China smartphone market perks up as sales of new Xiaomi model off to roaring start

China smartphone market perks up as sales of new Xiaomi model off to roaring start
Xiaomi's sales of more than 1 million units of its latest flagship smartphone in the week since its launch are a fresh sign that a slump in China's phone market could be nearing an end, analysts said.

Demand in the world's biggest smartphone market has long been in decline, with the COVID-19 pandemic and then a faltering economic recovery persuading customers to wait longer before upgrading their phones.

"Sales of the Mi 14 series have exceeded 1 million units and the phones are still in severe short supply," Xiaomi Chief Executive Lei Jun wrote on the microblogging   platform Weibo this week. The model went on sale in China on Oct. 31. It uses Qualcomm's cutting-edge Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor and Xiaomi's proprietary HyperOS software.

The robust launch "reinforces signs of the market bottoming out," said Will Wong, an analyst with industry research firm IDC.

It comes on the heels of a big jump in sales for Huawei as shoppers snapped up its Mate 60 series phones - a comeback for the company after the U.S. imposed export controls on it in 2019.

IDC predicts the Chinese market is on track to achieve year-on-year sales growth in the fourth quarter after ten consecutive quarters of decline. It did not specify the level of growth.

U.S. chip designer Qualcomm also said last week that it is seeing strong demand from smartphone companies, especially in China.

The Mi 14 series, priced between 3,999 yuan and 6,499 yuan ($550-$890), represents an attempt by Xiaomi to make deeper inroads into the premium smartphone market and compete with Apple and Huawei.
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