Analysts think of Apple as being able to engage their users more — what’s known as the “Apple Magic” — and mobile firm Flurry measures such consumer engagement by the time spent in apps. It has found that despite Apple typically leading on this metric, popular Chinese smartphone firm Xiaomi has just tipped the scale.

Flurry notes that over the past six years, the average iPhone user spent more time in apps than those on Android devices — by a wide margin. However, it did an analysis on a random sample of 23,000 devices in China throughout January 2014, and found that Xiaomi actually leads in the amount of time that users spend in apps, higher than other Android devices and even Apple itself.

With the average iPhone consumer’s time in-app as the baseline, Flurry found that the average Xiaomi user spent 7 percent more time in apps compared to Apple. The average Samsung user spent 14 percent less time than an iPhone user, while a HTC consumer spent 27 percent less time.

Flurry Time Spent 1 730x619 Flurry: Xiaomi is stealing some of the Apple Magic in China as its users spend more time in apps
“This is the first time we’ve seen an Android smartphone catch up to the iPhone’s most important engagement metric — and exceed it,” Flurry said in a blog post.

And what do Xiaomi users typically access on their mobile devices? Flurry found that they are heavy users of media and entertainment apps. An average Xiaomi consumer spends 62 percent more time in these apps than the average smartphone consumer (on both Android and iOS devices in China). To this extent, Flurry has said before that it thinks of Xiaomi as the Apple-meets-Netflix of China.

Flurry Time Spent 2 730x556 Flurry: Xiaomi is stealing some of the Apple Magic in China as its users spend more time in apps

Interestingly enough, despite the hype about mobile gaming and messaging apps in China, Xiaomi users spend less time than other smartphone users on these apps. They also spend 28 percent more time in productivity apps. After Flurry looked at the profile of Xiaomi consumers, it realized that the data points towards the image of a typical Xiaomi user as a young business professional, most likely college-educated — therefore explaining less interest in gaming and less time available for messaging and online social activities.

Xiaomi has long been compared to Apple in China — and the Chinese firm itself recently launched a tablet that sought to challenge Apple’s iPad. With the latest data from Flurry, other Android manufacturers including Samsung and HTC should feel really threatened. However, it seems like Apple should also be a tad concerned about how Xiaomi is managing to adopt some of its magic sauce that has seen it consistently ranked above Android.

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