Realme an Indian startup, its smartphones made in India: CEO Madhav Sheth

Amid the #BoycottChina row, Realme India CEO has come forward to talk about the brand’s history and what it has been doing for Indian consumers.

Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth has explicitly said that Realme is an INDIAN startup. In his latest episode of Ask Madhav series on YouTube, Sheth quelled the concerns of the company’s fans who have been inquisitive about the company’s history and whether it belongs to China.

“I can proudly say Realme is an Indian startup, which is now a global MNC (multinational corporation),” said Sheth while replying to the question whether Realme is an Indian brand. “Realme is among the top seven smartphone brands in the world,” he added while recognising the achievement of the smartphone brand in a short span of time.

Contrary to Sheth’s claims, Realme was spun off from Oppo and is headquartered at Shenzhen in China. The Wikipedia page of Realme shows it is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, having BBK Electronics as its parent company, that commenced its operations in 2018, beginning with India.

The recent turmoil between India and China has accelerated the anti-China sentiment, which began with the perception that the country gave the deadly coronavirus to the world. Amid the #BoycottChina row, it is becoming hard for Chinese tech brands to promote their products, much less actually sell them theoretically.

An army of Internet citizens showing defiance against the purchase and consumption of products, which either belong to a Chinese brand or have some sort of connotation to China, has emerged as a hurdle for tech brands. Realme, the company that spun off from the Chinese company Oppo, too has been getting the attention from the anti-China squad.

Sheth said that once Realme was successful in India, it expanded to other countries in Southeast Asia, Middle-east, and Europe. He added that India alone contributes to more than 50 per cent of Realme’s global sales, which is why the company launches most of its products in India first. The recently launched Realme TV, Realme Watch, and other AIoT products were introduced in India before other markets.

Realme is also the first brand to have launched India’s first 5G smartphone, the X50 Pro 5G. Although there is no necessary infrastructure to access 5G in India, the company argues its smartphone is future-proof.

The Make in India initiative by the Indian government is followed by most of the Chinese companies, including Realme. Sheth said that the company “is in line with all the government of India initiatives” and that it procures more than 60 per cent of components required for its products from local suppliers.

Adding to his statement, Sheth said all Realme smartphones are made in India and the manufacturing facility (Oppo’s facility at Greater Noida) has created more than 7,500 direct jobs, which will increase to 10,000 by the end of 2020. Sheth also said the company will expand the offline presence in India with the recruitment of over 5,000 “sales promoters.”

“We understand the Indian users much better. We are now looking to become self-reliant in the future,” said Sheth.

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