China’s Realme aims for 5G leadership in India with local manufacturing

Realme smartphones IoT
Realme smartphones. Image courtesy Realme.

China’s Realme is bringing its global suppliers and contract manufacturing partners to India to develop an ecosystem for its Internet of Things (IoT) business, even as it already makes 100% of smartphones and smart TVs locally with the help of domestic and global manufacturers.

Realme is also eyeing leadership in the 5G handset market with an aggressive product strategy. The company will launch only 5G phones in the $250 and above price category and is “closely” working with chipset makers. 

As per reports, Realme works with Oppo, Wingtech Mobiles and DBG technology to locally manufacture its smartphones in India. It has also joined hands with Videotex and Bhagwati Products Limited to manufacture smart TVs in the country. Bhagwati Products Limited is the contract manufacturing arm of Micromax.

“We are continuously working towards strengthening our localization strategies and are encouraging more of our suppliers and partners to open local factories in India and contribute more to our country’s economy,” Madhav Sheth, Vice President of Realme and CEO of Indian and European operations, was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.

The company had reportedly roped in contract manufacturer Khy Electronics to make smartwatches in India. But, the pandemic has delayed its plans to kick off local production.

Realme is taking a leaf out of its bigger rival Xiaomi’s playbook to increase focus on the IoT segment to drive overall business overall. Xiaomi is also expanding its local manufacturing with new partnerships with local and global contract manufacturers. 

“We continue to rely on local production and will continue to strengthen our ‘Make in India’ strategy,” Sheth added.

The executive added that the company continuously monitors the second wave of COVID-19 and will make business decisions accordingly. However, it maintained that existing manufacturing units were impacted due to the spread of COVID-19, and current production is running properly without any disruptions.

“With continuous momentum, awareness, and massification of 5G technology and products, I am confident that Realme will command a sizable share of the 5G handset market,” Sheth said.

The handset maker is currently in discussions with Indian telecom operators for the upcoming 5G trials. The discussions, Sheth said, are taking place to plan product compatibility with 5G networks.

Realme, which is owned by China’s BBK Electronics, is the fastest-growing smartphone brand in India and is aiming to break into the country’s top three smartphone players. 

Realme managed to maintain its fourth position in the January-March quarter of this year with an 11% volume market share in India, as per Counterpoint Research. Xiaomi led the market with a 26% volume market share, followed by Samsung and Vivo with 20% and 16% share, respectively.

The company is also continuing its offline retail expansion despite the second wave of COVID-19. Sheth said that Realme would open more exclusive and smart stores in India to drive smart TV and IoT products.

“We will be launching 300-500 Realme smart stores nationwide and a few flagship stores, enabling more users to experience Realme smartphones and AIoT products,” Sheth told the publication.

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