Interviews

realme to Expand its Footprint in the UAE

Lawrence Zhang, the Regional Sales Director for GCC at realme, says the company will forge new partnerships and invest further in the UAE market

When did realme enter the UAE market?
realme made its initial presence in various marketplaces across the UAE, both online and in physical retail stores, starting in 2020. However, we consider today, with the unveiling of our latest smartphone, realme 11 5G, as the official mark of our entry into the UAE market. We are excited about this milestone as it represents our commitment to bringing innovative technologies to the dynamic and youthful consumer base of the UAE.

In the coming months and years, we are planning to make even more significant efforts to expand our footprint in the UAE. This includes forging new partnerships and investing further in this market. Our promise is to remain dedicated to providing cutting-edge technology and exceptional experiences to our customers in the UAE, especially the younger generation.

We believe that realme 11 5G is a testament to our commitment, offering not only advanced technology but also catering to the unique preferences and demands of the UAE audience. We look forward to playing a more prominent role in the tech ecosystem here and contributing to the digital lifestyle of the UAE’s tech-savvy consumers.

Why does the realme brand focus on the smartphone market in the UAE in general and Dubai in particular?
The United Arab Emirates, and in particular Dubai, hold a special place in our strategic vision. Dubai is the economic epicenter of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Its thriving business environment, economic stability, and status as a global trade hub make it an ideal launchpad for realme’s entry into the UAE market. By starting here, we aim to leverage the strategic location of Dubai to connect with consumers across the entire MENA region.

The residents of Dubai are known for their tech-savviness and enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology. They are early adopters who appreciate the value of innovation, making Dubai a favourable environment for a smartphone brand like realme. Our commitment to delivering the latest technology aligns perfectly with the preferences of the Dubai consumer base.

Dubai is also a melting pot of different nationalities and cultures. This diversity presents a unique opportunity for us to offer a wide range of smartphone models that cater to various consumer needs and preferences, as we aim to provide options that resonate with the diverse population of Dubai.

E-commerce is on the rise in Dubai, and many consumers prefer to shop online. To tap into this trend, we are actively exploring and strengthening our partnerships with local e-commerce platforms to ensure our products are readily accessible to a broader audience. This approach aligns with our commitment to making realme smartphones easily available to consumers throughout Dubai.

In summary, Dubai and the UAE offer a compelling combination of factors that make them attractive markets for realme. We view our entry into this region as the beginning of an exciting journey, and we are dedicated to establishing a strong presence, forging lasting connections with consumers, and delivering the latest innovations in the world of smartphones. The launch of the realme 11 5G marks a significant milestone in this journey, setting the stage for even greater accomplishments in the UAE and beyond.

How many realme stores are there in Dubai currently? How many stores will there be by the end of 2023 or 2024?
Currently, realme is available through select retailers in the UAE, with a presence in approximately 500 stores in Dubai. We’re committed to further strengthening our presence in the region and are actively working towards an ambitious goal of reaching 1,000 stores.

Our expansion plans are geared toward providing even greater accessibility to our innovative smartphone offerings to customers in Dubai and across the UAE. We are constantly evaluating market conditions and demand, and by 2024, we will continue to adapt our strategy to meet the needs of our growing customer base.

Approximately what percentage of growth has realme achieved annually in the UAE? What is realmeā€™s current share of the smartphone market in the UAE, and what is your target for the future?
Founded in 2018, realme has emerged as a trailblazing technology innovator, dedicated to bringing cutting-edge technologies to our youthful consumer base. Since then, realme embarked on an astonishing trajectory of rapid growth. Within two years of its inception, realme achieved the distinction of being named the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brand for four consecutive quarters.

In the third quarter of 2020, realme achieved the remarkable feat of selling over $50 million units worldwide in less than two-and-a-half years, as per the Counterpoint Report. In 2021, it continued its rise by achieving an unprecedented $100 million in sales in just 37 months, according to Strategy Analytics. During the same year, realme ascended to the 6th position in the global smartphone market.

In regard to the UAE market, although we’ve encountered some challenges along the way, we are humbled to acknowledge the significant progress we’ve made. realme has achieved a remarkable growth rate of over 30% compared to the previous year in this market. The official entry of realme into the UAE market, marked by the launch of realme 11 5G, signifies a pivotal moment in our brand’s journey, and it paves the way for even more remarkable achievements. We have ambitious aspirations for the UAE market and are aiming to secure a 10% share of the smartphone market in the near future.

How and why does Dubai appeal to attract brands?
Dubai has indeed cemented its status as a global business hub and it will continue to enhance its appeal to attract even more brands. Firstly, the city focuses on diversifying its economy further, embracing emerging industries such as technology, sustainability, and innovation. Dubai also fosters an environment that encourages startups.

Furthermore, maintaining its business-friendly tax environment and further simplifying regulations continues to be crucial in attracting international companies. Clear and efficient processes for setting up and operating businesses also significantly reduce barriers to entry for brands considering Dubai as their base.

Lastly, Dubai leverages its strategic location even more by actively promoting itself as a gateway to the growing markets of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Brands seeking to expand their reach in these regions can find Dubai’s strategic positioning highly advantageous.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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