- 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 stepped up expansion in Europe last year, but the timing has been tough, with the global smartphone market in 2022 suffering its worst year since 2013 in terms of shipments.
Chinese smartphone upstart Realme has been trying to push into international markets with its flagship phones. But it plays in the mid-price segment of the market where it faces intense competition from rivals such as Xiaomi.
BARCELONA, Spain – Chinese smartphone maker Realme is looking to stand out in a crowded field of mid-range devices. Then on Tuesday, it launched a smartphone that it claims can be fully charged in 9 minutes and 30 seconds.
The company took the wraps off the GT3 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the largest mobile trade show in the world. It is looking to grow its business outside of China, joining a number of Chinese suppliers looking to target overseas markets.
The GT3 starts at $649, placing it in an extremely competitive segment where Realme will compete with Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi and Oppo, which offer affordable devices with high specs.
“Realme is targeting the low-margin segment of the market by offering extremely competitive pricing aimed at value seekers,” Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC via email.
“But this is an extremely difficult part of the market to play in. Low single-digit margins can disappear if the dollar moves quickly, component prices rise or shipping costs rise – all headwinds Realme has had to face.”
In a bid to expand overseas, the company launched its flagship GT2 and GT2 Pro phones in Europe last year. But the timing has been tough, with the global smartphone market in 2022 suffering its worst year since 2013 in terms of shipments.
Realme CEO Sky Li told CNBC last year that the company is looking to sell 85 million phones globally by 2022. The company has not released updated figures. Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, estimates that the company shipped 52 million smartphones, down 20% year-on-year. Shipment numbers indicate the number of units Realme is sending to retailers to sell and do not equate to sales, but it is an indication of demand for the company’s phones.
Realme’s shipments in Europe, the key region it is targeting for international expansion, fell 44% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. The market share in Europe fell to 4% from 6% in the same period the previous year.
“Realme’s biggest challenges across Europe and the US in 2023 include a lack of retail presence with powerful operators like Vodafone” and a “brand perception that is less prestigious than Apple or Samsung,” Neil Mawston, CEO of Strategy Analytics, told CNBC via e- mail.