Chinese smartphone brand Realme is preparing to launch its first high-end smartphone abroad next week in a bid to increase its market share in Europe and continue its rapid growth.
The move will set the company, which started in 2018, against the likes of an Apple And the Samsung that dominates the high-end segment as well as the Chinese competitor xiaomi which has grown rapidly abroad.
The GT 2 and GT 2 Pro smartphones will be launched on Monday at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. This is the company’s first appearance at the world’s largest mobile trade conference, confirming its desire to increase its market share outside of China.
“In China and the European market, we want to focus on penetrating the high-end market,” Realme CEO Sky Li said in an exclusive interview, according to a CNBC translation of Mandarin statements.
“In the European market, as well as in any other market, we position ourselves to offer affordable phones with outstanding performance and modern design. And in the European market, we have the same strategy.”
Realme may not be well known to consumers in Western Europe or the US but it is growing fast. In the fourth quarter, Realme shipped 20.65 million smartphones, up 48% year over year, according to data from Counterpoint Research. Meanwhile, Apple saw a decline while Samsung saw only 8% growth.
However, Realme is relatively small with a global market share of only 6%. Apple shipped about 81.5 million smartphones in the December quarter, for example, Counterpoint Research data shows.
The Realme GT 2 Pro smartphone was photographed. The Chinese smartphone maker hopes the first high-end device will help it gain market share in Europe and other regions.
But Realme has made headway in the markets with more price-conscious consumers finding its low-priced, but high-spec phones attractive. It is the second largest smartphone operator in India.
CEO Lee hopes to maintain this healthy growth this year.
“In 2021, we’ve had 50% growth. In the past three years, we’ve maintained high growth. In 2022, we want to keep the growth rate at 40% or 50%,” Lee told CNBC, adding that the company wants to sell more more. From 85 million phones worldwide.
Realme faces a number of challenges in its quest for a share in the high-end market, most notably trying to persuade consumers to buy their devices instead of buying theirs from well-known companies like Apple, Samsung and even Xiaomi.
The GT 2 will retail for around $600 while the GT 2 Pro will start around $800.
“The next challenge will be to convince customers who are used to buying well-known brand names to pay prices similar to Realme,” Harmeet Singh Walia, chief analyst at Counterpoint Research, told CNBC.
In this regard, while it will face some challenges from Samsung and Apple, it will also face a challenge from vendors such as Xiaomi and OnePlus who sell devices in a similar or desirable price range.
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