- Chinese smartphone maker Realme on Tuesday launched the GT3 smartphone for international markets at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
- Realme claims that the GT3 can be fully charged in 9 minutes and 30 seconds. The phone starts at $649.
- The company ramped up expansion in Europe last year, but times are tough, with the global smartphone market in 2022 experiencing its worst year since 2013 in terms of shipments.
Chinese smartphone upstart Realme has been trying to enter international markets with its flagship phones. But it plays in the mid-priced segment of the market, which faces stiff competition from rivals like Xiaomi.
BARCELONA, Spain — Chinese smartphone maker Realme wants to stand out in the crowded space of mid-range devices. So on Tuesday, it launched a smartphone it claims can fully charge in 9 minutes and 30 seconds.
The company took the wraps off its GT3 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world’s largest mobile trade show. It also wants to grow its business outside of China, joining a wave of Chinese vendors looking to target overseas markets.
The GT3 starts at $649, which puts it in a very competitive segment, where Realme will compete with Chinese rivals like Xiaomi and Oppo, which offer lower-priced devices with higher specs.
“Realme is chasing the low-margin segment of the market by offering highly competitively priced products aimed at value seekers,” Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC via email.
“However, this is a very difficult segment to play in the market. Low single-digit margins can evaporate if the dollar moves quickly, component prices rise or shipping costs rise – all headwinds Realme has to face.”
In a bid to expand overseas, the company launched its flagship phones GT2 and GT2 Pro in Europe last year. But times are tough, with the global smartphone market in 2022 set for its worst year since 2013 in terms of shipments.
Sky Li, Realme’s CEO, told CNBC last year that the company expects to sell 85 million phones worldwide by 2022. The company did not release updated numbers. Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, says the company shipped 52 million smartphones, a 20% year-over-year decline. The shipment numbers indicate the number of devices that Realme is sending to retailers to sell and not equivalent sales, but it does indicate the demand for the company’s phones.
Realme’s shipments in Europe, a key region targeted for international expansion, fell 44% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. Its market share in Europe fell to 4% from 6% in the same period last year.
“Realme’s biggest challenges across Europe and the US in 2023 are a lack of retail presence with powerful operators like Vodafone” and a “less valuable brand perception than Apple or Samsung,” Neil Mawston, managing director of Strategy Analytics, said via CNBC. Email.