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Look out, Xiaomi! Apple could soon overtake the Chinese company on its home turf

Apple CEO Tim Cook wasn’t joking when he said that China may be Apple’s future. Over the past few years, the company has aggressively targeted the Chinese smartphone market in particular. Now it seems that all Apple’s hard work may be paying off: The company has become the second-bestselling smartphone maker in China, and Apple’s sales are growing more rapidly than are those of homegrown smartphone maker Xiaomi, which maintains first place in popularity.

During the first quarter of 2015, Xiaomi shipped 14.0 million smartphones and captured 12.8 percent of the market in China, Strategy Analytics reported. Xiaomi has dominated the market for three consecutive quarters, thanks to its very popular Redmi smartphone lineup. The company’s meteoric growth finally appears to be slowing, however, and is expected to level out slightly.

Meanwhile, Apple’s influence in China continues to grow. During the same period, Apple shipped 13.5 million iPhones and grabbed 12.3 percent of the Chinese smartphone market. The American company is thus less than one percent away from stealing Xiaomi’s crown, and Strategy Analytics believes that Apple may manage the coup, if it continues on its current trajectory.

In third place, with 10 percent of the market, comes Huawei, another large Chinese company that has been achieving steady results in its home country. Huawei continues to improve its position in China, and it may also have plans to branch out into other markets, including the U.S.

Of course, these three smartphone makers could easily switch places in the rankings, depending on how ¬†successful their next devices are in China. Huawei’s recently released P8 and P8 Max could boost its numbers. And while neither Xiaomi nor Apple have any new phones to offer at the moment, speculation is rife over the two companies’ next offerings. The Mi Note Pro may be on its way soon, and Apple’s iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and possibly the 4-inch 6C, could arrive in September.