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618 spurs consumer electronics hopes

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-06-01 07:33
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The booth of Realme during an expo in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. Photo provided to CHINA DAILY

Amid the challenges of COVID-19 and lackluster consumer demand, Chinese consumer electronics companies are seeking to boost sales during the June 18 online shopping festival.

On offer are competitively priced quality products as June 18, which is branded as "618" in industry parlance, is considered vital for demand momentum in the second half of the year, said Xu Qi, vice-president of Realme, a major Chinese smartphone brand favored by young people.

This year, competition among smartphone companies has turned more intense.

For their part, consumers have also turned more price-sensitive and expect discounts amid downward economic pressure, Xu said.

In April, about 18 million mobile phones were shipped to the Chinese market, down 34 percent year-on-year. From January to April, 87.4 million mobile phones were shipped, down 30 percent year-on-year, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed.

In response to the slump, smartphone brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are reported to be lowering their annual sales targets. According to chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, the global COVID-19 situation is likely to squeeze smartphone shipments by 200 million units this year.

Xu said Realme has lowered its global annual sales target by about 10-20 percent. In the first quarter of this year, Realme's global mobile phone shipments reached 14.5 million units, up 13 percent year-on-year.

Despite challenges, Realme ranked among the top 5 smartphone brands in 25 countries and regions. In India, it is the only smartphone brand among Top 5 to achieve 40 percent year-on-year growth in the first quarter.

Fu Liang, a telecom industry analyst, said some prospective buyers appear to be beset with pessimism about future income, affecting their expenditure expectations and purchase decisions on 5G mobile phones, thus protracting the mobile phone update cycle.

"From day one, flexibility has been one of our biggest advantages in the mobile phone industry. We have organized efficient teams that can adapt to changes in different market environments," Xu said.

June 18, he said, will mark the peak of consumption in the first half, but the recovery of the entire market will not be so fast, and there will be no signs of gradual recovery until at least the fourth quarter.

In the run-up to 618, Realme unveiled a range of products, including its latest limited edition phone, the GTNeo3, in collaboration with Japanese iconic anime series Naruto, a premium tablet and other internet of things products.

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