Indian consumers check their mobile telephones at a free Wi-Fi Internet zone.   Photo: AFP/ Indranil Mukherjee
Indian consumers check their mobile phones in a free Wi-Fi zone. Photo: AFP / Indranil Mukherjee

Chinese smartphone brands continue to scale new heights in the Indian market, despite political ties between the two countries remaining frosty.

Chinese brand Realme, a subsidiary of BBK Electronics, has now pipped South Korean electronics giant Samsung and moved up to second place in the smartphone market, according to Counterpoint research.

In October this year, Realme’s market share rose to 18%, against Samsung’s 16%.

Market leader Xiaomi was at 20%, while Vivo was in fourth position (13%).

Realme’s key to success has been in offering high-quality specifications at attractive prices. The brand was launched in India in May 2018 and its rise has been meteoric.

It has been aggressive about online sales and is now the top-selling smartphone on Flipkart during the festival month, accounting for 52% of total smartphone sales on the e-commerce site. It was also in the top two online smartphone brands, with a 27% market share.

Realme is also increasing its number of outlets to 55,000 next year, from 30,000 at present. The company says although online sales are crucial, 70% of sales still happen physically.

Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth has set ambitious targets for the Indian unit. “2021 has been a year of milestones for Realme and this win is another feather in our hat. With our ‘Dare to Leap’ spirit and individuality, we will continue to challenge the existing status quo and prove leadership time and again,” he said.

Sheth hopes Realme will be the top-selling smartphone in India in the next year. “Our aim for 2022 is to be the No 1 smartphone brand in India, and this milestone is just another stepping stone to realize that vision,” Sheth added.

In October, Realme announced a new partnership with Khy electronics to manufacture a diverse range of AIOT products and accessories including a Realme Watch 2 Pro, Realme Buds Wireless and Realme 4K Smart TV Google Stick in India.