Xiaomi sells over 2 million phones in 12-hour online sale

The handset maker's Mi Fan Festival sales event generated around $335 million in revenue, beating the company's results for its event last year.

A pink version of the Mi Note (above) was also sold during the company's Mi Fan Festival event. Aloysius Low/CNET

Xiaomi recorded impressive sales growth during a 12-hour online sale Wednesday, another sign that the smartphone upstart may be a worthy challenger to leading handset makers.

The Chinese smartphone maker said it sold 2.12 million handsets during its Mi Fan Festival 2015, well surpassing the 1.3 million units sold in last year's sales event and the 1.2 million sold during its Singles Day event (China's equivalent of Black Friday). The company also sold 38,000 Mi TVs as well as 770,000 smart appliances, including the recently announced Mi Smart Scale, for a total revenue of 2.08 billion Chinese Yuan ($335 million).

The sales figures underscore the rapid success of Xiaomi, which has vaulted to the No. 3 position among global smartphone makers by selling low-cost smartphones and tablets aimed at budget-conscious customers in markets such as China, Indonesia and India. The company has been on a tear lately, quadrupling its valuation while other established handset makers, including smartphone giant Samsung, have stumbled.

The success of the five-year-old Chinese company's online sale should come as no surprise to Xiaomi watchers. The company has long espoused a " be friends with our fans" mindset, and the Mi Fan Festival is a way to get its products to its customers at attractive discounts.

While Xiaomi's smartphones will not be making their way stateside any time soon, the company will be launching its Mi.com online store in both the US and Europe. There is, however, a catch. The store will only sell accessories such as the Mi Band and the company's ridiculously cheap power banks.

"It's going to be a different Mi.com experience from what we have in our markets in Asia, because we're not selling phones," Hugo Barra, Xiaomi's global vice president, said at a session at Mobile World Congress.

"We're only going to sell a small number of our hero accessories, things like the Mi Band , studio-grade headphones, in-ear headphones and the world's most popular power banks," he said.

Besides power banks and headphones, the company is transitioning to selling more and more lifestyle products. It recently announced an action camera called the Yi Action Cam and a partnership to make smart sneakers with Chinese sports brand Li Ning.

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