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China's Xiaomi overtakes Apple as No. 2 smartphone vendor

Huawei's decline creates opening while Oppo and Vivo catch up

A Xiaomi Mi 9 mobile phone: Xiaomi began focusing on quality and design several years ago with its Mi MIX flagship handset.    © Reuters

GUANGZHOU -- Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi leapfrogged Apple in the April-June quarter to become the world's second-largest vendor for the first time, buoyed by strong sales in South America and Africa.

Xiaomi's meteoric rise follows the fall of compatriot Huawei Technologies, which only about a year ago was in a neck-and-neck race with industry leader Samsung Electronics until it was hit by a U.S. blacklist.

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