China’s startup phone-maker Xiaomi seems to have arrived on the scene at the perfect time - just when Android is seriously taking off in China, and when hardware costs allowed it to create a powerful phone for just over $300 unlocked. Today, Xiaomi team member Li Wanqiang revealed to QQ Tech that the young company sold a total of 7.19 million phones in 2012, of which 70 percent were sold online via Xiaomi’s own site.Li added that Xiaomi’s sales in the past year amounted to 12.6 billion RMB (US$2 billion). That works out at an average of 1,752 RMB ($278) per device; it’s not clear how many of the phones sold were its 1,999 RMB flagship Xiaomi Mi2 phone versus its entry-level 1S model that sells for just 1,299 RMB, but the average suggests it sold more of its pricier devices in 2012. Though it’s worth noting that the Xiaomi 1S just launched back in September. Also, that stat might not include any sales cut taken by telcos such as China Unicom when they sell the phones offline.Venturing overseasXiaomi will launch in Hong Kong and Taiwan soon, the company has confirmed with us, so that 7.19 million figure will very likely grow in the new year. Indeed, Xiaomi now says it expects to sell 10 million in 2013.Tantalizingly, Li mentions that the Beijing-based company is considering launching, the Chinese-language article says, “in 2014 or 2015 in the North American market.”Xiaomi is one of several domestic phone-makers that are now dominating China’s smartphone market. 60 percent of purchased smartphones in the country are made by Chinese brands like Lenovo, Huawei, and the very uncool Coolpad. Though Samsung remains the nation’s top smartphone brand for the moment.But Xiaomi is not having an easy ride, and its TV-streaming device, the Xiaomi Box, is effectively canned after China’s media regulator objected to Xiaomi not having the relevant license to operate in the online video space.According to one recent study, Chinese consumers bought 189 million smartphones in 2012; in the fourth quarter of last year, an incredible 86 percent of those sold were Android-powered phones.(Source: QQ Tech - article in Chinese)
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