DONGGUAN, CHINA: With its army of salespeople and Brobdingnagian network of retailers, a comparatively new smartphone maker has exploded in quality to overtake world giants Apple and Samsung in China’s market — and currently it’s its eye on the West.
Oppo began life mercantilism optical disc players within the within the southern producing hub of Dongguan slightly over a decade agone and solely stone-broke into the French telephone market in 2011.
But with AN aggressive promoting strategy and concentration on bricks-and-mortar stores in little and medium-sized cities — instead of hoping on on-line customers — sales have soared.
Last year it had a market share of sixteen.8 % creating it the China market leader and whereas an error within the initial 3 months of 2017 place it simply behind native rival Huawei, consistent with analyst IDC, it remains well earlier than Apple and Samsung.
Globally it ranks fourth behind Samsung, Apple and Huawei.
While its rivals concentrate on the premium finish of the smartphone market in major cities and on-line, Oppo makes comparatively low cost devices — its latest model is a smaller amount than [*fr1] the value of AN iPhone seven.
Oppo additionally sells them in actual outlets. It has 200,000 retailers across China — but ten % of its purchases are created on-line — whereas retailers ar offered generous commissions in exchange for promoting the complete.
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“In small cities, consumers unfamiliar with smartphones need to see and touch the devices and to have salespeople there to help them,” said Yi Jun, Oppo’s international sales director.
At the company’s factory in Guangdong province, Oppo handsets are submitted to a series of durability tests including one-metre drops and temperature changes ranging from -40 degrees Celsius to 85 degrees Celsius.
“Technology is essential for meeting consumers’ expectations,” Yi said, pointing to Oppo’s fast-charging ability, high-definition camera lens and sleek design.
Now Oppo’s rivals are starting to follow suit.
Chinese brand Xiaomi, which lost significant market share in 2016, has been hoping on the online for sales of its top-of-the-range smartphones.
But in Gregorian calendar month it declared plans to travel back to old style mercantilism techniques with plans to open one,000 stores by 2020 within the hope of reversing its fortunes.
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As competitors play catch up, analysts warn Oppo should maintain its momentum to remain on or close to the highest.
It must continue increasing its sales network and providing competitive product, aforesaid Mo Jia, AN analyst at technology analysis firm Canalys.
Oppo has additionally been boosting its sales abroad, together with rising markets in Southeast Asia wherever its share over doubled to thirteen.2 % last year — far and away the largest increase among its rivals, IDC knowledge shows.
In India, it had been the fourth-biggest player within the fourth quarter, with 8.6 % market share, behind Samsung, Xiaomi and Lenovo.
“Its success in these countries comes from frantic marketing,” said IDC analyst Tay Xiaohan, noting the use of local celebrities as “brand ambassadors” as it targets millennials.
It is also starting to back high-profile sports teams to increase brand awareness. Earlier this year it forked out more than $160 million to become an official sponsor of the Indian cricket side.
And Oppo is adapting its products to satisfy the “selfie” trend.
“We noticed the craze in Southeast Asia for group selfies and tailored our devices accordingly,” Yi said, referring to special camera features that enable users to take better self-portraits.
Next stop is the West.
“We are very interested in entering the US and European markets, we are working on it… but without a precise timeline,” Yi said.
It will be challenging.
While Huawei has managed to make a name for itself in US and European smartphone markets, it was already very present in those places as a telecom equipment manufacturer, said Annette Zimmermann, an analyst with technology research company Gartner.
And Oppo’s direct sales strategy might not be as successful in markets dominated by mobile network operators that provide handsets with their contracts.