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Xiaomi drops down the ranks as Apple claims Chinese market

Xiaomi shocked the mobile world in 2014 when it sold more smartphone units in mainland China than LG, Lenovo and other smartphone makers did worldwide.

It prompted a big shoot up in Xiaomi's valuation price, alongside questions on when the Mi and Redmi smartphones would enter the U.S., Brazil and European markets.

In one quarter, Xiaomi has sunk to a resounding fifth place in the leaderboards, from a high-point at third place. More importantly, Xiaomi has lost its number one place in China to Apple, dropping down to 13 per cent compared to Apple's 17 per cent Q1 2015.

Huawei's strong sales alongside Lenovo's acquisition of Motorola are two of the big reasons Xiaomi dropped to fifth.

Mobile phone sales (including feature phones) put Xiaomi at eighth, adding Microsoft/Nokia, TCL-Alcatel and LG's feature-phone sales. Xiaomi does not sell any feature phones, putting them even further behind in this battle.

But its not all doom and gloom. The company still commands the most growth year-on-year with 162 per cent, second place going to Apple with 46.2 per cent.

Xiaomi is also moving into more markets in 2015, including Russia, India and South America. This should bring millions more sales, if Xiaomi is able to offer its smartphones without patent and regulation barriers.

The big question is can Xiaomi win the West with its smartphones, a much harder market for an Asian company to crack. HTC, Samsung and Sony have all had their moments, but in 2014 Apple showed complete dominance.

Xiaomi also needs to secure sales back home, following Apple's strong performance in China with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Considering the iPhone is sold at a $600 premium to Xiaomi's own devices, it's a wonder how Apple managed to win over Chinese smartphone owners so quickly.