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Xiaomi Turns to Online Services as Chinese Market Slows

January 27, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Xiaomi might well be one of the top market leaders in the Chinese smartphone market, but they’re not alone in facing hard times at the moment. As is so often the case with a market that enjoyed such explosive growth just a couple of years ago, China’s smartphone market is starting to slow down, and the days of explosive growth look likely to be firmly behind Xiaomi and co. Xiaomi missed their target for 2015 by 12%, shipping around 70 Million handsets. While they missed their own targets, as well as expectations from analysts, they still did very well, but Huawei had an excellent year during 2015 and Lenovo has steadily been rising at home as well. As the market starts to slow, Xiaomi has started to look for revenue elsewhere, and according to documents obtained by Reuters; it’s working.

Reuters has apparently gotten their hands on an internal document that shows revenue from Xiaomi’s online services had risen 150% over the previous year to reach 3.71 Billion Yuan ($563.94 Million). The Chinese firm seems set on making sure that their only source of revenue isn’t just smartphones, and indeed at home in China Xiaomi has become known for such a thing. Xiaomi partners with small firms based inside of China to offer their products up to a much wider audience via their online presence, and while many of these are sold with the Mi branding, not all of these products are. Regardless, this has established Xiaomi as a brand that isn’t just known for its smartphones. In fact, Xiaomi has their own wireless routers, smart TVs, domestic home appliances and oodles of accessories on offer.

The fear is that as the Chinese market slows (IDC estimated the smartphone market in China grew just 2% last year, as oppose to doubling each year from 2011 to 2013) Xiaomi will struggle to keep bringing in similar revenue figures. Over the past few years, they’ve built up the Mi branding to offer much more than that however, and with online services joining their revenue, it would appear Xiaomi will be able to survive just fine as the Chinese market levels out. Let’s not forget that Xiaomi has also become a major player in India, and is set to expand further throughout 2016.