Xiaomi believes it surpassed Samsung’s smartphone sales in India and is presently the fastest-selling handset brand in the South Asian country, Global Vice President Manoj Kumar Jain told the Indo-Asian News Service. Mr. Jain’s comments were meant to be dismissive of Samsung’s recent claims that Xiaomi still hasn’t reached its overall market share in India, with the South Korean tech giant asserting some recent studies suggesting the opposite only track smartphone shipments and not sales. While sell-in is an important metric, it isn’t capable of revealing “the final market share,” i.e. sell-through numbers, Samsung previously said.
Mr. Jain reacted to those claims by stating Xiaomi has possibly the most effective distribution platform in India and sells the vast majority of the devices it ships to local retailers in a swift manner. Xiaomi’s VP who also serves as its Managing Director for India also mocked Samsung by saying shipments aren’t indicative of the company’s local success only if he is “building big, secret warehouses and accumulating the unsold handsets there.” The executive said Xiaomi currently doesn’t have a week-old inventory anywhere in India, adding that many other manufacturers can often struggle to sell their electronics up to three months after shipping them, without citing any specific data. According to recent estimates, Xiaomi’s shipments accounted for over a quarter of India’s smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2017, having surpassed Samsung whose performance allowed it to seize approximately 24-percent of all sell-in figures. The Seoul-based electronics giant is still believed to have dominated the industry over the entire 2017 but Xiaomi’s growth appears to be outpacing its own and may overtake it on an annual basis starting this year.
India is seen as a key target for many original equipment manufacturers by virtue of the fact it’s the last massive smartphone market in the world that isn’t showing any signs of saturation and is still growing at a rapid pace, largely because many of its nationals are yet to purchase their first smartphone. Both Xiaomi and Samsung have recently been committing more resources to assembling their hardware locally so as to avoid heavy duty fees imposed by New Delhi as part of the “Make in India” initiative. Xiaomi is also believed to be targeting an initial public offering later this year and is expected to highlight India as one of its largest growth opportunities presented to potential investors.