Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has emerged as the world's third-largest smartphone maker just four years after it was established.
Xiaomi sold 19 million smartphones in the third quarter of this year, market researcher IHS iSuppli said Monday.
Huawei, which ranked third last year, fell behind Xiaomi in the third quarter by selling 16.8 million smartphones. China's Lenovo, which acquired Motorola, and LG, which is rapidly regaining its former sales volume, are both vying for the No. 3 spot but fell short of Xiaomi.
Xiaomi was established in 2010 as a developer of Android firmware for smartphones. It launched a program called MIUI, which allows an Android-based smartphone to look like an Apple iPhone and evolved to manufacture handsets.
It sold 5.7 million smartphones in 2012, 18.7 million in 2013, and 11 million in the first quarter and 15.1 million in the second quarter this year, gaining it the No. 5 spot.
The leap is mainly due to booming sales on its home turf. According to market researcher Strategy Analytics, 14.6 million out of the 15.1 million smartphones Xiaomi sold in the second quarter were in China.
More recently, Xiaomi expanded markets to Singapore, Hong Kong and India. In India its Mi3 smartphones sold out just five seconds after the first batch was released.
But more Chinese newcomers are coming up from behind. Meizu, which only started making smartphones in 2008, is following Xiaomi's footsteps by developing its own software programs just like Xiaomi. OnePlus, which was established last year, drew media attention by releasing a cheap but high-spec smartphone that costs only around W300,000 (US$1=W1,053).