Beyond Smartphones: Realme Set to Join the Financial Services Game

  • Xiaomi and Samsung have already introduced different kinds of financial services in India
  • Collaborations between consumer electronics firms and consumer electronics brands is becoming the flavour of the season
Realme phone launch (File Photo)

China-based Realme is joining the financial services bandwagon in India. Company’s CEO Madhav Sheth has confirmed the same via a recent tweet. It is to be noted here that Realme had sold more than one crore 50 lakh smartphones in the country during its first
year of operations.

“Another big surprise of today’s launch! We are planning to disrupt the financial services industry with our innovative offerings. Any guesses as to what are we naming Realme financial services,” read Madhav Sheth’s tweet.

The “it fits if it profits” story

The number of consumers taking small sized loans in order to own a consumer electronics that they cannot pay upfront for, is on the rise. During the last round of Diwali sales, one of India’s major e-commerce players had shared that the number of consumers opting for EMI options while buying consumer electronics, was 50 per cent of total consumers that bought consumer electronics.

“Brands understand that staying at the top now requires to go beyond the conventional methods of doing business. Be it a brand from China, India, Japan or Korea, consumers now prefer ones that value their experience. This battle of value-added services is going to get stiffer in the future. Moreover, we might see more brands following Xiaomi and Samsung suite in 2020,”stated Himanshu Jain, senior analyst, International Data Corporation (IDC), India.

Different model than Mi and Samsung?

While Mi has not barred consumers from using the amount taken as loan in any way they want, Samsung has limited the same for purchasing smartphones only. Madhav Sheth’s another tweet hints towards the possibility of changes in the existing finance models.

“You pay, borrow, save, invest and protect. What do you think is missing when you do this currently,” read one of his recent tweets.

Faisal Kawoosa, on Mi entering the financial services vertical recently, noted, ““Xiaomi said that it has already disbursed about Rs 28 crore (280 million) in the pilot phase of launch of Mi credit. Taking average loan size as Rs 50,000 and average processing or file fee as Rs 600, the total amounts figures up to something that a new brand does business for a complete year.”

One more thing to be remembered here is the fact that Realme is a part of the BBK Group. This group also has Vivo, Oneplus and Oppo brands under its umbrella. It might just be a matter of time before all the other three follow Realme’s suite!