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Apple sets its sights on Xiaomi's China crown

Apple might overtake Xiaomi as the new kings of China in the mobile industry, following a highly successful first quarter where it sold 20 million units in the country, with an additional 13.5 million in the second quarter.

Xiaomi still comes out on top with 12.8 per cent of the market, but Apple is in close second place with 12 per cent. Huawei comes third, Samsung fourth and Lenovo fifth, all with lower than 10 per cent in the region.

For the past few months Xiaomi has been building up its mobile devices in other regions, launching an exclusive Indian device called the Mi 4i. (opens in new tab) It shows the Chinese company is not satisfied with the Chinese market alone, and numbers at home might not be looking too great against Apple.

Apple is loving China, with low distribution costs since most of the devices are manufactured in the region. Apple also has more sales in China than anywhere else, meaning Apple’s biggest market is not the United States for the first time.

Xiaomi is not out of the battle yet, with reports it sold 2.2 million devices in under 24 hours. That is a record for smartphone sales, and shows Xiaomi’s digital promotions work with the people of China, more-so than Apple’s no discounts approach.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus added a new flavour to Apple unexplored before, adding larger displays. Phablets were popular pre-Apple, but now a 5-inch or larger screen has become the essential feature to have on an Asian smartphone.

Xiaomi and Apple look to be the only players in the Chinese region capable of holding the first spot, although Huawei and Lenovo both have plans to jolt back into the region. Samsung might also work on new devices for China, although most eyes are now set in India.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.