8 million units shipped and 5.1 per cent market share.

"The next three vendors – Xiaomi, Lenovo, and LG Electronics – all posted market-beating growth and all with different strategies. This shows that there is still room to compete in this market, whether it is in the low end as Lenovo has done, at the high end where Xiaomi competes, or in both as LG Electronics has shown," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phone team.

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