An interview with Tim Shao, Managing Director, realme
Tim Shao, Managing Director, realme Bangladesh is a man of letters who shed his deep knowledge to Fintech recently. In his interview, Tim showed his optimism for Bangladeshi youth and he believes ‘realme’ could create a cutting edge tech lifestyle for the young generation.
Here is the excerpt for the readers.
realme is probably best known as the value phone brand. But the bigger brands are always trying to get into this segment with their budget range products. How do you compete with that?
Actually, globally realme has completed all entry-level, middle and high price segments coverage with C series, digital series and X series, providing young customers tech trendsetting products of all price segments.
A strong product portfolio, flexible marketing and effective channel strategies are the keys to realme’s success so far. To compete with other brands. realme targets youth consumer groups and attracts young users from all over the world with products boasting powerful performance and trendsetting designs.
Since its establishment, realme has always been committed to providing the best-value products and experience within all price ranges. With the Dare to Leap brand spirit, realme delivers products with trendsetting performance and design. realme leads the release of a number of new technologies and new product features, such as 125w Ultra Dart Charge, Starry Mode and the world’s first 64 million pixels, providing a superior product experience within the price range.
In terms of marketing, realme has launched an “influencer marketing” model, using active and concentrated social media platforms to effectively reach target consumer group of the youth on a large scale.
realme has always been applying the business mode of“light assets, short channel, focus on e-commerce”, which allows us to swiftly respond to market changes. The cooperation between realme and e-commerce platform in products, logistics and marketing bring consumers more economic and handy shopping experience.
Smartphone penetration is still very low in Bangladesh. Do you have any specific plans for reaching remote areas, especially with some of your products that cost as low as Tk9,000?
We already have the realme C series, with which we focus on the entry level. We released the realme C2 priced at BDT 8,990 on February 2020, and we released the realme C11 at BDT 8,990 recently onJuly 2020 which come with the latest Helio G35 chipset, 5000mAh massive battery, nightscape dual camera, geometric design and 6.5” mini-drop fullscreen. Both of these products got good feedback from our users. Especially, realme C11 got high recommendations from our users due to its trendsetting innovation for our entry level products.
At present we are only six months old in Bangladesh, but in that duration, we have tried to increase our number of shops as much as possible despite all barriers and the expansion both online and offline is still going on and hence if there is any area where there is a demand of realme, we will eventually reach there.
One of the main problems for consumers here is a lack of good quality product review. You have to rely on reviews in the Western markets. But the problem there is that companies release different versions in different regions. Wouldn’t it be better for the market if the brands tried to mitigate this by releasing products with same names and specifications? You can still have a different product, let’s say a higher budget phone for the EU market that you don’t have in South Asia for example. But where there are similar products is it not possible to bring this uniformity?
Actually we also focus on the uniformity products for consumers. We have the entry level value king realme C series, power meet style realme number series, Flagship for youth realme pro series , and a standout in its price range realme X series. For different markets ,we will go for different combination series, but products factor and version will be maximized uniformity.
We are probably seeing a trend of phone companies withdrawing high-value products after the pandemic. For example, it seems OLED displays will no longer be available in the budget price range, which was available before, albeit limitedly. Tell us what you think.
Definitely the pandemic brought about some changesin the smartphone industry, and I have to say, right now there is more demand for smartphones that can provide good experience. And users demanding is our primary consideration. With our Dare to Leap brand spirit, we will be providing products with trendsetting performance and design to our users. And we will launch products with OLED displays products soon.
BD market is probably among the most value-oriented markets in the world. What is the situation on the ground? Could you tell me about your market share and how realme is doing compared to its competitors?
Yes, the market in Bangladesh is among the most value-oriented markets in the world. The recovery from the effect of the pandemic on the ground is very fast right now. According to Counterpoint research, we got 1000% QoQ growth in Bangladesh in Q2 with 6% market share for now, and globally we’ve been the fastest growing smartphone brand in the world for four consecutive quarters. Like I mentioned before, a strong product portfolio with products that offer value for money within its price range, flexible marketing and effective channel strategies are the keys to realme’s success to maintain growth against competition despite the declining smartphone industry and meet the competition.
Where do you see the brand in the near future? Tell us about your plans in BD.
realme will keep its fast growth momentum and will always be committed to creating the trendsetting tech lifestyle for the youth in Bangladesh with its “smartphone + AIoT” products.
That said, product wise, we will continue to bring products with best value in all price ranges, meanwhile delivering AIoT products to build the realme ecosystem together with realme link App.
For service wise, we are planning to set up 100+ experience brand shops which can provide better customer experience and build more after-sale service centers for better service to our users.
Globally realme has reached 40M users, and in Bangladesh we have a strong fan base as well. Like the FanFest we organised recently, we will continue to make friends with the young people in Bangladesh and grow with our fans together by not only providing trendsetting products and services but also through creative marketing campaigns.