Guess which country is OnePlus' choice for the launch of its OnePlus TV, a television that could revolutionise smart televisions as we know them?
It started out as a relatively unknown brand that released one phone in a year. And has now grown into a behemoth that is one of the respected names in smartphones and even as this is being written, is all set to make its mark on the smart television business. We are of course talking of the brand that believes in Never Settling, OnePlus. Yes, the brand’s journey from nonentity to celebrity has been a fascinating one, but what is truly interesting is its incredibly close association with India. Right from the very outset, OnePlus and India have shared a very close relationship. The result? India is today one of OnePlus’ most important markets and OnePlus is the leading smartphone brand in the premium segment of the Indian market.
Right from the very beginning, OnePlus’ relationship with India was a special one. The country was one of the first outside China to get the very first OnePlus device, the iconic OnePlus One. And ever since then, India has been one of the first markets in which OnePlus products have been launched. Indeed some have been unveiled in India within hours of their international launch – a far cry from other brands that do pay lip service to their relationship with India, but tend to release products much later in the country or in some cases, not at all. India is also the only market in which OnePlus products are available in conventional retail stores. You can buy a OnePlus product from over 1500 stores in India – something you cannot do anywhere else in the world, as OnePlus has no official offline channel in any other country.
And it is not just about products. OnePlus has also integrated itself deeply with Indian consumers using messaging that is uniquely India, whether it is signing on the legendary Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador or highlighting the power of community in its advertising, which is so often centred around a core Indian value – the importance of family. The company is set to add a whole new dimension to its relationship with its Indian consumers with the OnePlus Music Festival in Mumbai on November 16, which will be headlined by none other than global pop star Katy Perry. With this OnePlus will have touched another chord that is very close to Indian hearts – music.
Indian consumers have responded to OnePlus’ efforts, making the brand one of the leading players in the premium smartphone segment, alongside the likes of established players like Apple and Samsung. Indeed, OnePlus has even outsold them in the above Rs 30,000 smartphone segment. As per the Counterpoint report for Q2 2019, OnePlus widened its lead over Apple and Samsung in the premium segment in India, growing at an impressive annual rate of 33 per cent. This at a time when smartphone sales themselves were showing signs of slowing down. If that does not tell you the stature of OnePlus in India, perhaps nothing can.
Some companies would have been content with commercial success at that scale. However, for OnePlus, India is not just a market, but an active partner in the brand’s development. Which is why the company recently launched a research and development (R&D) centre in Hyderabad. It plans to invest INR 1000 crore in the facility over the next three years, and expects it to not only play a critical role in the development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning in OnePlus products but also drive innovations targeted at Indian consumers. The R&D centre has three labs dedicated to camera, communications and networking, and automation, and will focus on camera development, 5G testing, and software with focus on AI and performance testing. The brand is also looking to expand manufacturing in India, and is even considering exports, and is planning to make the R&D centre its largest globally.
Yes, the relationship between India and OnePlus is a special one. And will continue to remain that way. Guess which country is OnePlus’ choice for the launch of its OnePlus TV, a television that could revolutionise smart televisions as we know them?
The brand itself may believe in never settling. But its relationship with India is set in stone.