While Xiaomi is suffering from gloomy market predictions due to decline in their core business of smartphones, the Chinese electronics company is now receiving a boost from its wearable product line.

Shipping 5.2 million smart wearable gadgets in Q4 2016, Xiaomi was ranked the second largest wearable maker in the world with a market share of 15.2 percent, according to research firm IDC. Fitbit shipped 6.5 million units in the same period, holding the top position with 19.2 percent market share.

However, the dominant Fitbit, which also topped the annual shipment list, may soon be overtaken by Xiaomi, which shows a strong growth trajectory. The year-on-year growth of Xiaomi stood at 96.2 percent as compared to a 22.7 percent drop for Fitbit.

The worldwide wearables market reached a new all-time high as shipments reached 33.9 million units in Q4 last year, growing 16.9% year over year. The year came to a close with 102.4 million devices shipped.


Launched in August 2014 at the peak of the wearable craze, Xiaomi’s first generation of Mi Bands have become a quick sell thanks to decent product design and affordable prices (~13 USD), a combo that gives entry-level users quick access to try out the novel products. The firm has sold 18.5 million (in Chinese) Mi Bands as of March last year.

Like for its smartphones, the company’s Mi Band 2, which was launched last year, veered upstream by introducing new devices with OLED screen, heart rate monitoring and a mildly higher selling price (~21 USD). Huami Technology, Xiaomi’s partner in wearables and the developer of the Mi Band, has launched Amazfit to target the mid-and high-market.

Mi Band has hit several overseas markets like India, Indonesia and the U.S., but China still accounts for a predominate chunk of its shipment. According to IDC, Xiaomi still lacks the expertise and brand recognition to expand beyond China.

On the other hand, China is also a hard nut to crack for foreign brands as always. Entering Chinese market as early as 2014, Fitbit has been feeling pressure from the Chinese rival. The U.S. company also teamed up local partners like Tmall to strengthen its Chinese presence. But the latest IDC report indicates that their efforts have yet to witness positive results.

Unsurprisingly, Xiaomi is facing competition from local players like Lifesense, Okii, Huawei and 360 to tap a growing Chinese market, where wearables are expected to overtake tablets as the second-most popular mobile device in 2017. Wearables saw a 47% penetration rate in China in December 2016, but 54% of consumers stated they had plans to purchase one in the following month.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.