Xiaomi usurps Samsung in fast growing India

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Over the last few years, the only competition seen in the Indian market has been among the Indian smartphone makers while the Chinese and South Korean companies remained strong at the lead.

The success of Xiaomi in India will have far-reaching implications for its worldwide strategy, said said Ishan Dutt, Canalys Research Analyst. "As Xiaomi's market share reaches saturation point in India, and the market continues to shrink in China, it must contend with slower growth for its smartphone business as it begins to expand in other countries". Canalys also notes that the Indian smartphone market grew 6 percent in 2017 (YoY), and aside from Xiaomi and Samsung, Vivo, OPPO, and Lenovo are the also included in on the list of top 5 smartphone manufacturers in India.

As per Counterpoint Research's Q4 2017 report, Xiaomi took the lead in India, as it managed to grab 25 percent of the market, compared to 6 percent which it held in Q4 2016, so this is quite an impressive growth for the company.

When sales for the entire calendar year 2017 is taken into account, Samsung is still the topper with 24 percent market share, with Xiaomi trailing behind at 19 percent.

Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi Corp plans to invest $1 billion in 100 Indian.

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The partnership has been reported after Xiaomi India filed requests with the regulators to enter with more products in the Indian market.

What also helped Xiaomi was Samsung's failure to transform its low-priced product portfolio, especially in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment in which Xiaomi outperformed it quarter after quarter.

According to Analyst Rushabh Doshi, the loss of Samsung is due to the inability of the company to push the budget-friendly smartphones. Earlier Xiaomi smartphones were available only online but for leveraging more markets, the company started selling their devices via retail stores which has paid off very well. He said previously the company has adopted an "India No 1" strategy, which includes design, research and development, manufacturing and supply. The total smartphone shipments in the said quarter was under 30 million units.

"Despite its ability to offer better margins and funding to the offline channel, consumer demand for Samsung's devices has been weak", Doshi said. The chaebol also easily won the 2017 feature phone trophy, with 21 percent share, although iTel and Jio are quickly becoming serious challengers for that particular title. "We owe our undisputed leadership to the love and trust of millions of our consumers in India", Samsung added. According to Canalys report for Q3, 2017, both companies were tied with 23% market share in September quarter.

Experts attributed Xiaomi's growth to its impressive product portfolio in the sub Rs. 15,000 smartphone segment which also forms the bulk of smartphone sales in the country.

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