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Xiaomi tops Chinese smartphone market, despite sales miss

The company first aimed to sell 100 million smartphones in 2015 and later lowered the target to 80 million. By the year's end, it had sold 70 million.

Xiaomi's Redmi Note 2 reflects the company's interest in budget phones.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Xiaomi has a case of good news, bad news.

The good news: The Chinese electronics maker sold 70 million smartphones last year and snagged the biggest slice of domestic market share. The bad news: Xiaomi was 30 million phones short of the 100 million target its CEO Lei Jun had set.

Jun initially set the 100 million goal in 2014, but later lowered his forecast to 80 million. The company released the new figures Friday.

Part of the reason Xiaomi failed to reach its goal was the general lagging in the Chinese smartphone market. Growth overall slowed in 2015. Still, Xiaomi's market share is significant because it means victory over rival Huawei, which itself had a big year and boosted international brand awareness via its partnership with Google on the Nexus 6P.

Another potential factor for lower phone sales is the lack of a successor to the Mi 4.

Xiaomi's brand was built on its midrange Mi line, but the company spent 2015 focusing both on budget phones such as the Redmi 3 and on higher-end devices like the Mi Note Premium.

Xiaomi also announced that Miui, its tweaked version of Android, has 170 million users across 156 countries, despite that its products are largely sold in Asia. Outside of smartphones, the company's MiTV line of televisions passed 1 million sales in 2015.