India-first: Oppo Realme eyes bigger online share

NEW DELHI: Realme, the new online brand of Chinese smartphone maker Oppo, is adopting an ‘India-first’ approach in a bid to garner a lion’s share in the country’s online channel, having inked an exclusive partnership with online marketplace Amazon. Under the strategy, the latest brand will launch all new devices in India first before introducing them to any other global market.

“We want a substantial share in India’s online channel, which currently contributes to around 40% of the overall market. India is our priority and it will get any new device first,” Madhav Sheth, CEO of Realme India, told ET.

The latest brand is sharing Oppo’s resources such as research and development and manufacturing for the Indian market. It will also use Oppo’s 500 service centres in India for after-sales services.

Levi Lee, chief product officer at Realme, said Realme products will be made locally at Oppo’s factory in Greater Noida. “For Realme products, PCB assembling is already being done, as we have SMT line in the factory,” he said.

He added that the sub-brand will, however, operate as an independent brand and is building a specific team in India and in China that will work on the software and product development. “We are completely separate from the Oppo brand,” he added.

The brand is focusing on Rs 10,000-20,000 range with its products for the India market.

In the online market, China’s Xiaomi, India’s leading smartphone brand with 31% share, has more than 47% share, as per data from Counterpoint Technology Market Research. Oppo, on the other hand, is no. 4 in the Indian smartphone market, with a share of 5.6% as of March.

The brand is looking for startups and companies for tie-ups around value-added services. “We are exploring the possibility with Amazon to provide its prime services to non-Prime users that buy our products,” Sheth said.

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