Huawei's loss is Xiaomi's Q4 gain

Chinese tech firm Xiaomi, known mainly for making smartphones – but with product lines in IoT devices, Internet services and TVs, too – saw some vaulting domestic Q4 gains at the expense of Huawei.

With its arch-rival in forced retreat from the smartphone market, because of US-led sanctions on its supply chain, Xiaomi was able to post healthy year-on-year bounces for both revenue and adjusted net profit.

Turnover during the quarter amounted to RMB 70.5 billion ($10.8 billion), up nearly 25% when compared with Q4 2019. Adjusted net profit, at RMB 3.2 billion ($490 million), was a 36.7% jump over the same period.

Smartphone touchpoints

Xiaomi's smartphone revenue was RMB 42.6 billion ($6.5 billion) during Q4, up a hearty 38.4% year-on-year.

Tailwinds came primarily from mainland China, where Xiaomi was able to gain market share in what is a booming market.

Citing figures from market research firm Canalys, the company's Q4 smartphone shipments grew by a record 51.9% year-on-year in China, which was the highest rate of growth among its main rivals (Apple, Samsung and, of course, Huawei).

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The upshot was that Xiaomi expanded its domestic share from 9.2% in Q4 2019 to 14.6%.

Global smartphone shipments, with strong growth in China being complemented by meaningful inroads in western Europe and Latin America, reached 42.3 million units during Q4 2020. That's a near-30% jump when compared with Q4 2019.

Again, using Canalys as its go-to market-research firm, Xiaomi said it "continued to rank third" globally in terms of smartphone shipments – behind Apple and Samsung – with a market share of 12.1% during Q4.

Chips are down?

What's been a good smartphone run in the last few quarters may not necessarily continue, however, at least at the same high growth rates.

"The chip shortage will become a big challenge this year and the next," said Xiaomi's president Wang Xiang in a call with analysts, as reported by Bloomberg. "We are working with partners to have a better supply situation."

He nonetheless added that he was "optimistic" that Xiaomi was on track for growth this year, despite component shortages.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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