Xiaomi becomes China’s top smartphone maker

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Samsung’s popularity wanes in China, but vendor retains top spot in Western Europe despite falling market share, according to IDC.

Xiaomi was responsible for 12.5% of the smartphones shipped in China last year, making it the market leader ahead of the likes of Samsung, Lenovo and Huawei.

The Chinese firm more than doubled its market share compared with 2013, thanks to 150% growth in unit shipments, IDC revealed this week.

The market as a whole recorded 420.7 million smartphone shipments in 2014; IDC expects that figure to grow by close to 10% in 2015.

Xiaomi’s gains came at the expense of some of the world’s biggest handset makers. Samsung, the market leader in 2014, slipped to second place with 12.1% of shipments while Lenovo came in third with 11.2%. Huawei took fourth place with just under 10%.

“Xiaomi’s focus on selling low-cost phones with decent specifications, as well as the hype that it created through its flash sales, helped it to obtain the top position in both Q4 2014 and 2014,” IDC said in a statement.

In the fourth quarter alone it accounted for 13.7% of the market, but that figure was down slightly on the year-ago period.

Apple, which did not make it into the top five for the full year, took second place in the fourth quarter with 12.3% of shipments. The U.S. firm was buoyed by the launch of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models in the final quarter.

Huawei and Lenovo took third and fourth place respectively in Q4, while Samsung came in fifth with a 7.9% share of shipments, down from 11% a year earlier, hit by competition from Xiaomi and other low-cost players.

Samsung remained the market leader for mobile phones in Western Europe in Q4 and full-year 2014 but its market share is slipping.

It claimed 35.3% of the Western European market last year, down by seven percentage points on 2013, while second-placed Apple grew its share by more than three percentage points to 17.7%.

174.1 million mobile phones were shipped in Western Europe last year, down by 5.2% on 2013. 145.8 million of those were smartphones, an increase of 6.4%.

“Although the total market was impacted by higher penetration rates, the smartphone segment hit a record high in 2014 in terms