Xiaomi makes big strides in India with 1M handsets sold in Q3

The sales figure represents 45 percent quarter-over-quarter growth in a market that's still filled with opportunity for smartphone makers.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Depending on which research firm you ask, either Huawei or Xiaomi is the leading smartphone seller in their home base of China. Competition there is fierce but focusing solely on the world's most populous nation would be a mistake.

That's why Xiaomi is celebrating: A representative from the company on Friday says Xiaomi sold one million handsets in India last quarter.

Ex-Googler, Hugo Barra, is the a Global VP at Xiaomi and tweeted the news.

Barra says the handset sales represented a 45 percent jump from the prior quarter, which is solid growth in the new territory. And there's plenty of room to keep growing, given the country's massive population and relatively low smartphone adoption rate.

Xiaomi has taken the approach of keeping handset costs down, even at the expense of profits. That's a solid strategy to gain market share but isn't ideal for a long-term business model.

Still, the approach is working for now. The company told CNET that its best selling handset in India is the Redmi Prime 2; a phone that retails for around $105.

That's an ideal price point for India's market where are the numerous Android options made available to consumers for $100 to $150. Perhaps that's why Google's Android One options aren't doing nearly as well there, causing Google to consider relaxing the program's hardware requirements.

Here in the U.S. it's not easy to get your hands on a Xiaomi handset if you want one. You'd have to order it from overseas after researching which networks are compatible with the device. Huawei isn't making it quite that difficult however. Huawei has an online store with a few options for North America; it also directly sells and built the Google Nexus 6P.

Google Nexus 6P by Huawei image and screenshot gallery

Regardless, China-based companies are smart to focus on the India market more than that of U.S. consumers.

Most of the U.S. population already has a smartphone and there are already many low-cost Android options here. It's better for Xiaomi to grow through sales in India where there's more demand for the new, inexpensive markets.

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