It was kind of funny how Xiaomi, often called the “Apple of China,” actually controlled less of the smartphone market in China than Apple did. That’s no longer the case, however, if recent estimates from Canalys are to be believed. According to the analytics firm, Xiaomi now controls 15.9% of the Chinese smartphone market, which puts it in the number one spot, while Apple has since fallen to third place, behind Huawei, at 12.2%.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi trounced Apple in China for the first time since last year. Analytics firm Canalys estimates that in Q2, Xiaomi nabbed 15.9 percent of China’s smartphone market, which amounted to a few percentage points higher than second-place Huawei (15.7 percent). Apple’s market share ranked third at an estimated 12.2 percent. The reversal comes as a bit of a surprise. The hugely successful iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus drove Apple to the number 1 spot in China late last year, a position of dominance it maintained into early this year. Indeed, the company led Xiaomi by a full percentage point (14.7 percent versus 13.7 percent, according to research firm IDC) in Q1 despite the iPhone’s high sticker price. Canalys attributes Apple’s recent decline in part to weakening demand among Chinese consumers. The premium handset market has continued to “[remain] stagnant quarter-on-quarter,” analyst Jingwen Wang said in a press release. Research firm IDC made a similar assessment in May. “Smartphones are becoming increasingly saturated in China,” said managing director at IDC China Kity Fok. “[Convincing] existing users as well as feature users to upgrade to new smartphones will now be the key to further growth in the China market.”