In short order, Xiaomi has soared to No. 3 in the world behind only Samsung and Apple.
The question is what will it take to haul it to the top?
Founder Lei Jun is confident Xiaomi, which makes the eponymous handset that’s making Samsung and Apple sit up and take notice, will make it in five to 10 years.
Lei made the comment at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province.
When it reached Apple Inc. vice president Bruce Sewell, a fellow attendee, the next day, it drew an “it’s easy to say” response.
“But what if it came true?” Lei fired back, borrowing a phrase from Alibaba founder Jack Ma who had made bold predictions about the group’s then upcoming New York listing.
Obviously, this debate could go on forever, so we will let the numbers speak for themselves.
Xiaomi has a 5.3 percent share of the world smartphone market against 23.8 percent for Samsung and 12 percent for Apple, according to industry data provider IDC.
But its most recent figures are nothing short of startling.
During the one-day “Double 11″ shopping festival on Alibaba’s Tmall, Xiaomi sold 1.16 million handsets worth 1.56 billion yuan (US$254.61 million).
After expanding into Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Indonesia, the four-year-old company boasts 70 million active users and counting.
This is the sort of trend Lei Jun likes to hang his dreams on, with Ma’s fearless words ringing in his ears.
Those dreams just might come true.
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