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Smartphone brand Realme eyes Southeast Asia

BBK Electronics’ budget smartphone brand Realme is eyeing expansion into Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe.

The company’s online distribution strategy has brought it success in the Indian market and makes broader expansion possible, according to Realme global CEO Sky Li Bingzhong.

“The company’s asset-light operations and focus on online sales allow it to keep costs low. That way, more young consumers can afford its products, which makes the brand more competitive in the market,” said Li.

Realme launched in India in May last year with handsets priced at INR8,990 (US$129) – becoming the second top-selling smartphone brand during the Diwali festival season from October to November. The brand has joined a number of Chinese phone manufacturers seeking to build strength in the Indian market as they challenge more established international competitors in more saturated markets.

BBK also owns the Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus brands, selling mid- to high-end models. Independent Realme runs its own R&D operations, but partners with Oppo in smartphone production. Its expansion moves are indicative of Chinese phone manufacturers’ larger strategy to deploy varying brands that each target specific markets globally.

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