By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
A smartphone does not usually come in a name like Realme. But, yes, it is a smartphone brand with the tagline “Proud To Be Young.”
Realme Philippines Chief Operating Officer Jacky Chen, the young entrepreneur and former Alibaba guy engaged in digital marketing and e-commerce, and is out to prove Realme deserves a space in a smartphone war catering largely to the Internet-driven Filipino youth and the young at heart.
Realme was officially established on May 4, 2018 (National Youth Day of China) by its founder Sky Li together with a group of young minds who have rich experience in the smartphone industry across several countries. Realme is a technology brand that specializes in providing high-quality smartphones. They have factories in Indonesia, China and India.
Spurred by its mission to “let the youth from all over the world enjoy the pleasant life brought about by technology and beauty at a more reasonable price,” Realme focuses on user needs and presents products with both strong performance and trendy design in the broad context of e-commerce.
By the mere mention of the name, Realme evokes a youthful vibe. It brings out an attitude of the real me. Realme is committed to offering powerful performance, stylish design and sincere service and to exploring more possibilities with smartphones.
Realme went to the market with a strong promise, asserting it to be the game changer smartphone brand. Brandishing the tagline “Proud To Be Young”, the new brand Realme was launched in India in May last year. Indonesia followed.
Realme came to the Philippines late 2018 as part of efforts to strengthen its Southeast Asian foothold with the promise of delivering powerful mobile performance and contemporary style that are attainable by all Filipinos.
This 2019, Realme Philippines is setting its sights on becoming a major smartphone player through nationwide expansion, a fresh marketing approach and competitive products.
Chen is making sure Realme will have a good landing. Chen is equipped with sufficient background having worked with Alibaba as senior business development manager from 2016 to 2018 prior to joining Realme Philippines.
During this time, he spearheaded media buying, product monetization, and institutionalized sponsor relationship-building campaigns. His experience in Alibaba fortified Chen’s expertise in the e-commerce space.
From 2014 to 2016, Chen served as regional director of Western Visayas for OPPO Philippines. He oversaw OPPO operations in the region and grew the company’s partnerships and mobile distributorship network. Chen’s stint at OPPO Philippines broadened his knowledge of the Philippine smartphone landscape and Filipino retail culture.
Its launching product, Realme C1, had sold-out flash sales and offline store sales with long queues, great reviews and warm buyer response.
C1 is Realme’s only model so far for the Philippine market and it retails for P5,990 only. It is an entry-level model for Realme.
“We are truly grateful to all Filipinos for trusting what we offer. Our hearts are full with customers’ positive feedback on the Realme C1, especially knowing that these users took a chance with us, a new brand. Rest assured that we will listen to each and every one of you. By putting customer needs at the core of our development work, we will make sure that our solutions are innovations that you can truly enjoy,” shares Chen.
Realme C1 delivers high-tier performance with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, advanced 14nm process and a basic frequency up to 1.8GHz, effectively reducing power consumption and controlling heat, all at a price tag that will not hurt the pocket. With its 6.2-inch super large screen, the Realme C1 is the first notch full-screen smartphone in its price segment. It has a screen-to-body ratio of 88.8 percent and a 19:9 screen display. The 4,230mAh battery delivers the longest battery life in its price point.
Giving real value Filipinos deserve, this entry-level royal has ruled over online and offline sales since its launch. To make it accessible to even more Filipinos, Realme is expanding to 1,000 stores and 23 service centers nationwide this month. Going beyond Metro Manila, Realme is now present in key regional cities nationwide such as Baguio, Cebu, Pampanga, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos.
By its name and its tagline “Proud to Be Young,” Realme targets the youth market.
Realme was first launched in Lazada in November last year. “We became the fastest growing phone in Lazada and the highest in ratings feedback,” says Chen. “We concentrate on this new entry level,” says Chen noting they have to focus on this phone, which is making headway in the market and big buzz in the Internet for its impressive features at very affordable price.
Chen further said they are not focusing on competition, but rather emphasized on the brand for being real value product.
“Actually, we’ve already launched four models in India, but here we can start with one model first and see the market reaction. Now that the response is very good then we can be bringing the other models,” says Chen.
When it was first offered to the huge Indian market online via Amazon, it sold 100,000 units in just five minutes. India’s e-commerce is more developed with 33 percent online while it is less than 10 percent in the Philippines.
The Realme 1 won wide recognition for its power and style immediately after its launch in India in May 2018. Recently, it soared to second place in India’s online smartphone market by virtue of its monthly sales volume.
“When we launched in Indonesia via Lazada we were able to sell 15,000 units in less than 8 minutes,” he adds noting Indonesia’s big population and where the e-commerce is the more advanced in southeast Asia.
“Our major target market is 18 years old up to 40 years old because the young generation all live in the digital world. Because they are always online, they know the best value because they do a lot of research before purchasing and our product meets their needs and very competitive,” he adds.
Chen said that Realme is an empowered phone to perform well. It has trendy designs with a price point that is the most competitive in its class.
“Realme C1 is basically a big screen phone. It is larger than Iphone 7,” he adds noting that the unit comes with a dual camera and powered by Qualcomm’s auto core. The current model comes in two colors black and blue with a polycarbonate cover, which cannot be seen in other phones.
With those specs, Realme competitors are sold a lot higher. Aside from the online and its retail outlets, Chen is also planning of putting up a Realme concept store and kiosk soon. But they are giving more emphasis on digital marketing because their main market is online most of the time.
“The Philippines is one of the countries with very young population so we chose to launch here early. We are committed to provide real value with this powerful smartphone,” he adds.
The Realme C1 continues to attract a strong following online. The Realme Philippines Community on Facebook, which just reached 4,000 members and growing, serves as a sharing platform to expand the knowledge of current and potential Realme users. It provides the latest information about Realme and exclusive community activities to help fans win exciting rewards from Realme.
Fans from all over the Philippines post pictures of their adventures with the entry-level king. Members and squad leaders discuss FAQs and share tips among themselves, and even with the local Realme team. This helps foster a sense of belongingness with Realme Philippines.
Since the Philippines has a very young population, the market is so dynamic and active and that is and advantage for a brand like Realme.
“Our advantage is the community market because we do not only sell but keep the relationship with Realme owners so they become supporters and friends of the brand,” he adds.
His experience has taught him the importance of building good relationship with customers, “We keep growing with them and we will continue to provide the best service to partners and customers,” he adds.
“We have a room in the Philippine market. As long as we provide the real value to customer, I think there is a space of us because no matter what we do the real value is the essential value of the product.”
To show they are here for the long term and not one of the fly-by-night smartphone brands, Realme has nationwide coverage. They have also hired 100 employees doing sales and marketing, HR, finance and warehousing.
“We have a group of young and passionate people with average age of 23-24,” he adds.
“I believe we have a future here because even though we’ve only launched in less than a year here, we are already number 2 online and in Lazada in southeast Asia we are already number one brand during the one-day shopping festival in terms of sales units.”
Most of all, Chen said the people behind the brand has a dedicated R and D group composed of engineers working to ensure the brand maintains its value proposition amid rising competition.
“Realme is always trendy. Realme actually represents attitude with its tagline ‘Proud to be Young’,” says Chen stressing the youth are able to express themselves with this gadget. That does not mean Realme is only for the young, but also for the young at heart.
“Our goal is to continue providing a powerful machine with the best technology, trendy design at the most competitive price no matter what model we are launching,” says Chen.
He also believes that since the featured phones are dropping fast, smartphones will continue to inch up. This is an opportunity for Realme to make headway as the best value entry level smartphone brand.
“We believe in the real value of the product because customers are getting smart real value and as long as we are providing real value, good performance, quality and reasonable price, I think there is room for us,” says Chen.
“I have travelled the most part of the Philippines,” says Chen, who had been to Davao in Mindanao, Visayas, Bicol and the north.
“I love the food wherever I go,” says Chen.
This 30-year old Chinese, who finished an engineering degree in electronics in Guangdong University of Technology, one of the top universities in South China, is out to make his first business venture in the Philippines worth his while.
“A lot of young entrepreneurs in the world create and build their own companies. I think age does not matter, but passion does,” says Chen noting that he can put his experience to good use as he vowed to make Realme a famous brand in the Philippines.
Still single, Chen spends his time wisely. A homebody, he loves to read biographies to learn more. He loves to jog and basketball is his favorite sport, which he likened to running a company as it also requires teamwork, determination and strategy.
He does not find any cultural differences with his young Filipino team. “We speak the same language and there is not much of cultural differences,” adds Chen, who seeks ideas from his team and credits all their decisions and plans as team effort.
“We value our employees because they are the best asset of a company,” says Chen, who describes Filipinos as passionate, who can come up with creative ideas quickly, and are easy to talk to.
He looks up to Jack Ma as a great entrepreneur but he considers Steve Jobs as his personal idol because of the man’s commitment to provide good products.
As to Realme, he is confident of the smartphone’s promise to become a major player this 2019 and to give Filipinos the smartphone experience they need and deserve.