Xiaomi thinks it can overtake Apple as world’s no. 1 smartphone maker

Xiaomi wants to be number one! Photo: Xiaomi

Xiaomi wants to be number one! Photo: Xiaomi

If there’s one thing Xiaomi can’t be accused of, it’s having a lack of ambition.

Not content with having come out of nowhere to become the world’s third-biggest smartphone maker, the CEO of the Chinese tech company, Lei Jun, has announced that he next plans for his company to become the number one smartphone vendor globally within the next 10 years.

Although the company isn’t yet sold in the U.S. or Europe, Lei says that this is coming — alongside an expansion into developing markets such as Brazil and Russia, in line with the strategy Xiaomi has used so far. Lei made the comments during a business regulatory forum held by China’s National People’s Congress.

Despite being an occasional Apple copycat, Xiaomi’s strategy for expansion is based on the very un-Cupertino metric of number of users (i.e. market share) rather than earnings.

Lei Jun says Xiaomi aims to ship 80-100 million smartphones globally this year, which would bring revenue to somewhere between $15.9 and 19.1 billion.

We’ll have to wait and see whether Xiaomi can deliver on its ambitions, although the opportunity is certainly there for continued expansion as South Korean tech giant Samsung has experienced its mobile division faltering in recent times.

If there is one problem I foresee the company facing as it moves into new markets it is patent infringement, which is something it has not been stung for inside its native China — but has been elsewhere. For instance, in India Xiaomi has already been accused of violating 8 of Ericsson’s patents, including those┬árelated to 3G, EDGE and other technologies.

That’s without even mentioning the “familiar” designs it uses for its smartphones, which has previously led to the company being hammered as a maker of iPhone ripoffs.