New Delhi: Realme, which spun off as an independent entity from Chinese smartphone major OPPO, Monday said it would expand its offline presence in the country and partner 20,000 retailers across 150 cities by the end of 2019.
The company, which was selling its devices online through Flipkart and Amazon, struck an exclusive partnership in November with Reliance stores to kick off offline sales. This provided Realme access to over 1,300 Reliance Digital and My Jio stores in over 130 cities.
In a statement Monday, Realme said it would start with top cities of the country, gradually moving towards 150 cities phase by phase.
“Realme will start with 10 cities across the country in January 2019, eventually adding 50 cities every quarter. With the city expansion, the smartphone brand will establish 20,000 outlets throughout the country,” the statement said.
The retail outlets will have all the models that the smartphone brand has launched, it added.
“Strengthening our commitment, we are expanding our footprints to meet the rapidly growing customer demands. With the new offline store, we are extending our sales channels reaching out to our offline customers in every region,” Realme India Chief Executive Officer Madhav Sheth said.
Offline retail is expected to continue to remain an important part of smartphone makers’ strategy, as a set of recently introduced norms bar e-commerce marketplaces from striking exclusive partnerships with brands.
The rules, which come into effect from February, would also prohibit these online marketplaces from offering discounts and cashbacks — a strategy often used to woo customers.
Many smartphone makers, including Motorola and Xiaomi, had entered the Indian market by selling their devices exclusively online and then extended sales to offline retail as well.
Brick-and-mortar stores still account for over half of the phone sales in India, which is the second-largest smartphone market globally after China.