realme boosts R&D budget to improve smartphone quality, grow shipments in key markets




realme, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brand, has announced plans to increase its annual research and development budget by 58 percent to anchor stability of the business as part of its long-term growth strategy.

The increased investment will boost technology innovation and quality of smartphones shipped into Kenya and other markets beginning next year- as the brand positions itself to become the first choice for young people.

“This means you can expect even more exceptional Number Series phones moving forward, as our Number Series is our “essential” product line, packing essential tech into a stylish package with an accessible price tag,” said Sky Li, the realme CEO.

Since it begun operations four years ago, realme has recorded a stellar performance, headlined by 100 million smartphone sales across 61 markets in three years- propelling it to the world’s top five brands in 30 markets.

Unique technology, leap-forward performance and trend-setting designs pushed the brand’s popularity among the GenZ’s in emerging and developed markets higher. Coupled with a robust e-commerce distribution strategy saw the firm record a historical year-on-year growth of 548 percent in 2021.

GT Master Edition, realme’s first high-end product launched in 2022 is already enjoying record sales in Kenyan and other markets across the world, while in other countries we have the GT Neo series.

While significant investments will be placed on research and development, realme will not expand to new markets in the next 18 months as adoption of unified global product line will reduce product launches by 35 percent in 2023.

Instead, it will focus on consolidating China and Indian markets with ‘tens of millions of shipments’ and creating 15 markets including Kenya with ‘millions of shipments,’ over next three years.

“We call this new market focus our “Market Cultivation” strategy, which will place particular focus on our two 10-million shipment markets while working towards building a core of fifteen 1-million shipment markets,” said Li.

realme defied global supply chain disruptions to make it in the list of top 5 handset makers with record shipments to Africa. While annual Global smartphone shipments fell by 11 percent to 311.2 million units in the first quarter of 2022, realme was recording booming sales in Kenya and other markets on the continent.

realme recorded a strong start of the year, marked with a 550 percent growth in global sale of its premium handset range and stellar performance of its Affordable super smartphone in Kenya and other markets.

Currently, realme has seven markets with shipments exceeding a million units annually.

realme is a global emerging consumer technology company disrupting the smartphone and AIoT market by making cutting-edge technologies more accessible. It provides a range of smartphones and lifestyle technology devices with premium specs, quality, and trend-setting designs to young consumers at affordable prices.

Established by Sky Li in 2018 and driven by its “Dare to Leap” spirit, realme is the world’s 6th largest smartphone company and has become one of the top 5 smartphone players in 30 markets globally in just two years. As of Q2, 2021, realme has entered 61 markets worldwide, including China and Southeast Asia, South Asia, Europe, Russia, Australia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa, and has a global user base of over 100 million.

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