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Xiaomi’s Resolution: Double Its Smartphone Sales Volume in 2014

CEO Lei Jun launches the Xiaomi smartphone and Xiaomi TV in Beijing on Sept. 5, 2013
CEO Lei Jun launches the Xiaomi smartphone and Xiaomi TV in Beijing on Sept. 5, 2013Photograph by Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

On the last day of 2013, Xiaomi founder and Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun took to a Chinese social network to announce his ambition for 2014: shipping at least 40 million smartphones. That would mean more than doubling last year’s sales volume, as Xiaomi sold 18.7 million smartphones in 2013.

The past year didn’t quite bring a doubling of Xiaomi’s sales, but the company did grow in impressive leaps and bounds, with 160 percent more phones sold than in 2012 to boost revenue 150 percent. The company’s strategy is to peddle high-quality Android phones at low prices—its Hongmi (“Red Rice”) sells for about $130—and then charge for apps, games, advertising, and other services. Xiaomi’s customized Android operating system, MIUI, now has about 20 million users. But Xiaomi isn’t just sticking to phones. In September it began selling 3D smart TVs in China, priced at $490, or less than an iPhone.