Xiaomi’s China region chief said sales of its new 5G flagship smartphone the Mi Note 10 series have passed 1 million units as the company prepares to roll out a new model aimed at enticing young consumers.

Lu Weibing, Xiaomi Group vice-president and head of the company’s China region, revealed in a post on his Sina Weibo account on Monday that shipments of the Mi Note 10 series have exceeded 1 million in mainland China, without elaborating further.

Xiaomi confirmed the figures in an emailed response to the Post and clarified that the sales included shipments of the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro models.

Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun attends the launch event of the Xiaomi Mi MIX Alpha surround display 5G concept smartphone in Beijing on September 24, 2019. (Picture: Reuters)

Wang Xi, an independent digital analyst, said the sales figure was an “outstanding” result, especially given the market down turn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Xiaomi’s announcement comes at a time when leading Chinese smartphone vendors such as Huawei Technologies, Oppo and Vivo are expected to take a hit in the domestic market in the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. In the first quarter China registered its first quarterly GDP drop since 1976.

Xiaomi has been moving up the value chain in recent years with higher-quality hardware and smartphones. It launched its flagship 5G models the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro in February.

The latter, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 central processing unit and Adreno 650 graphics processing unit, received favorable independent reviews for overall camera, video and photography performance, Xiaomi said in a release accompanying its 2019 earnings results.

Xiaomi reported that it sold 124.6 million smartphones in 2019, up from 118.7 million in 2018. Its revenue from smartphone sales last year reached 122.1 billion yuan, accounting for nearly 60% of the company’s total.

With Apple launching its more affordable iPhone SE, priced in China from 3,299 yuan (US$465) to 4,599 yuan, the middle-to-high end Chinese smartphone market is expected to become further saturated, research firm IDC said in a note on Monday.

As Huawei’s global expansion continues to be hindered by US sanctions, the company has had to rely on growth in the domestic market, further intensifying rivalry between local vendors, analysts said.

Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment vendor, ranked No 1 in China’s middle-to-high end smartphone market last year, accounting for a 56% share, followed by Vivo with 13.1% and Oppo at 12.9%. Xiaomi, with a 3.4% share of this market segment, was in fifth place after Apple, according to IDC.

On Monday Xiaomi announced that next week it would unveil a new model dubbed Mi 10 Youth as part of its Mi 10 series, calling it a “5G phone built specially for young people.”