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Realme to bet on 5G in India and focus on Rs 20,000-30,000 price segment, says CEO Madhav Sheth

Realme is planning to grow into various segments but the main category that will drive most business is going to be smartphones.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | February 26, 2021 | Updated 17:28 IST
Madhav Sheth is the chief executive officer for Realme India, Europe and vice president of Realme.

Highlights

  • Realme will focus on the Rs 20,000 - 30,000 segment of smartphones in this year.
  • The biggest drive for Realme phones will be 5G this year.
  • Realme may also launch an electric juicer and an air purifier.

Realme has come a long way. It has managed to grab many firsts for itself, while the aggressive pricing for products helped it reach India's top five smartphone brands' charts. Smartphones are Realme's primary business, but it does not want to be known as a phone company, which is why the company has diversified its product lines over time to include earphones, televisions, smart products, and clothing. And with every launch event, Realme keeps increasing the products in their respective categories. The latest one is the Narzo 30 series launch, where not only the two new smartphones were launched, but Realme also introduced its gaming accessories and launched a new pair of earbuds.

Along the lines of the new launches, India Today Tech had a chance to sit with Madhav Sheth, who is the chief executive officer for Realme India, Europe and vice president of Realme. Sheth gave a preview of what Realme is planning for the future, how the diversification of product categories will move further, the company's huge bet on the 5G market in India, and the star of this week's launch, the Narzo 30 Pro that is India's most affordable 5G phone right now. Edited excerpts from the interview below:

More 5G phones and IoT products

Perhaps the biggest part of Realme's plan for this year is doubling down on 5G phones. This means more smartphones. Realme will "make a new breakthrough" in the Rs 20,000 - 30,000 segment in India, Sheth told India Today Tech.

"Realme's strategy in 2021 will be focused on two main things - being a '5G leader' and 'realme TechLife'. 5G is a key growth pillar for Realme this year," Sheth said.

Last year, Realme launched India's first 5G phone, the X50 Pro. But this year, it is trying to populate the market with 5G phones. "We will also be launching 5G smartphones across price segments and let everyone be future-ready in 2021," he added.

In its bid to become a tech-lifestyle brand, Realme is focusing hugely on the AIoT segment. And this involves a TechLife platform that will get third party companies onboard.

"We are also initiating Realme's new masterplan: realme TechLife," he added.

The partnering companies will leverage Realme's R&D supply, and quality assurance and their products will be supported by the Realme Link app, which is a one-stop solution for Realme's IoT range. Sheth said Realme has received "many applications and have started early-stage discussions with multiple companies who are interested to join the "realme TechLife" project". All these new products will bear the "realme TechLife" branding.

Electric juicer, air purifier in the pipeline?

Realme's expanding portfolio may soon include an electric juicer and an air purifier that, Sheth said, are among the top products consumers are expecting. There will also be smart speakers from Realme soon, as well as from partnering companies that will be a part of the Realme TechLife project.

"We are still checking with our realme fans about their most expected products. We have received a high demand for speakers, so we have started planning our product pipeline accordingly," said Sheth.

What makes TWS an important category?

"I think it's a good product segment with many real user benefits, and I believe it will be more widely accepted as a must, especially for the young generation," Sheth said on the TWS audio segment. "This adds to the personal entertainment experience and privacy which is needed by everyone and doesn't influence others."

Why 5G over 65W fast charging in Narzo 30 Pro?

According to Sheth, a certain feature's priority depends largely on what the customers want and at what price. For Narzo 30 Pro, 5G outplayed the 65W fast charging that its predecessor Narzo 20 Pro features.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G

"We have a very clear positioning for each series which actually came from the diversified demand of the consumers across different price segments. Like Narzo series is for young players and multi-taskers hence processor, battery and charging are pretty important for this series," Sheth explained.

But why a huge gap between two 5G phones?

While the first 5G phone from Realme India was launched last year in February, the company's second one came just a few days back with the launch X7 series. It was a time of almost one year wherein no other 5G phone was launched by Realme.

Sheth believes that was because "5G was not affordable at that time, and most operators were not clear of the 5G commercialisation plan in the first half of 2020."

The 5G deployment may still take over six months considering the pace the government is moving ahead with, but at least, this year, the rollout seems more likely than it did last year.

"Since the end of 2020, more operators started to talk about their plans of 5G commercialisation and with much more options of powerful 5G processors. That's why there was a one-year "gap". Realme is always consumer and product-centric and doesn't do things for gimmicks," Sheth told India Today Tech.

With great sales comes great after-sales

Realme is one of the major mobile phone brands in India right now. And with growing sales, the after-sales needs to be robust.

"We have scaled up our after-sales service infrastructure to bring realme users the benefits of 360-degree Real Service. It encompasses after-sales service, exclusive service centre, pre-sales and 'Call Me' services," said Sheth.

Realme has been scaling up its customer support infrastructure. Realme now has 436 service centres for mobiles and AIoT products, which are called the "Carry-In" service, and over 600 service centres for TVs reaching 19,000 pin codes across India, called "On-site" service.

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