The Indian consumer seems to be mesmerised by selfies and Chinese device maker Oppo is making the most out of it. At regular intervals, this fast-growing brand has been introducing selfie-focused phones with advanced front camera technology since the trend caught on. According to The Nielsen Company’s report in July, Oppo is a leading brand in the selfie segment with a 39% top-of-mind-awareness of great selfies. “Our focus has always been on bringing the best photography and selfie experience to the Indian consumers. India is one of the most important markets in our global expansion plan,” Will Yang, brand director, Oppo India, tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
What are the business prospects that you see in the Indian market?
India’s economic growth is like a rising star. This is a very youth-centric country. As a young fashion brand, Oppo wants to focus on the 18-30 years age group and this is quite a perfect match for us here in India. And this is a global positioning that we have – in South East Asia, in North Africa and we have also entered developed countries. India is the most important market in the Oppo’s overseas business strategy and this will be our long-term plan. Our focus has always been on bringing the best photography and selfie experience. What we focus on is definitely the product and the three most important elements for us are the selfie camera, battery and design.
Can you give us an update on India operations. How many units have you sold till date?
We have sold 200 million smartphones across the world. Oppo happens to be one of the fastest growing smartphone brands in India. We have been leading the selfie industry in the Indian market with our Selfie Expert F series.
What is the percentage of business that comes from the online segment versus offline in India?
We are mostly focused on the offline space. Our online focus is to deliver current information on our products. But we still want them to experience and compare our smartphones at the stores. A smartphone is not a simple device—people want to touch and feel a smartphone before they buy it.
Chinese mobile phone brands seem to have taken the Indian market by storm. What is the differentiator that Oppo brings to the table?
There are three elements to our success. First is the product. From our first selfie expert Oppo F1 to the newly launched Oppo F5, we keep on upgrading and optimising the front cameras. We have worked on the hardware as well as the software. So for the F3, we are the first to release a group selfie with two cameras. The second part is about our target audience which is the young segment that we are targeting. We listen, understand and we are quite well-connected with the young people. And the third part is about Indian localisation – we call it glocal; that is why we seriously take Indian considerations to merge with our global R&D technology and design resources.
The government is trying to promote local manufacturing in India. Do you have any plans to set up a local assembly unit?
Already, we have a factory in Noida which can produce 1 crore handsets annually. The second facility is also coming up in Noida and it will be operational by early next year. We have 4,000 employees in our first factory and the second factory will have 1,000 employees. And we will also be having 550 service centres by the end of this year.
What kind of innovations can we expect from Oppo in the coming months?
As far as innovations are concerned, we have been focused on our target audience and we listen to what they are looking for. Selfie is a big trend that is still happening not only in India but on global scale. So we will always be close to our customers and keep on innovating and delivering market-firsts.