Data & Research

Why Apple's strongest competitor in China isn't Samsung, it's Xiaomi

Flurry digs into its data to highlight the key trends

Why Apple's strongest competitor in China isn't Samsung, it's Xiaomi

According to app analytics outfit Flurry, the iPhone has always been the king of mobile devices.

Not only do iPhone users spend more in-app than users of other phones, they also spend longer interacting with apps and games.

But not any more.

Its most recent research reveals a small - yet significant - niche of users who are more active on their devices than even their countrymen and women using iPhones.

The reason for the country bias is that OEM is Xiaomi, which has become the 'Apple of Chinese Android phones' - if that's not too mixed a metaphor.

Defined by device

As is well known, Xiaomi manufacturers relatively small volumes of relative high-end devices, which it sells online in burst campaigns, mainly in China, but also in other Asian countries ranging from Singapore to India.

A solid technical specification and a business model that looks to monetise activity on a device rather than the device itself has seen Xiaomi rise to become one of the most highly regarded tech brands in China, hence Flurry's interest in its users.

To get its results, Flurry conducted a random sample of 23,000 devices in China during January.

Target audience

Its headline figure is that Xiaomi users spend 7 percent more time in-app and games than iPhone users.

App usage per device

In terms of where this activity is undertaken, Xiaomi users are heavily over-indexed on media and entertainment apps and marginally under indexed on games and social networking.

Which app categories do Xiaomi users use the most?

Yet, looking at their age breakdown, Xiaomi users are heavily concentrated in the 18-to-34 age range.

Xiaomi user age breakdown

Flurry calls this group "young business professionals, most likely college-educated", pointing out that 7 million Chinese will graduate from college, up from 1.1 million in 2010.

[source: Flurry]

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.