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China's Xiaomi becomes world's third biggest smartphone maker without leaving Asia

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Samsung's still the biggest, but others are catching up fast

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Over the past three months, more than 327 million new smartphones were shipped out from factories around the world, and young Chinese company Xiaomi has been responsible for more than 5 percent of them. That, according to IDC's latest figures, is enough to place it in third spot behind established leaders Samsung and Apple, overshadowing global competitors like Lenovo and LG. Xiaomi's rise has been remarkable both for how quick it has been and for the fact that the company still operates primarily in its home market of China. It has recently broadened its reach to adjacent countries in Southeast Asia like India and Singapore, but its growth remains testament to the incredible explosion in smartphone demand that China is experiencing.

A separate report from Strategy Analytics agrees with IDC's conclusions, while also highlighting Samsung as the biggest market share loser. Both data firms report Samsung ceding roughly 10 percentage points, meaning it's gone from commanding a third of the global smartphone market a year ago to a quarter today. The impact of this slowdown has been felt immediately by Samsung, which just reported its smallest set of quarterly earnings in a long time. Apple's as steady as ever, growing iPhone shipments with the release of its new 6 series, while LG, Lenovo, and Huawei are among a big group of companies contesting the fourth and fifth spots. As to Xiaomi, the company remains committed to its low-cost approach and will continue expanding internationally, however its global VP Hugo Barra told The Wall Street Journal this week that the United States does not figure in the company's expansion plans.

Update: Now that Lenovo has completed its acquisition of Motorola, the combined multinational company can lay claim to Xiaomi's third spot with a total of 25.6 million devices shipped and an 8.7 percent market share.