Chinese Realme is targeting the European high-end smartphone market with a new launch

  • To start selling the premium GT 2 Pro phone across Europe in February
  • GT 2 Pro priced at $792 to $905, in line with other high-end phones

SHENZHEN, China, Jan 26 (Reuters) – China’s Realme will enter the European premium handset market next month with its most expensive device ever, its CEO has told Reuters, as it looks to expand beyond its budget offerings and sell 50% more smartphones globally. year.

The Shenzhen-based company is among several Chinese handset firms that have moved aggressively to grab global market share from Huawei Technologies (HWT.UL), after escalating US sanctions hampered supply chains of the former major smartphone maker and forced it to retreat. .

Realme plans to start selling its premium GT 2 Pro phone across Europe in February for 700 to 800 euros ($792 to $905), founder and CEO Sky Li said.

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That’s roughly double the $349 suggested price of the GT Master Edition it’s currently selling for through Amazon and in line with prices for other high-end phones from market leaders Apple (AAPL.O) and Samsung. (005930.KS).

“We think it’s a very important market and a big market for high-end phones,” Li said.

With the pandemic affecting economic conditions, smartphone demand is sluggish and consumers are waiting longer to upgrade, but as the fastest growing smartphone company in the world, Realme can reverse this trend, added Li.

Counterpoint Research estimates that the European smartphone market generated $80.65 billion in revenue in the first 11 months of 2021, of which high-end devices accounted for $55.56 billion.

“Almost all of the growth is driven by the high end, which can be attributed mainly to successful high-end models from Apple and Samsung,” said Yang Wang, principal analyst at Counterpoint.

Apple, whose prices for its iPhone 13 start at around $850, was the top-selling manufacturer in Europe last quarter, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi (1810.HK), whose phones cost around $900 and $700 respectively. according to Counterpoint.

Data from consultancy IDC shows that the European market was comparable to the United States in the first three quarters of 2021 in terms of smartphone revenue, but lagged behind China.

‘NO DISTRACTION’

Spun off from Chinese smartphone maker Oppo in 2018, Realme was the world’s sixth-largest smartphone seller at the end of September, according to Counterpoint, with strong sales in India, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

Realme, Oppo and other rivals Vivo and Oneplus trace their origins to BBK Electronics, a Shenzhen-based conglomerate.

Li said he expects the G2 Pro phone to appeal to European customers as it is one of the first phones to launch with Qualcomm’s new flagship Snapdragon 8gen1 processor (QCOM.O) , which promises superior speed and fuel efficiency.

Realme sold 60 million handsets in 2021 globally and aims to sell 90 million this year and more than 100 million in 2023, Li said.

The company, like its peers, has been hit by semiconductor shortages over the past year, but Li said the constraints could ease by the second half of 2022.

While peers like Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi make inroads into processors and electric cars, Realme will remain focused on phones, “without further thought or distraction,” Li said.

“It’s not easy to survive in an industry so full of experts, so we shouldn’t do things beyond our capabilities,” he said.

($1 = 0.8837 euros)

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Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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