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Apple was third with 14 per cent market share, while Vivo and OPPO maintained strong growth momentum to complete the list of top five smartphone players worldwide in terms of unit shipments.

"Xiaomi is growing its overseas business rapidly. For example, its shipments increased more than 300 per cent in Latin America, 150 per cent Africa and 50 per cent in Western Europe," said Canalys research manager Ben Stanton.

"As it grows, it evolves. It is now transforming its business model from challenger to incumbent, with initiatives such as channel partner consolidation and more careful management of older stock in the open market," Stanton said in a statement late on Thursday.

Xiaomi is still largely skewed toward the mass market, however, and compared with Samsung and Apple, its average selling price (ASP) is around 40 per cent and 75 per cent cheaper, respectively.

"So a major priority for Xiaomi this year is to grow sales of its high-end devices, such as the Mi 11 Ultra. But it will be a tough battle, with OPPO and Vivo sharing the same objective, and both willing to spend big on above-the-line marketing to build their brands in a way that Xiaomi is not," Stanton elaborated.

In Q2 2021, global smartphone shipments increased 12 per cent, as vaccines rolled out around the world, and the new normal for economies and citizens started to take shape.

"All vendors are fighting hard to secure component supply amid global shortages, but Xiaomi already has its sights set on the next prize: displacing Samsung to become the world's largest vendor," Stanton noted.

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