Xiaomi, once the most popular smartphone vendor in China, is showing signs of decline. Back in the day, Xiaomi broke the mold by offering a feature-rich phone at an impossibly low price point. Its unique marketing strategy and business model helped it to break online sales records. But soon others started copying Xiaomi’s strategy and the novelty wore off. The company has been slow to innovate. For phone buyers, Xiaomi ended up being a low-end phone: once they had enough money, they would upgrade to an Apple or Samsung. Today Xiaomi is quickly diversifying from phones to rice cookers and drones. But is that enough to come back to relevance?
According to the Hurun Global Rich List, with 568 billionaires, Greater China overtook the US (with 535 billionaires). Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau minted 90 new billionaires over last year. Even as the ranks of billionaires swell in China, the damning reality is that wealth is concentrated amongst a handful of people. According to a survey conducted by a Peking University institute, 1% of families in China own 1/3rd of the wealth. That speaks of a serious imbalance in the society. In this edition of China Data, we bring you statistics on China’s wealth imbalance, Dalian Wanda’s investment in healthcare, Chinese tourists in Japan, and more.
Companies that have spent months being feted by the media don’t tend to revise down their sales target, but in March Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi did just that—from 100 million units set in December 2014 to 80-100 million. Rival Chinese brand Huawei overtook Xiaomi in the third quarter as China’s top smartphone vendor. It’s a reality check for the upstart vendor, which soared to fame and a $45 billion valuation in less than five years as China’s first-time smartphone buyers snapped up handsets at a furious rate. But Xiaomi isn’t the only one hurting from the smartphone market slowdown in China.
China’s internet world is ruled by three big players: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, collectively known as BAT. The three companies generated revenues of $20 billion in 2013 and $8.16 billion in the third quarter of 2014. The big three account for a significant, and perhaps disproportionate, share of China’s internet market. Another technology company that has risen to prominence pretty quickly is Xiaomi. BAT and Xiaomi are quickly making inroads into new areas outside their core business—by either investing in or acquiring companies. Take a look at the brand and companies that are backed by these four companies.
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