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'China's Apple' rakes in $200M in bumper Singles' Day

Xiaomi, the smartphone maker often dubbed "China's Apple", was crowned the big winner of one of the world's biggest shopping days Wednesday.

Singles' Day, held in China on November 11 each year, has become known as the country's anti-Valentine's Day. E-commerce behemoth Alibaba is most strongly associated with the shopping extravaganza and announced that it had taken $14.3 billion in sales through its online payment service.


This made it the largest shopping day in history, as it clocked a 60 percent increase in sales compared to 2014.

Xiaomi said Wednesday evening that it had become the top-grossing merchant on Alibaba's online marketplace Tmall.com. That makes three successful years in a row for the smartphone maker, as sales totaled 1.25 billion yuan ($196.3 million), nearly 1.4 percent of the total money that Alibaba cashed in during the 24-hour period.

Xiaomi also ranked as the top smartphone brand in terms of number of smartphones sold, not only on Tmall, but also on e-commerce platforms JD and Suning. In the first 11 minutes and 56 seconds of Singles' Day, paid orders on Xiaomi's Tmall store had already exceeded 100 million yuan ($15.7 million), it said in a press release.

It will be welcome news for the smartphone maker, which was recently dethroned in its home market by rival Huawei.

In the third quarter of 2015, Huawei took the top spot after it posted 81 percent year-on-year shipment growth, while Xiaomi's shipments shrank, according to data from market research firm Canalys.

Xiaomi has built its success on selling top-spec hardware at a low price. Its growth rates have been rapid but its biggest market is China, which is facing a smartphone slowdown. Data from research firm IDC in May showed that the China smartphone market contracted by 4 percent year-over-year with 98.8 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2015.

Special offers for Singles' Day included a reduced price on its new Redmi Note 2 smartphone. It was made available at 699 yuan for the day, down from the usual price of 799 yuan. Xiaomi TVs also had a particularly strong showing, according to the company, with 66,000 Mi TVs sold for a total of 247 million yuan.

—CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to this article.