Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was challenged by Xiaomi CEO and founder Lei Jun, who said that his company could be the number one smartphone maker in the world five to ten years from now, according to The Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs. Bruce Sewell, Apple Inc.’s head of legal and government affairs, who was present at the same event, was irked by Jun’s statement.

Apple Inc. To Xiaomi: It Is Easier To Say Than To Do

Xiaomi determined to topple Apple, Samsung

Jun said, “I believe that no one thought the Xiaomi from three years ago, which just made its first phone, would later rank as the third largest player.” He said that within five or ten years, they will have the opportunity to become number one in the smartphone company in the world.

“It is easy to say, it is more difficult to do,” said Sewell, who was asked to comment on the statement of Jun about toppling Apple from number one.

However, Jun stood firm with his statement and added that in China, a giant like Alibaba Holding Group Ltd (NYSE:BABA) was born, and a small “miracle” like Xiaomi also happened.

As of now, the Chinese company holds around 6% of the global smartphone market, compared to Apple Inc.’s 12% and Samsung’s 25% market share, according to the Strategy Analytics report.

Still a long way to go for Xiaomi

Xiaomi is known as the “Apple of China,” but that is not entirely due to the fact that it enjoys the same popularity as the U.S. company enjoys in the region, rather, many a times it has been accused of copying Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Previously, Jony Ive said that the design comparison of Xiaomi and Apple is not something he likes. During a Vanity Fair event in October, Ivy said that he does not consider it to be flattery, but theft. Ive said that when a company starts working on something new, it does not know how the market is going to react, but after spending seven or eight years, it feels bad to be copied.

Apple and Samsung are the largest players, with a combined share of 37% in the third quarter, while Xiaomi holds 5.6% of the market. Xiaomi become the third-largest smartphone maker in October, behind only Apple and Samsung. The Chinese phone maker has to work harder if it wants to topple Samsung from the number one spot.