In a ‘war of life and death’ smartphone market, Xiaomi takes aim at Apple


Apple has had a great run in China recently. Market estimates revealed that in Q4 of 2021, Apple was the number one brand in China as the iPhone 13 series saw impressive sales in the country. Apple’s strong performance has clearly given a lot of food for thought to the Chinese brands who are being beaten on their home turf. One such brand is Xiaomi and it’s ready to come out all guns blazing against Apple.
According to a report by South Morning China Post, Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun has said that the company will focus on high-end phones in the global smartphone market and challenge Apple. The report quotes Jun who said, “We aim to fully benchmark against Apple in terms of product and experience, and become China’s biggest high-end brand in the next three years.”Not just that but Jun said that the competition in the premium smartphone market was “a war of life and death.”
A report by Counterpoint revealed that China’s smartphone sales in Q4 2021 declined 2% QoQ and 9% YoY, respectively. “The country’s full-year smartphone sales also continued the downward trend for the fourth consecutive year, declining 2% YoY in 2021,” noted the report.
Apple, meanwhile, has topped the smartphone market for two consecutive quarters in China, courtesy of the iPhone 13 series. Counterpoint Research Analyst Mengmeng Zhang was quoted in the report and said, “Apple rose to first place in China right after the iPhone 13 was released (week 39) in September. Afterwards, it remained in the leading position for most of the fourth quarter. The new iPhone 13 has led the success due to a relatively lower starting price at its release in China, as well as the new camera and 5G features.” The success of the iPhone 13 series has the likes of Xiaomi a bit worried.
One of Xiaomi’s strategy to take on Apple is to expand its retail presence in China. The report states that Xiaomi recently announced its plans to open about 20,000 new retail stores in the next three years across China’s countryside — almost 70% of the country’s smartphone market. Xiaomi currently has about 10,000 retail stores in China and Apple doesn’t have that sort of presence.