Chinese Apple rival Xiaomi gets first-quarter sales boost as smartphone demand rebounds

Customers wait in line at Xiaomi’s flagship store in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.

Miguel Candela | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Xiaomi reported a 13.6% rise in first-quarter revenue on Wednesday, beating estimates, as the Chinese smartphone maker sold more phones and benefited from sales of its higher-priced 5G models.

The company managed to boost sales despite the impact of the coronavirus, which rattled supply chains and dampened overall smartphone demand.

“Our production in mainland China has largely resumed, and smartphone demand has rebounded quickly,” the company said in its first-quarter earnings release.

Xiaomi’s optimism stands in contrast to rivals Apple and Samsung, which have both warned of a tough year ahead.

Sales in the first quarter of 2020 rose to $7 billion from $6.2 billion in the same period prior year, beating analyst expectations of $6.7 billion.

The company attributed the jump to rising prices for its just-released 5G phones in China, as well as growing sales overseas.

Profits fell by roughly one third due to a drop in the value of Xiaomi’s investments in other companies.

The company gets most of its revenue from selling mobile handsets, but also makes money by selling online ads and other types of consumer hardware.

Xiaomi has faced intense competition in China over the past few years from bigger domestic rival Huawei. Also, the domestic smartphone market in China has been shrinking and to offset this Xiaomi and other smaller Chinese rivals have focused on overseas growth.

Xiaomi’s shipments to Chinese consumers in the first quarter fell by more than a quarter from a year earlier, market research firm Canalys said, compared with an 18% drop in smartphone sales in the country.

In March, the company said it was seeing signs of a sales recovery in China after weeks of lockdown to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

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