Xiaomi scales pinnacle in wearables

Updated 2017-08-05 12:34:35 China Daily

For the first time, Chinese technology giant Xiaomi Corp has leapfrogged Apple Inc to be the world's largest wearable product manufacturer, a new report said.

The Beijing-based Xiaomi has outcompeted rivals with affordable products in the second quarter of this year by shipping 3.7 million wearable devices, up 23 percent year-on-year.

This gave it a 17 percent share of the global wearable devices market, according to consultancy Strategy Analytics.

Xiaomi did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its achievement.

Apple, which took the crown in the first quarter, shipped 2.8 million smart wearables in the second quarter and slipped to the third spot.

U.S. hardware firm Fitbit came in second with 3.4 million shipped wearables, chiefly smart fitness bands, down 40 percent year-on-year.

According to the Strategy report, global shipments of wearables reached 22 million units in the second quarter, up 8 percent year-on-year.

Strong demand for low-cost fitness bands in China and premium smartwatches across the United States drove the uptick, industry insiders said.

Steven Waltzer, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, said Apple appears to have lost its wearables leadership to Xiaomi partly because it does not have a presence in the sizable fitness band subcategory.

Jean Xiao, research manager at IDC China, said: "Unlike basic wearable products in overseas markets where fitness tracking is their main function, Chinese consumers are demanding more functionalities. Players need to catch up with the trend."

As consumers become increasingly health-conscious, they are embracing smart wearables such as watches and bracelets to help track heart-rates, steps walked and other daily activities, experts said.

"Xiaomi's Mi Band fitness trackers are wildly popular in China, due to their highly competitive pricing and rich features such as heart-rate monitors, step-counters and calendar alerts," Waltzer said.

"But Apple's rumored upcoming Watch Series 3, which is said to have enhanced health tracking function, could prove to be highly popular, and enable it to reclaim the top wearables spot later this year."

Earlier this year, Xiaomi re-entered the club of world's top five smartphone sellers. It is stepping up efforts to expand partnership with both online and offline retail partners.

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