If you thought earnings from the likes of Samsung were impressive, we’d like to point you to Xiaomi. The Chinese carrier sold 18.7 million smartphones in 2013, a 160% increase form 2012. December alone saw the company selling 3.2 million handsets, helping to annihilate their aim of 15 million. While they don’t hold a candle to Samsung’s incredible dominance, it’s important to keep in mind Xiaomi is basically limited to China right now, and has only been in business since 2011.
Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun announced the sales numbers via Chinese blogging site Sina Weibo, where he also noted the company had a total revenue of CNY31.6 billion, or roughly $5 billion US. Those earning are also up from last year, and have a similar trajectory in terms of growth at 150%. In 2012, Xiaomi sold just over 7 million handsets and had about $2 billion in revenue.
Unlike the strategy of some other OEMs — which is to saturate the market with handsets — Xiaomi released only four devices last year. April brought two variants to their flagship Mi lineup, the Mi-2S and Mi-2A. In July, Xiaomi brought out the $130 Hongmi, with their newest flagship model, the Mi3, coming in September. One flagship and one bargain device; that reminds us a lot of Motorola.
Devices sell out in minutes via Xiaomi’s website, as even their flagship Mi devices hold a lower price point than the competition. The company makes up a lot of revenue via sales of accessories, and their mascot is wildly popular, leading to sales of plush animals and other novelties. Started by a former Googler who thought he could do better, Xiaomi is showing the world there just might be a better way when it comes to mobile.