In the western hemisphere, the name Xiaomi is not likely to ring many bells, but in China, the company has become an absolute powerhouse. It's interesting, then, to realize that the company's name is a little ironic. Broken down to Xiao and Mi, it directly translates from Mandarin as "small rice". With the company having been founded in 2010 and currently staffs over 3,000 workers, there's certainly nothing "tiny" about Xiaomi.
Thanks to the company's continual growth and a stellar Q2, where it shipped 15 million units, Xiaomi has surpassed Samsung in China to become the nation's largest smartphone vendor. Perhaps I should mention again that Xiaomi was only founded four years ago. The company's quickly shaping up to become China's Apple in terms of smartphone success.
A big reason for Xiaomi's success could no doubt be guessed: It offers many models at more affordable prices than what Samsung's Galaxy series offers. One way that the company makes this possible is by selling the phones through its own website, and building its own hype on social media. For mobile fans on these shores, Xiaomi has been known as a company to quickly pick up on bleeding-edge hardware - it was the first company in the world to announce a Tegra K1-based tablet.
Daewoo Securities analyst Cho Woo Hyung makes a good point that, "If you lose market share, it’s hard to get it back, so Samsung will continue to churn out as many handsets as possible to retain its dominant share in the smartphone market." But in the same quarter that Xiaomi shipped 15 million units, Samsung shipped 13.2 million - in actuality, the company's not exactly that far behind, and could reverse the trend if it acts fast.
Whether or not we'll ever see Xiaomi hit the US market is unknown - the company is more focused at the moment on spreading further out on its side of the planet, with sights currently set on Brazil and Russia.