Smartphone maker realme plans to hire about 7,500 new employees by December 2020 across functions, a senior company official said.

Talking to The Hindu, Madhav Sheth, vice-president, realme and CEO at realme India added that the manpower cost for the company is ‘very little’ and will not be reducing headcount on account of the pandemic.

“In fact, headcount will increase because there are [numerous] Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) products that we will be launching. In sales and promotion, we will be hiring about 5,000 new people, in line with our plans,” he said.

The India unit of China’s realme will raise headcount to 10,000 at the factory level, adding 2,500 staff this year. “In terms of business and sales, our target is a 100% growth and 30 million [unit] sales for the smartphone category. We have achieved over 119% growth year-on-year in Q1. Even though the lockdown has an impact on the sales in Q2, we are still pushing our limits to maintain our growth,” Mr. Sheth said.

The firm aims to clock annual sales of about 8-10 million this year from AIoT products, including fitness bands, TVs and ear buds.

“There is demand in the market right now. Whatever sales loss the industry has suffered in the last 60-90 days, is very difficult to recover. So, there will be a 15-20% drop in the yearly numbers versus the earlier projected 150 million units for this year,” he said. He added that this year, the company foresees more demand for budget to mid-range smartphones. About the company’s foray into the smart TV segment at a time when demand for bigger electronics is anticipated to decline, Mr. Sheth said, “I have a different perspective… When content is going digital and the only source of entertainment remains digital platforms, then smart TVs are something which everybody would want. “Also, TVs are an extension of smartphones in any home… everyone is so used to using their mobile phone for content, entertainment or fintech… Once they come home… they can watch entertainment or do regular tasks on the TV along with family, if they can get a similar experience of the mobile phone on a TV.” Realme launched smart TVs in two sizes — 32 inch and 43 inch — and plans to soon introduce a 55-inch version.

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