Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has quickly assembled a wide portfolio of world beating products, from smartphones to fitness trackers to its super popular backup batteries, yet has to date only sold the items in China.
That should scare the pants off Google, Apple, Samsung and anyone else making such devices because despite little overseas sales, the company has become the world’s second largest wearables manufacturer in less than a year, according to new industry data.
Xiaomi’s newly released fitness tracker the Mi Band, launched in the second half of 2014, sold 2.8 million units in the first quarter of 2015, data from IDC showed.
That’s good for 24.6% of the wearables market and second only to Fitbit’s 3.9 million devices sold.
While only 11.4 million wearable devices, which includes fitness trackers and smartwatches, were sold globally in the first quarter of the year, the number marked a 200% increase year-on-year from the first quarter of 2014.
“Bucking the post-holiday decline normally associated with the first quarter is a strong sign for the wearables market,” said Ramon Llamas, IDC’s research manager.
Yet Xiaomi’s success comes despite limited international sales. It only opened a UK store this week and doesn’t even sell its signature smartphones and tablets in overseas markets.
What should worry the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google and others is that Xiaomi is very comfortable selling at extremely low price points – usually about 40% of the competition’s price – while still making a profit. More importantly people still like its devices, which are fashionable and contain high end hardware specs. Their build quality is as good as any.
“What remains to be seen is how Apple’s arrival will change the landscape,” said Llamas. “The Apple Watch will likely become the device that other wearables will be measured against, fairly or not.”
Yet Xiaomi isn’t sitting still. Having poached senior Google executive Hugo Barra, after Google founder Sergey Brin slept with his girlfriend, Xiaomi has assembled a roaster of top international talent.
The company will no doubt unveil a rival to Apple’s new watch in time for the 2015 Christmas season at a fraction of the price. It’s phones and tablets will also likely be on sale in western markets at that time.
The event will mark the first time the company is fully in developed markets for the all-important holiday season.
And that will mean massive sales for the company, coming at the expense of everyone in the market.
The world hasn’t seen Xiaomi flex its muscle yet. But when it does, which will be shortly, it will take the world by storm.