The History of Realme

Realme, a company so new in the market, yet quickly gained traction. So much that it became a worthy competitor in the aggressive pricing space that Xiaomi has dominated. Its phones became attractive especially to third world countries due to its affordable price point with high specs in that regard.

The company is still young, and has not much history behind it, but it changed the way smartphones are perceived especially when it became its own brand.

The Split with Oppo

Realme was formerly known as a sub-brand of Oppo known as “Oppo Real” in 2010. Yes, the company has been there since 2010, but only as a minor part of Oppo that’s why it has not seen the eyes of the public yet. In May 2018, Oppo announced the Oppo Realme One in India, the first ever Realme branded smartphone, and was essentially a rebranded Oppo F7 Youth, but with a cheaper price.

By July 2018, a month after the Realme 1 was announced, after seeing success with the Oppo Realme 1, with a staggering 400,000 units sold two months after the launch, Oppo announced that Realme would become a separate brand from Oppo, thus becoming its own company under BBK electronics. The company would be headed by Sky Li, previously Vice President of Oppo. This was the same route OnePlus took, as the founder of OnePlus, Peter Lau, previously worked for Oppo, and then created his own company.

According to GizmoChina. Shenzhen Ruierhao Mobile Communication Co., Ltd was established. It had a capital of CNY 50 million (~$7.32 million) and was spearheaded by Sky Li. This company was considered as the legal entity of Realme.

The Rise to Prominence

Realme was established 4th May 2018, National Youth Day in China. The company describes itself as a young company targeting the youth, with a slogan “Proud to be Young”. Its primary mission states that: “let the youth from all over the world enjoy the pleasant life brought by technology and beauty at a more reasonable price“. It aims to deliver “powerful performance, stylish design, sincere services and exploring more possibilities of smartphones“. Because of this, they plan to make phones below the 10-20K INR price range. (or sub 10K php phones) that everyone can afford, with aggressive spec sheet added into the mix.

Sure enough, this goal is promising, and is a success. The Realme 1 device, as mentioned earlier, sold for 400,000 units which is huge for a company that just started. It may not look big today, but back then, this is large for Realme, who was then just part of Oppo.

Realme became the fastest growing smartphone company in the world. In September 2018, the company created the first phone outside of the “Oppo” brand, called Realme 2, and its more powerful variant, the Realme 2 Pro, and in early 2019, the Realme 3 series, which was the first phone, along with the Realme C1 to reach Philippine shores, as well as international markets than India. In less than a year, the company grew to 10 million users. That’s fast as it only took them a few months!

By 2020, according to Counterpoint, Realme surpassed many contemporaries, including Samsung, Apple and Huawei in terms of smartphone shipments. It had an 80% Year-on-Year sales, with more than 50 million units sold in India and China, In just the span of nine quarters! Counterpoint’s report on Q3 2020 on Realme was regarded as the fastest growing company reaching the 50 million milestone.

Source: Counterpoint Q3 2020 Global Smartphone Shipments Report

In addition to the 50 million milestone, it had a huge jump in phone shipment in Q4 2020 vs the previous year, which was nearly doubled in 2020 with 14 million smartphones shipped on a quarterly basis. This was mainly because of their target market being the young and the next generation who enjoy bang-for-buck phones with great specs. In Q3 2020, it had a 132% QoQ growth, which is absurdly high.

Realme also has a new slogan which is still being used today, “Dare to Leap”. This slogan reflects their strategy as a bold and valiant company that aims to sell trendy and high performance smartphones with low price. They were also one of the first companies to release a phone with Snapdragon 865 and 765 chipsets.

If this strategy sounds familiar to you, that’s because their main and prime competitor, Xiaomi, also has nearly the same business strategy of providing wild and high specs with low prices. Like Xiaomi, Realme also started selling online-only, and only recently have they started selling phones offline, with many brick-and-mortar stores seen in stores worldwide. With aggressive marketing, their phones continue to sell.

Other Ventures

Realme’s new lineup. Apart from the Realme 8 series, the new lineup also includes AIoT devices

Realme also started selling AIoT tech, such as smart scales and electric toothbrushes and smartphone accessories such as wireless earbuds. In 2021, the company is planning to launch over 100 AIoT products, in addition to their smartphones.

During its announcement of the Realme 8 series, they have announced a smart light bulb which can be controlled via app or through Google Assistant. The company also has recently seen the wearables market, as it sold its first smartwatch, the Realme Watch, and then followed by its successor, the Realme Watch S.