14 May 2024

How Realme Became a Major Player in India, Beating Out Other Chinese Giants


In 2018, a new player entered the competitive Indian smartphone market – Realme. Founded just six years ago, Realme quickly established itself as a brand to watch. This young company isn’t alone in the tech world, though. It’s part of China’s BBK Electronics conglomerate, sharing its lineage with established names like Oppo, OnePlus, iQOO, and Vivo.

While connected to this larger family of brands, Realme has carved out its own niche. This blog will delve into how Realme has achieved substantial growth within India’s dynamic mid-premium smartphone segment. By analyzing their strategies and target audience, we’ll explore how Realme has become a major force in this increasingly competitive market.

The Rise of Realme

Image : Sky Li (Li Bingzhong)

Realme’s journey began in 2018 with a clear focus: offering feature-rich smartphones at aggressive price points. This strategy resonated perfectly with a large segment of the Indian market – young, tech-savvy consumers seeking the best possible value. Realme is credited with having one founder: Sky Li (Li Bingzhong). He previously served as the vice president of OPPO and head of their overseas business department before establishing Realme in 2018.

Their initial success can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Competitive Pricing: Realme smartphones offered high-end specifications like powerful processors and ample RAM at prices significantly lower than established brands. This price advantage made them highly attractive to budget-conscious buyers.
  • Strong Specifications: Realme didn’t compromise on performance. Their devices boasted impressive features like long-lasting batteries, high-resolution displays, and capable camera systems, all at a fraction of the cost of flagship phones.

This combination of affordability and strong specs proved to be a winning formula. Realme quickly gained a loyal following in India, establishing itself as a go-to brand for those seeking the best bang for their buck.

The Mid-Premium Market in India


The Indian smartphone market is a complex landscape, but one segment has been experiencing particularly explosive growth: the mid-premium segment. This category sits between budget-friendly devices and high-end flagships, offering a compelling mix of features and affordability.

Here’s why the mid-premium segment holds such significance in India:

  • Value-Conscious Consumers: Indian consumers are known for being highly price-sensitive. While they crave the latest features and functionalities, they also prioritize value for money. The mid-premium segment delivers on this need by offering high-end features at a more accessible price point compared to top-tier flagships.
  • Rapid Technological Advancements: Smartphone technology is constantly evolving. The mid-premium segment benefits from this rapid innovation, as features that were once exclusive to flagships become more readily available at lower price points. This allows consumers to access features like powerful processors, high refresh rate displays, and capable camera systems without breaking the bank.
  • Growing Aspiration for Premium Features: As disposable incomes rise in India, consumers are increasingly aspiring to own smartphones that not only perform well but also boast premium design elements and advanced functionalities. The mid-premium segment caters to this growing desire by offering sleek designs, innovative camera setups, and features typically associated with high-end devices.

This confluence of factors – value-conscious consumers, technological advancements, and rising aspirations – has created a perfect storm for the growth of the mid-premium smartphone segment in India. It’s within this dynamic space that Realme has positioned itself as a major player.

Realme’s Mid-Premium Strategy


Realme’s success in the mid-premium segment wasn’t accidental. They implemented a strategic approach with a focus on two key areas: innovative product lines and strategic partnerships.

1. Innovative Product Lines:

  • Diversification: Realme didn’t limit itself to a single product line. They launched multiple series catering to different needs within the mid-premium segment. For example:
    • Realme Number series: This core series offered well-balanced features and performance at highly competitive prices. It became a popular choice for everyday users seeking value and reliability.
    • Realme GT series: Targeting a more performance-oriented audience, the GT series focused on powerful processors, high refresh rate displays, and impressive camera systems. This series appealed to gamers and tech enthusiasts seeking flagship-like performance without the flagship price tag.
  • Focus on Design: Realme understood that aesthetics matter in the mid-premium space. They invested in sleek and modern designs with premium materials like glass and metal. This focus on design helped their phones stand out from the competition and cater to the growing demand for stylish smartphones.

2. Strategic Partnerships:

Realme leveraged its connections within the BBK Electronics group to secure partnerships with leading technology companies. This allowed them to:

  • Access Cutting-Edge Technology: Partnerships with companies like MediaTek for processors and Sony for camera sensors ensured Realme had access to the latest technologies, enabling them to integrate high-performance features into their mid-range devices.
  • Optimize Production and Costs: Collaboration with other BBK brands potentially streamlined production processes and optimized costs, allowing Realme to offer competitive pricing despite incorporating advanced features.

By combining innovative product lines with strategic partnerships, Realme created a compelling proposition for consumers in the mid-premium segment. Their smartphones offered the latest features, stylish designs, and competitive pricing, making them a clear favorite for a large segment of the Indian smartphone market.

Impact and Future Outlook


Realme’s rapid growth in the mid-premium segment has had a significant impact on the Indian smartphone market:

  • Increased Competition and Innovation: Realme’s success has spurred competition within the mid-premium space. Established brands have been forced to re-evaluate their pricing and feature sets to remain competitive. This ultimately benefits consumers who have access to a wider range of high-quality options at attractive prices.
  • Focus on Value: Realme’s emphasis on value has pushed the entire market to prioritize features and performance at accessible price points. This benefits budget-conscious consumers seeking the best possible bang for their buck.

However, maintaining this momentum won’t be without its challenges:

  • Market Saturation: The mid-premium segment is becoming increasingly crowded. Realme will need to continue innovating and differentiating its products to stand out from the competition.
  • Shifting Consumer Preferences: Consumer preferences can change rapidly. Realme will need to remain agile and adaptable to cater to evolving needs and desires within the market.

Here are some potential strategies for Realme to maintain its position:

  • Continued Focus on Innovation: Maintaining a steady stream of new and exciting products with cutting-edge features will be crucial.
  • Expanding into New Segments: Realme could explore opportunities in other smartphone segments like budget or premium flagships to diversify its portfolio and reach new customer groups.
  • Premiumization: As the brand matures, Realme might consider venturing further into the higher end of the mid-premium segment, offering even more premium design elements and functionalities.


By staying true to its core values of innovation and value while adapting to evolving market dynamics, Realme is well-positioned to maintain its dominance in the Indian mid-premium smartphone market. The company’s success story serves as a testament to the power of understanding consumer needs and delivering high-quality products at competitive prices. As Realme continues its journey, it will be fascinating to see how it further shapes the landscape of the Indian smartphone market.

A Recipe for Success and a Shifting Landscape


Realme’s impressive growth in India’s mid-premium smartphone market offers valuable lessons for the tech industry. Their success hinges on a three-pronged approach:

  • Understanding Consumer Needs: By focusing on value and offering feature-rich smartphones at competitive prices, Realme resonated with a large segment of Indian consumers.
  • Strategic Innovation: Realme’s commitment to innovative product lines, catering to various needs within the mid-premium segment, coupled with strategic partnerships that ensured access to cutting-edge technology, further solidified their position.
  • Adaptability: The smartphone market is ever-evolving. Realme’s ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences and market dynamics is crucial for its continued success.

The impact of Realme’s growth extends beyond the company itself. It has spurred increased competition and innovation within the Indian smartphone market, ultimately benefiting consumers with a wider range of high-quality options at attractive prices. As Realme looks to the future, the strategies it adopts to maintain its dominance will be closely watched by the industry.

Realme’s story is a reminder that success in the smartphone industry lies in understanding your audience, delivering exceptional value, and constantly innovating. This journey certainly doesn’t end here, and it will be interesting to see how Realme continues to shape the landscape of the Indian smartphone market and potentially influence the broader mobile phone industry in the years to come.

Please share your thoughts in the comments. At theproductrecap.com, we are open to friendly suggestions and helpful inputs to keep awareness at peak.