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Flagging Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi rebounds with record second quarter shipments

Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi may be at an inflection point, according to its latest mobile shipment figures. The company shipped 23.16 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2017, up 70 percent on the first quarter of this year.

This is a record high for Xiaomi's quarterly smartphone shipments.

"Xiaomi is once again embarking on a rapid growth trajectory," said the firm's co-founder and CEO Lei Jun in a note on the milestone. Lei attributed the success partly to increasing investment in research and development (the company was granted 2,895 patents in 2016) and a comeback after supply issues last year.

Lei has previously said that his company's lackluster performance in recent years was down to the fact that it grew "too fast," which led to business challenges.

Xiaomi has been soul searching of late. Hugo Barra, former vice president of international, left the company in January to return to his former life in Silicon Valley citing poor health.

According to research firm IDC, Xiaomi was the fifth biggest shipper of smartphones in China in the first quarter of 2017 with 9.0 percent of market share, tailing OPPO, vivo and Apple. Huawei topped the chart with 20.0 percent of market share.

Perhaps learning from its competitors, Xiaomi has also been looking beyond its e-commerce dominant sales model. It believes that this has also helped boost its positive shipments data. The company's latest note said that it currently has 123 so-called Mi Home bricks and mortar stores across China, and as of July 8 doors will open at a further 14.

Mobile shipment is a metric used by the industry to suggest consumer demand on the basis that stores intelligently order units, but does not equal actual sales figures.

According to Lei's note, the company is aiming for 100 billion yuan revenue in 2017, and 100 million smartphone shipments in 2018.

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