Chinese low-cost smartphone manufacturer, Xiaomi, sold 18.7 million handsets last year, up 160 percent from the year before, and it is looking to more than double this number in 2014.
In an internal e-mail sent Thursday, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun added that its total 2013 income was 31.6 billion yuan (US$5.18 billion), up 150 percent from the previous year, according to a Sina News report. Users of its Android-based operating system, MIUI, also exceeded 300 million as of end-December 2013, revealed Lei.
The company was under great pressure as it was unable to meet the huge market demand last year, he said.
Mainland Chinese consumers found it hard to book a Xiaomi handset, with the phonemaker claiming to have sold out 10,000 handsets within 36 seconds and 1 minute in December during the company's promotions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, respectively.
Xiaomi's primary goal in 2014 is to increase its production capacity, Lei said in his e-mail, noting that the company is committed to ship at least 40 million units of smartphones within the year.
But market commentators expressed doubt if this ambitious plan could be realized as 40 million shipment units was "a very huge number", noting that LG's G2 handset had only sold 30 million units globally.
They added that while Chinese telecom operators had been actively launching 4G networks in the country, Xiaomi's devices--which currently only support 3G services--were likely to be excluded in the market.
However, a Forbes story published Sunday titled "Why Apple should buy China's Xiaomi", noted that the experience of Google and Apple had helped Xiaomi build a greater brand to challenge Apple in the Chinese market, where its price points have given Xiaomi obvious advantages.
The story suggested the possibility of acquiring Xiaomi, which would enable Apple to eliminate its strong competitors in the world's largest, fastest-growing market, and will help Apple enter the low-cost smartphone market in China's rural area as well as Southeast Asia.