Xiaomi said on Wednesday that it has shipped more than 200 million smartphones in India to date, demonstrating the significant presence it has made in the world’s second-largest phone market in just eight years.
The Chinese giant, which started selling smartphones in India in 2014, revealed the figure at a media conference on Wednesday, pledging the country’s future commitment. It took Xiaomi five years to ship the first 100 million smartphones in India, and only three years for the next. The company claimed that it has been a staple in the Indian smartphone market since 2017.
Samsung, which has been in India the longest, has shipped more than 260 million smartphones in the country, research firm Counterpoint told TechCrunch.
The announcement comes at a time when the Indian authorities have intensified their crackdown on Chinese smartphone makers in the country.
Indian authorities have alleged that Chinese phone makers Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have engaged in tax evasion practices. The companies denied any wrongdoing. China’s embassy in India criticized Indian authorities earlier this month for conducting “repeated investigations” into local units of Chinese companies and warned that such moves “impede the improvement of [the] business environment” in India and the “volatility of confidence and willingness” of companies of other foreign countries to invest and operate in the South Asian market.
The latest investigations into the Chinese phone makers follow growing tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbors that escalated in 2020 after a border skirmish.
India has since imposed many restrictions on Chinese companies. In the past two years, New Delhi has banned hundreds of Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser and PUBG Mobile, over national security concerns. New Delhi also amended its foreign direct investment policy in 2020 to require all neighboring countries with which it shares borders to seek New Delhi’s approval for their future deals in the country.
While India is reducing its reliance on Chinese software and capital, the country still lacks the infrastructure to make the same move in hardware. New Delhi has launched lucrative incentives to boost India’s domestic device production ecosystem in recent years, but analysts say it will likely take several years for such efforts to show meaningful impact.
Four of the five largest smartphone sellers in India are Chinese. Indian smartphone makers like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava have lost relevance in the past decade as Chinese smartphone makers and Samsung, India’s second largest phone seller, have launched more competitive devices at better prices.
In India, most phones ship under $200. Xiaomi, whose phones are superior in its price category, has placed great emphasis on the budget-conscious market since the day it launched its operations in India. The company has said in the past that it never makes more than 5% profit on any hardware product it sells.
When Xiaomi entered India, it relied mostly on selling phones online to cut back on overhead for the first couple of years. But in the years since, it has established itself in the brick-and-mortar markets, which continues to drive plenty of sales in the country.