EXCLUSIVE: Realme plans to open 500 new stores in 2021⁠— the CEO reveals the company will go beyond smartphones in the 5G era

EXCLUSIVE: Realme plans to open 500 new stores in 2021⁠— the CEO reveals the company will go beyond smartphones in the 5G era
Realme India CEO Madhav ShethRealme
  • Realme, one of the top five smartphone makers in India, is planning to launch up to 500 new "smart" stores in India in 2021.
  • This will include flagship stores in some major cities of India.
  • Apart from this, Realme also expects its smartphone shipments to grow by over 30% this year.
  • Business Insider spoke to Madhav Sheth, the company’s chief executive officer in India, to know what to expect from Realme in 2021 and beyond.
Realme has become one of the top smartphone companies in India, going from nowhere in 2018 to cracking the top five in 2020. And now, it plans to launch 300-500 smart stores in 2021 to bolster its offline presence.

Business Insider spoke to Madhav Sheth, who is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Realme India as well as the company’s global vice president, who revealed the smartphone major’s plan for 2021 and his strategy to launch new devices in the 5G era. Sheth is the CEO of Realme Europe as well.
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Online is good, adding offline is better



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EXCLUSIVE: Realme plans to open 500 new stores in 2021⁠— the CEO reveals the company will go beyond smartphones in the 5G era
Realme smart storeRealme

Sheth revealed that Realme is planning to launch up to 500 new “smart” stores in 2021. This will include flagship stores in some of the major cities. Additionally, the company is also planning on partnering with other retailers to sell some of its products in the lifestyle segment.

Realme debuted in India in 2018 with an entry-level smartphone in May. The company followed it up with several new smartphones across price ranges, offering something for everyone. This allowed it to break into the top five smartphone companies in India in a year’s time.
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EXCLUSIVE: Realme plans to open 500 new stores in 2021⁠— the CEO reveals the company will go beyond smartphones in the 5G era
Realme market shareIDC / Business Insider India / Flourish

‘Make in India’ cannot be achieved overnight



Talking about the challenges faced in manufacturing products in India, Sheth explained that it cannot happen overnight.

Making a smartphone requires critical components like the display, chipset, camera modules among other parts, which are still imported into India. Building out the capabilities to manufacture these parts in India will take some time, according to Sheth.
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A bumper 2020 behind the aggressive plan for 2020



Realme shipped 19 million smartphones in 2020. Sheth has now set a target of 25-30 million shipments in 2021, targeting growth of over 30% which might seem too ambitious at the outset but Sheth is confident about achieving it.

“Backed by pent-up demand, new launches with attractive specs, festive offers, the Indian smartphone market registered a record growth in shipments in Q3. Realme emerged the No. 3 Brand as per smartphone shipments in October 2020,” Sheth said.
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The game will evolve with 5G



Sheth said he believes 5G is going to unlock potential for a wide range of products and services.

“It’s not just smartphones that will benefit from 5G. I expect us to see a lot of new products and services that will utilize the high bandwidth potential that 5G brings to the table,” he said.
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Realme is all set to launch its new 5G smartphone as part of the Realme X7 series in the country. Sheth said these devices will be the first amongst many Realme products that will “democratize 5G” in India.

Realme is looking at IoT opportunities in India



With the smartphone industry being extremely competitive and the imminent launch of 5G services in India, building an ecosystem of internet-enabled devices (IoT) is increasingly becoming important for many companies.
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Realme, too, wants to build its own ecosystem of products and services. At the moment, Realme has a smart camera in its portfolio but we could see some new smart devices being launched this year.

SEE ALSO:

Realme X7 series smartphones with AMOLED display, 64MP quad cameras to launch in India in first week of February

Realme sold 8.3 million devices during the festive season, registering 20% growth over last year

Realme Watch most shipped wearable in the last two quarters, company tops wearable segment in September
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