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BW Businessworld

Oppo Plays A Patient Game In India

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 It was with a big splash that Dongguan, China-based Oppo Mobile launched its N1 smartphone in India. This is the sixth country after China, the United States, Russia, Indonesia and Thailand that Oppo has started to sell its handsets in after starting operations in 2008. The company has signed Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor as brand ambassadors. The handset is unique in that it has a rotating camera and a rear touch panel. BW|Businessworld’s Anup Jayaram spoke to Tom Lu, Director and CEO, Oppo Mobiles India on the company’s growth prospects in India.
 
Excerpts:
 
Oppo is a latecomer in the Indian market. You are also a largely unknown brand in the country. How do you expect to make a mark here?
There are no latecomers in the smartphone market. It all depends on what we can offer to the consumer. The Indian smartphone market is growing rapidly and we will be part of the growth story. Essentially, if the consumer gets delighted then we make a mark.
 
Also, we are a very innovative company and have included things that are not there in most well-known smartphone brands. We have a rotating camera that can be used to take images from all kinds of angles. We intend to replicate our product and service experience in India through our innovative smartphones and delight the Indian consumers.
 
Considering that Apple came with smartphones years ago. You have priced your handsets at Rs 39,999. Do you expect to break into the highly price sensitive Indian market?
There are enough people willing to spend that kind of money on phones in India. It is our job to attract such people with the unique design and style features that we offer. We have introduced a rear touch panel by which you can take and browse pictures using just one hand. That is something that no other handset offers.
 
What kind of a distribution network do you have?
We have already set up offices in 12 cities which include the four metros and four mini-metros. We have also opened offices in Ludhiana. We are adding distributors and retailers almost every day now.
 
Considering that Oppo is a largely unknown brand, how do you expect to make a break in India?
It is not that we do not have a legacy. Based on the experience we have had in other markets, we have what it is to be a success in India. We are patient about success here.
 
Will you be launching more handsets soon?
We already have the N1 series of phones. We also have the Find Series of phones that we will launch later in India. The Find 7 is to be launched in the forthcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
 
Many Chinese brands like Haier and Bird have not made too much of an impact. What is the difference with Oppo?
Even in China we are different from these brands. What we offer to the consumer is an offering that is vastly better than the competition. Plus the kind of features that we have are way ahead of the competition.