Cover StoryInterview

The REAL Growth

Realme has taken the Bangladeshi mobile market by storm. The ambition can be tied back to how trends and consumer behavior have been reciprocated by realme. COLORS Business speaks to Tim Shao, Managing Director of realme Bangladesh on how the realme trend took flight.

Tim Shao confident of transforming the mobile lifestyle

Top of the List

It gives Tim Shao immense pleasure to let everyone know that realme has recently bagged the top 1 spot as smartphone maker among the smartphone brands functioning in Bangladesh. realme has taken the top position in Bangladesh’s smartphone market for the first time since kicking off its journey in the country in February 2020. It is a matter of great pride that it has taken realme only 5 quarters to reach this milestone. These pieces of information were revealed in the Canalys Estimates, (Sell–in shipments), Smartphone Analysis, August 2021. As far as performance is concerned, just like the rest of the markets realme is growing at the fastest speed in the local market as well. realme has registered an annual growth of 258% in the Bangladesh smartphone market. 

There are three reasons that have contributed to realme’s fast growth rate and the recent achievement of selling 100 million smartphones globally in just three years. First, realme leveraged on a niche – the youth market. As everyone is aware by now, realme is a youth-centric brand and this is what has paid off. Tim Shao and his team have developed quality cutting-edge smartphones and Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) products at very attractive value for young users and professionals. Second, realme also was able to expand internationally quickly because of their light asset and short channel model. Primarily with the focus on online distribution rather than building large-scale physical outlets, as this is a world that is heavily reliant on digital services. Third, owing to the ‘Dare to Leap’ philosophy. realme employees have a strong belief in the company and a real understanding of the market they are serving. Therefore, being aware of the target users and develop smartphones and other products taking the necessities of the users into consideration. 

A two-pronged plan

Tim Shao and realme will be working on two fronts – expansion strategy and product development strategy. They are planning to roll out as many as 300 million handsets by 2023. In the next three years, they want to achieve a double-100 million by shipping another 100 million handsets by the end of 2022 and completing the same milestone within the 2023 calendar year.

As far as product development strategies are concerned, realme will focus on the mid-high-end market with its flagship product. The expectation is that the GT Series will enable them to compete in mature markets. Secondly, realme plans to develop lifestyle products through the ‘1+5+T Strategy’. Under this strategy, smartphones (represented by the ‘1’) sit at the center of 5 core AIoT products (TWS headphones, smart wearables, smart TVs, tablets, and laptops) and are integrated with TechLife (the ‘T’) that include realme’s AIoT ecosystem and a smart home brand. This product diversification strategy as a result will be supported by realme’s continued short channel and light asset model. 

Moreover, as the brand has a strong presence in the Bangladesh market, the aim is to retain the position and do whatever it takes to bring more surprises for smartphone users in Bangladesh.

Just a few days ago, realme revealed its latest smartphone series, the GT Series – widely hailed as a flagship-killer smartphone. The GT Series will be realme’s flagship smartphone series and represent the best realme product experience in the future. And for the Bangladeshi market, realme has adopted an ‘All in 5G’ strategy, meaning that they will build 5G products across different price segments and continue applying the cutting-edge technologies to less expensive products so that more users can enjoy a ‘leap-forward’ experience.

Tim Shao envisions the integration of more operator resources and broadening the channels to bring more 5G products to the global as well as the Bangladeshi market. To that end, realme has already inked deals with different e-commerce sites to make the 5G phones more accessible and available to people from all walks of life. Tim Shao assures that the smartphone users in Bangladesh this year and the following year are going to be very excited as they are committed to bringing in a new range of 5G smartphones and AIoT products.  

5G and its effect

There is no denying that there will be large-scale adoption of 5G trends by the later part of 2021. The new normal thrust upon all by the pandemic has taught the importance of high-speed networks and increased the probability of mass adoption of 5G technology. So, the rapid development of 5G will drive down the price of 5G smartphones and give rise to essential applications in the 5G era. Preparations are underway in full swing in Bangladesh to adopt 5G. In line with this, realme Bangladesh is also ramping up its efforts to help the country. Positioning itself as a 5G popularizer in the local market, realme has already initiated different activities to expedite the adoption of 5G. realme has already taken the lead in bringing 5G products and experiences to many markets. realme aims to offer 100 million 5G phones in the next three years to young users. Besides affordable 5G phones, realme will also bring more AIoT products to young consumers as realme has entered the AIoT 2.0 development phase. 

However, there is worry about the global chip shortage. The shortage has dealt a heavy blow to everyone in the industry and has a wide impact on many industries including consumer electronics and the auto industry. This crisis is not going to vanish anytime soon and is expected to linger until next year. realme hasn’t increased the price of its products yet as they want to keep serving their customers in the best possible ways. However, if the price of the chips continues to rise, Tim Shao and realme are planning to review the prices of their products, keeping the convenience of users in mind. Hopefully, it will not affect the customers much as realme’s commitment to offering affordable products with cutting-edge technologies and trendsetting designs to the youth will remain at the forefront of our strategies.

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