According to our information, the French branch of Realme is paralyzed and its general manager France is preparing to leave. Now everything goes through China. The story of a sudden and surprising stop for a brand that seemed launched into insolent growth.
1365%. At the end of 2021, this is the insolent growth rate that Realme shows in Europe. In May 2022, the brand even entered the Top 5 of the largest smartphone sellers in France. We then thought that the company was launching itself on a crazy ride to the heights, that it was ready to come and fight with Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and even why not Samsung and Apple. This scenario, which a few months ago might have seemed realistic, now takes on the air of science fiction. Everything indicates that Realme is going through a bad time in France. Here are the items we collect.
Silence in the networks
The first alert comes from social media posts. Or rather its absence. The last publications of the French branch of the brand date from December 2022. The last in Twitter thus it dates from December 21, 2022, and on Instagram we find activity a day later, on December 22, 2022. Similarly, on the Realme France site, in the tab dedicated to press releases, the latest date of the February 16, 2022. Something to alert us, but also to confirm that the French antenna has simply stopped communicating.
How to explain this sudden stop? According to our information, this could simply be explained by the dissolution of the French branch of the brand. Various sources confirm the following information: the general manager of the brand in France, Frédéric Chevrier, is preparing to leave Realme. Surprising, because in May 2022, when we met him for an article dedicated to the commonalities between Realme and Xiaomi, the DG seemed relatively calm. He was almost ironic about the crazy growth of the group, stating ” we are impatiently waiting for growth to slow down, that will mean we have reached the same level[NDLR : sous-entendu le même niveau que Xiaomi dont la croissance ralentissait à ce moment-là]».
You should also know that, like almost all of its competitors, Realme used an external agency to manage daily relations with journalists and therefore frandroid. As is often the case in this industry, the brand decided to part with her around September 2022. Then another agency took over the baby, but recently it seems like she only works sporadically for the brand, with no real continuity.
This may seem anecdotal, but all our usual contacts in France with the brand suddenly stopped talking. This is also quite worrying. Now only one name returns: a press officer responsible for managing all of Europe on her own. According to our information, this new contact would be based in China. She also confirmed the following: “Currently, our French press officer has left the team and I am temporarily in charge of the French market. You can send me your questions and I will give you our comments. »
Realme is doing well in Europe
It’s no secret that 2022 has been too difficult a year for the entire industry. Global sales fell 11%. This could explain Realme’s activation of an alternative strategy. Other brands also slowed down last year. We think of Xiaomi, which has not released its Ultra model in France, or Huawei, which has greatly reduced the air in Europe by repatriating part of its activities to Düsseldorf.
But if we take a closer look, Realme had a pretty good year in Europe. According to Counterpoint Research, Realme is registering good growth in the Old Continent, going from 1.2 million smartphones sold in the 3rd quarter of 2021 to 2.2 million in the same period of 2022. One element explains this in part: the The brand continues to sell its devices in Russia, like Xiaomi, and therefore takes advantage of the absence of Apple or Samsung that left the country after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
By the way, you will notice that during the same period, Oppo, which belongs to the same group, recorded a significant decrease. Does this mean that Oplus, the parent company, has decided to sacrifice the Realme soldier to help Oppo? We can only assume that for now.
All these elements put from end to end allow us in any case to interpret that the brand has put an end to its French subsidiary. It will not be the first nor the last and that will not prevent it from continuing to sell phones in France.
many pending questions
However, several questions remain. We contacted the brand to try to see more clearly, especially on crucial issues such as its after-sales service in France.Firstthe support always works when we call it and we had a french speaking person on the phone.
Another question: is the closure of the French branch temporary or permanent? And does this closure herald a future total withdrawal of the brand from the French market? Difficult to determine, some signs lead us to think so, such as the fact that it is impossible to buy the recent Realme 10 on the brand’s website. On the contrary, other elements give us confidence. Example: the brand presented its Realme GT 3 at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, paving the way for a European launch. One thing is certain, for Realme in France, abundance is over.
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