China’s Xiaomi became the third largest smartphone maker in the world and the fifth largest maker of mobile phones in the third quarter of this year.

“Xiaomi’s Android smartphone models are wildly popular in the Chinese market and it shifts millions of them every quarter through its extensive online and operator channels,” said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

The company shipped 18 million smartphones in the three months to the end of September, up from 5.2 million in the year-ago quarter, putting it ahead of LG and domestic rival Huawei. The latter slipped to fifth place in the ranking in Q3 having sold 16.5 million smartphones, around 300,000 fewer than LG.

“Xiaomi’s next step is to target the international market in Asia and Europe, where it may face stronger headwinds of low brand awareness and technology-patent challenges next year,” he added.

The South Korean firm shipped 79.2 million smartphones, some 9.2 million fewer than in Q3 last year. As a result, its market share fell to 24.7% from 35%.

Number two player Apple’s market share also fell to 12.3% from 13.4%, but its smartphone shipments grew to 39.3 million. “Apples iPhone growth is slowing worldwide because of its limited presence in the fast-growing entry-level segment,” Mawston noted.

Overall, 320.4 million smartphones shipped worldwide during the quarter, an increase of 27% on the same period last year. Again, Samsung leads the pack, but at 22.1% its market share has slipped by six percentage points. Microsoft-owned Nokia comes in second with 11.4%.

“Smartphone growth was mixed on a regional basis during the quarter, with healthy demand in Asia and Africa counterbalanced by sluggish volumes across North America and Europe due to ongoing changes in the operator subsidy mix,” said Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics.

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