When it comes to ereading devices, smartphones and tablets will always outnumber true ereaders. This has led to Apple being one of the largest seller of ebooks, and if Xiaomi can find a way to capitalize on their device sales they too could be one of the majors.
New estimates from IDC today peg Xiaomi as the 4th largest seller of smartphones and tablets. While Xiaomi has only a negligible presence in the global tablet market, IDC estimated that it sold 17.3 million smartphones. That put Xiaomi just ahead of Lenovo in terms of smartphone sales but behind Lenovo in terms of combined sales.
For a company that is not active in Europe or the Americas, that's not bad.
Xiaomi is focused primarily on China, and it has recently expanded into India, Singapore, and the Philippines. The company is reportedly gearing up to enter other major Asian markets as well as Brazil, Mexico, and other parts of South America.
The company makes a number of smartphone models as well as several phablets and a tablet, but that's not where it gets most of its revenues. As the founder explained in an interview earlier this year, Xiaomi operates more along the lines of Amazon than Apple.
Xiaomi sells smartphones cheap so it can make money off of the services that run on the devices. This includes an ebookstore which was launched late last year, but that's just one of the services integrated into Mui, Xiaomi's custom version of Android.
I don't know that Xiaomi will ever be a major ebook retailer, but with the kind of sales it has now this is a company to watch. On the other hand, Xiaomi might end up taking the same route as Samsung, and simply letting third-party sellers like Amazon dominate its hardware platform.
We'll just have to wait and see.