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Xiaomi may become No. 5 smartphone vendor

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Mainland China-based budget smartphone maker Xiaomi Technology is expected to win fifth place in local smartphone vendor rankings this year on the back of strong sales of its Redmi smartphone, according to local reports.

Xiaomi currently ranks among the top 10 smartphone vendors in the Taiwan market with a 2- to 3-percent share, Taiwanese media cited sources as reporting.

Xiaomi's market share is likely to continue to grow since pre-sale bookings of each round of the online selling of the Hongmi smartphone has been higher than expected, Taiwan-based Digitimes quote sources as saying.

The WCDMA/GSM-compatible Redmi hit shelves in Taiwan starting Dec. 9, 2013 at a price of NT$3,999. The company has begun accepting pre-orders online.

Additionally, Xiaomi is to cooperate with Chunghwa Telecom (CHT,中華電信) and Far EastTone Telecommunications (FET,遠傳電信) to sell its latest smartphone, the Xiaomi 3, which has been in stores since Feb. 20.

Samsung Electronics, Apple, HTC and Sony Mobile Communications are currently the four largest smartphone vendors in Taiwan's handset market.

200,000 Xiaomi Smartphones Sold in Taiwan in 2013

Xiaomi, which has been in business for over three years, has outpaced Taiwan's largest smartphone maker HTC (宏達電) to take the fifth spot in China's smartphone market behind Samsung, Apple, Nokia and Huawei.

HTC's market value has declined by at least 80 percent since 2011, with Morgan Stanley predicting that HTC's smartphone shipments will drop a further 33 percent in 2014, largely due to Apple and Samsung's dominance in the high-end sector and the company's lack of a solid strategy for selling low-cost phones.

The extent of Xiaomi's reach outside of mainland China has been limited to just Hong Kong and Taiwan, a strategy that Xiaomi's Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun told Taiwanese media he has employed to carefully test out the “international market” in baby steps.

This week, Xiaomi co-founder and President Bin Lin held a press conference announcing the Mi3 that the first-wave Mi3 shipments to Taiwan will consist of at least 10,000 units, adding that Xiaomi is “satisfied” with its sales in the country last year, although he declined to specify actual numbers.

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