For years now, rivalries have been a part of the corporate world across industries. Be it Pepsi vs Coke or McDonalds vs Burger King or Apple vs Samsung, every few years two brands — at times one-sided — tend to go at each other hammer and tongs through ad campaigns or other forms of communication. Closer home, these days a new rivalry seems to be brewing: Xiaomi vs Realme. Constant jabs on Twitter, handsets that offer competitive specs and aggressive pricing is the modus operandi adopted by the two companies and it’s safe to say that they have become arch-rivals over a period of time. As it happens, most smartphones from both Realme and Xiaomi fall in the same price category of sub-Rs 18,000 and therefore by default become alternate choices for anyone looking to buy a handset at that price.
What is surprising is that one is an established leader in the Indian smartphone market, while the other is a fairly new player. It’s like a battle between a heavyweight and what some may refer to as an underdog. Whenever any new company enters a market, there are always certain apprehensions about whether or not that brand will offer something new for it to sustain. More so when it comes to the Indian smartphone market where every few years brands seem to fall by the wayside.
Realme, which started as a sub-brand of Oppo, has managed to carve a place for itself and is going from strength to strength. As per latest quarter report from Counterpoint Research, Realme beat Oppo and emerged as the fourth largest smartphone player in the country in terms of shipments. While for Xiaomi, the CounterPoint report claimed that there was no change in their market share with the company maintaining its supremacy in the Indian smartphone market.
Xiaomi vs Realme: The gloves are off
While Xiaomi may not acknowledge it, but in Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth’s own words, Xiaomi is “insecure” about its success in India. Back in May Madhav Sheth told ET, “We never commented on their (Xiaomi’s) device. We commented on their desperation and insecurities, rather than a product. Being the number one brand, you are trying to fight a brand which is just emerging. I can sense that you are insecure.” Strong words, indeed.
Not only that, Sheth has been quite active when it comes to trolling Xiaomi. One time, he even trolled the company by quoting Xiaomi executives on their perspective on Qualcomm Snapdragon 710.
On the day Realme took the wraps off its quad-camera smartphone series — including Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro — Xiaomi announced a price cut for four of its latest smartphones. The Xiaomi Redmi handsets — Redmi Note 7 Pro, Redmi Note 7S, Redmi Y3 and Redmi 7 — that were all part of its 2019 lineup have received price cuts.
Xiaomi has been taking pride in bringing some of the world’s first features to India and one of the most recent was a 48-megapixel primary rear camera. Soon after that, Realme offered a 48-megapixel sensor its Realme X smartphone. Now, Realme has taken home the world’s first title by claiming Realme 5 Pro as the world’s first smartphone to feature a 48MP quad-camera set-up and Realme 5 as the world’s first phone to offer quad camera setup on the back under Rs 10,000.
The next front that both Realme and Xiaomi will lock horns is on Samsung’s 64MP ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor. Both companies have announced that they will launch handsets with the same sensor. Realme has announced the name of its 64MP camera smartphone as Realme XT that will offer a quad-camera setup and an expected launch date of September end. Xiaomi, on the other hand, has not revealed any such details but seeing the trends, we expect the Indian smartphone market leader to launch something similar and that too around the same time.
It’s too early to say whether this rivalry will last for a long time or whether Xiaomi will continue to upstage all others, including Realme. Interestingly, Xiaomi, a brand which is not known to be coy when it comes to taking potshots at rivals, has been conspicuously silent when it comes to Realme. Realme, on the other hand, seems to have adopted the Xiaomi model: offering that one feature ‘extra’ at competitive pricing and at the same time leaves no stone unturned to take digs at its rival. What Xiaomi does to others, Realme seems to be doing it to Xiaomi. Whether it succeeds in giving Xiaomi a long-term reason to worry or not remains to be seen. At the moment, Realme may just be giving Xiaomi a lot to think about for sure.―Times of India