OPPO Mobiles India CEO Tom Lu announced significant expansion plans in the domestic smartphone market.
In an e-mail interaction with GizmoLead.com’s Baburajan K, Lu said its recently launched OPPO Find 7 is one of the best smartphones in the industry giving stiff competition to phones from Samsung and HTC in the same price segment.
Excerpts of the interview:
OPPO’s achievements in India
We’ve been made very welcome in the Indian market and have received very positive feedback from customers here about both the product quality in terms of the design and innovation, and on the after sales service. All our phones are doing great in India especially the N1, N1 Mini and Find 7.
OPPO is committed to designing beautiful technology products with an open attitude. We have been focusing on making our products available to a wider range and building up the service network. These serve as very good communication tools as well. To keep up the momentum, we will definitely have a steady marketing outreach with a fair amount of budget supporting it.
We sponsored OPPO Champions League Twenty20 2014. Cricket is watched by one and all irrespective of age groups. And therefore, we wanted to leverage this opportunity to connect with Indian consumers. Through the series, we gave consumers a chance to win not only match tickets but also a chance to explore OPPO smartphones.
Likewise, a popular show like Bigg Boss Season 8 on Colors has given us a platform to come closer to the Indian masses. During the show, viewers are getting to know more about OPPO’s commitment to designing technology products with an open attitude and how OPPO’s range of smartphones help create fun moments.
OPPO’s expansion and investment plans
We see India as one of the most important markets for us as we go global. We’re committed to India for the long run, and we’re keen to ensure that we’re seen and acting as an integral part of the community there.
It is a strategic market for us primarily because first of all there is a clearly a huge potential to grow in the Indian smartphone market. Secondly, what we have also noticed is the increasing popularity of Phablets among Indian users, which is contributing to the growth of smartphones in India.
We are speeding up our sales and service network and expect a fair growth and a bigger share of the market in the time to come. On the brand aspect, we hope our brand will become a well-known name for its innovation, quality and service over the next five years.
The company also has plans to expand more service centers in the next one year. Right now we are retailing in over 20 major cities and regions, mainly through multi-brand stores, and we have started to partner with nation-wide retail chains like Flipkart and Amazon .in for online sales. We are also planning to build our showrooms and exclusive stores in a short time.
Smartphone trends in 2014
Smartphones doubling up as cameras
It’s becoming tough and competitive for all smartphones makers to provide better camera features to their customers. They’re quickly replacing traditional point-and-shoot cameras as the go-to devices for taking quick photos. OPPO has become first in the world to release a smartphone with automated rotatable 16 megapixel rotating camera with its N3. A 206° rotation, and will securely lock at any angle.
The company also boasts of fabulous cameras in its devices like N1, N1 Mini the junior version of N1, R1 and R5. N1 Mini is gaining traction in the market to amuse the photo freakers with 24 MP, HDR camera quality. Also world’s first quad HD smartphone OPPO Find 7 is capable of clicking picking of DSLR quality. Nokia Lumia 1020 with a whopping 41-megapixel camera is a competitive option for product photography, and has megapixels that compete even with the top DSLR cameras.
Size zero could be the next norm in smartphones
Stylish smartphones are becoming a new trend in the market based on consumers’ demand. Previously stylish implied unique color, shape and body of the smartphones but the focus has drastically shifted to slimness and weight of the smartphone considering the amount one spends on their smartphones. Smartphone players are playing on the design front competitively.
OPPO recently launched the world’s slimmest smartphone R5 with 4.85 mm thickness and also beats Apple’s new iPhone 6, which comes in at 6.9 mm thick. It would be interesting to see when smartphones will reach the much hyped Size Zero.
Battery life has become the single biggest reason people choose a smartphone. With users spending hours and hours on their smartphones, battery life is one area that is seeing and is likely to see more innovation. Removable batteries are becoming more and more rare, especially with high-end phones.
But the phones that take the cake are OPPO Find 7 and the newly launched OPPO N3 and OPPO R5. While Find 7 was the first smartphone in the world to have been launched with VOOC rapid charging technology, that charges 75 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes and a 5 minute charge gives two hours of talk time on the smartphone. With OPPO N3 and OPPO R5, the company has gone a notch ahead and provided a mini VOOC charging technology, which not only is smaller but it is also easier to pack thanks to its detachable cable.
Trends to watch in 2015
There has been a clear growth in the popularity of tablets worldwide and the Indian market is no different. According to the recent KPCB annual report, tablet has grown more rapidly than smartphones, a case in point is iPad, which has a 3 times growth rate than iPhone since its launch.
So it was perhaps inevitable that smartphone display sizes have been getting bigger and that we’re seeing the emergence of phablets. The adoption rates are rising which suggest that there is definitely a segment of market which is getting acquainted with big screen size phones or phablets. With 4G’s arrival, mobile internet usage will see a surge globally, especially online video content.
At the same time, according to our own and third-party research, customers who watch a lot of content online find phablets could provide a far better experience. As of now it still remains to be seen how soon phablets will substitute smartphones in the future. They may not completely replace smartphones but the trend is heading that way.