“The difficulty of semiconductor manufacturers to meet demand is a challenge for the entire industry”, Maggie Xue, President of OPPO
OPPO is sinking its teeth to the European market. This Chinese company is present in more and more Western European countries, and, despite the one that is falling due to the uncertainty generated by the pandemic, during 2021 will continue to expand to reach even more countries. There is no doubt that it is quite a declaration of intentions.
The European market is too sweet a cake to pass up, and it seems that this company is doing really well in it if we stick to the figures it just released. According to OPPO, its growth in Spain, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands if it is accelerating, reflecting that, if so, is eating ground little by little to your competitors.
The European market is too sweet a cake to pass up, and the figures that OPPO announces reflect that it is doing well in it
The most shocking figure that he has announced is that during 2020 has grown more than 200% in Western Europe, a surprising result in the context of economic uncertainty in which we are mired.
To get to know this company a little better and discover what are you doing In order to achieve these results, we have spoken with Maggie Xue, President of OPPO for Western Europe, and Álvaro Galán, Product Director of OPPO Spain. And what they have told us shows that they are ambitious.
From Huawei’s veto to the semiconductor crisis
Are you worried that the same thing that happened to Huawei with the US government could happen to you in the future? Do you have a plan B prepared in case you are affected by a veto of that magnitude?
Maggie: I think the main reason the United States government has vetoed Huawei It has nothing to do with its ability to produce smartphones; it actually has to do with the technology that Huawei develops for communications networks. OPPO, however, is a company specifically dedicated to the design and manufacture of smart devices, not just smartphones. In addition, Google is a strategic partner for us with whom we have had a stable alliance for a long time.
Nor can we ignore that for us the security and privacy of our clients’ data are our priority from the beginning of our projects in the research and development phase. We want our products to offer the best possible experience for users regardless of the region in which they are located. I think our perspective is different from Huawei’s.
Is the semiconductor crisis affecting OPPO a lot? How are you dealing with the shortage of some of the essential components of your smartphones, such as, for example, Qualcomm microprocessors?
Maggie: The difficulty of semiconductor manufacturers to meet current demand It is a challenge that does not affect only OPPO. The entire industry is involved. However, we are prepared to face this situation. Our first step is not to establish short-term relationships with our suppliers. We prefer to maintain a stable and permanent commitment, like the one we have with Qualcomm, a company that is offering us very solid support.
“The difficulty of semiconductor manufacturers to meet current demand is a challenge that does not affect only OPPO. The whole industry is involved »
Our second measure is internal, and consists of forecasting how prices will evolve in the markets in which we are present. This forecast helps us to precisely define our strategy and react to unforeseen events. It is also paramount for us to have the highest priority in our supply chain, and we achieve this by maintaining a strong commitment to our suppliers.
OPPO is positioned as a premium brand, but is not considered expensive
The message that you are transmitting clearly seeks that users identify OPPO as a premium brand. In that case, doesn’t this strategy put you at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo or Realme, among others?
Álvaro: For us, the concept of a premium brand consists of knowing how to deliver value to the customer, but it does not have to be associated with an expensive product within its segment. When a manufacturer like OPPO is positioned as premium it does not mean that it is only going to bet on expensive or high-end phones. What we want is extend our entire portfolio and offer the customer a valuable team in that price segment. This is the way to compete from the premium point of view. We are not only targeting the luxury market. We want to consolidate ourselves as a brand that offers value in all market segments.
Do you plan to enter other market segments where some of your competitors are present? What is your strategy when planning the expansion of your portfolio?
Maggie: The heart of our strategy is the smartphone because it is the device that is at the center of our IoT (internet of things) ecosystem. We want to be sure that all our smart devices provide users with a satisfactory experience, whether they are mobile phones, measuring bracelets or any other solution in our portfolio.
“OPPO is positioned as a premium brand, but this does not mean that we are only going to bet on expensive or high-end phones”
Of course, we value the possibility of entering other product categories, but to do so we have to be very clear about how we can improve the user experience and how we can add value. This is the key for us. In no case are we looking for a quick victory. This philosophy is not part of the culture of this company. We care about the service we offer our customers and how they perceive the final product.
OPPO defines itself as a global company, but user tastes are not global. They vary from region to region. Do you develop the software for your devices to adapt them in particular to the preferences of European users?
Maggie: We are present in markets as different as India or Western Europe, so it is very important for us to have a product planning adapted to each of these regions. In fact, we have a European product planning center that is responsible for accurately identifying the expectations and needs of European users. This allows us to propose the ideal solutions. This process begins in the initial design phase of each product.
Álvaro: It is very important for us to adapt the software of our products to the markets in which we are present. OPPO is a young company, but this requirement has helped us to acquire the maturity required by the global reach we already have. In fact, nuestra serie Find X3 It will be the first global launch of the company, so we have dedicated resources to production worldwide, and, at the same time, to take maximum care of the experience that we offer users through the software.
OPPO is clear that it should not focus only on photography
All the manufacturers of smartphones that compete in the high range dedicate a lot of resources to improving the photographic performance of their mobiles. To what extent is this section important in your product strategy?
Álvaro: We don’t want to focus only on photography. We have pioneered the development of certain parts of the zoom and certain form factors for the purpose of putting a new twist on cameras. The Find X3 series that we will present shortly exemplifies this premise perfectly. However, we also care a lot about video.
Rather than talking about the photography itself, we like to pay attention to the specific characteristics of the camera because we must also understand that in the age we are in, video is becoming more and more important. The generation of content in which we are immersed is very focused on video, so we do not want to focus only on photography. We have rounded up our camera proposal to reinforce both photography and video.
The pandemic is changing the rules of the game
The pandemic is having a profound impact on the market as a result of the way in which it is altering the forecasts that users had. Is OPPO prepared for a new consumer scenario in which renewing a smartphone may not be a priority for many consumers?
Maggie: The confinement that many governments have decreed As a response to the pandemic, it has caused smartphone manufacturers to have been forced to act on the added value of our products.
During 2020, the market volume has decreased by approximately 10% compared to 2019 due to this scenario, but our forecasts suggest that in 2021 it will recover and return to the level of 2019. However, despite this scenario, OPPO has grown by this period more than 200% in the Western European market thanks to our constant expansion.
“During 2020 OPPO has grown more than 200% in Western Europe thanks to its constant expansion”
I am optimistic when it comes to the future of the smartphone market. And I have reason to be if we bear in mind that Western Europe is a huge market with a total volume of more than 100 million units.
This market is very important for any company that wants to strengthen its brand image, which has led us to set an ambitious goal: to become one of the leading manufacturers in Europe.