Xiaomi Mi 5 pricing
Xiaomi wants to be the Apple and Samsung of China Reuters

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi sold over two million handsets in just 12 hours on 8 April, celebrating its fifth birthday and almost doubling the record set in its last sales blitz.

Dubbed the Apple of China, Xiaomi may not be a household name in the UK and Europe, but in its native country the company is gathering huge momentum by offering affordable Android smartphones which undercut those from Samsung and Apple.

Xiaomi shifted a total of 2.12 million phones in 12 hours, earning the company just over $335m (£225m) in revenue. A similar sales blitz last year saw 1.3 million units sold, while another on Single's Day (the Chinese answer to Black Friday) was responsible for 1.2 million sales.

For context, Apple sold just under 75 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2015, which works out at around 400,000 in each 12 hour period. However, it is worth remembering that Xiaomi's incredible sales rate was during a 12-hour period only, and could not be sustained for an entire quarter.

On 8 April the company also sold 38,000 Mi televisions and 770,000 other smart appliances. The sale took place in China, and for the first time it extended to Malaysia, India and Indonesia. The sales stunt proved Xiaomi is an internet-first company which can shift huge numbers of handsets online, without the need for a physical presence on the high street or in shopping centres.

Fast deliveries were also highlighted, with 590,000 orders shipped within 12 hours. Incredibly, the first order made on 8 April reached the customer at 11:27am, less than 90 minutes after being placed.

In all of 2014, Xiaomi sold 61.12 million smartphones and recorded total revenues of 74.3 billion Chinese Yuan. Analysts at IDC ranked Xiaomi as the top smartphone vendor in China in 2014.

Xiaomi is a company which is relatively unknown outside of China and a few markets in Asia, yet despite its limited exposure it has risen to become the third biggest smartphone maker in the world in the third quarter of 2014. This is all the more remarkable considering the company sold its first smartphone just three years ago, and only sells in China and seven other markets in Asia.