Pioneering some of the unique smartphone imaging technologies such as ‘rotating camera’ , ‘high-end selfie cameras’ and other features, the Chinese handset maker Oppo is constantly innovating smartphone functionalities claiming to deliver a near flawless experience to its users. Founded in 2004 in Guangdong province, the company entered the handset business in 2008 and became the world’s fourth largest handset maker in June 2016. After the widespread acclaim of the ‘Find’ and ‘R’ series of smartphones, Oppo has come up with the ‘Selfie Expert’ series was recently introduced into the Nepali market. Michael Li, Brand Manager of Oppo was present during the launch where he talked with Sanjeev Sharma of New Business Age about the market, features of the newly launched smartphones and the company’s plans in Nepal. Excerpts:
After eight years in the handset market, Oppo has become the 4th largest smartphone manufacturer. What’s behind the success of your brand?
We have always believed that our products and strategies are the most important. From the beginning we have invested in 18 core products. We have not only used the latest technologies but also have met the requirements of consumers. The quality of our products is behind our success. Alongside these factors, we have also focused in marketing strategies. Oppo is the official partner of FC Barcelona and we have just entered in a four-year global partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC).
How do you view the smartphone market in Nepal?
Nepal is a high potential market for gadget brands. Despite being relatively small it is growing very fast. Nowadays, there is huge demand for mobile phones especially smartphones here. People who used featured phones have also switched to smartphones in recent years. These are what bring us to Nepal today.
How do you think Oppo will perform in the Nepali market? What are your expectations?
We are quite hopeful that Oppo will be a top smartphone brand in the Nepali market. We have already made a lot of preparations. We are planning to establish 500 outlets and eight exclusive stores within the next one year throughout the country. Our first customer service centre is already operational at the City Center mall. Similarly, we have very aggressive marketing strategies for Nepal and already have developed positive relationships with friends from the media. It is just a matter of time for us to become renowned in Nepal.
Who are your target customers here?
We are mainly targeting young and energetic people who want to get the most out of smartphones. We aim to cater to their photographic needs with our Selfie Expert series of handsets. We have introduced three different models of Selfie Expert in the Nepali market namely, F1s, A37 and U7.
There is a 16 megapixels front camera and 13 megapixels rear camera in the newly launched Oppo F1s. Why is that the parameter seems to have been reversed?
The quality of the camera cannot solely be judged by the chunk of pixels. Quality of lens and sensors play a key role in determining the quality of pictures taken. We are just focusing on meeting the needs of our customers. Nowadays, handset users are taking ‘selfies’ all over the world. That is why we have focused a lot on the front camera of our smartphones so that users can enjoy perfect ‘selfies’.
We have been constantly investing regarding the technological advancement of the front cameras and the overall imaging technology of our smartphones to transform the ‘selfie’ experience of smartphone users.
Can you share some of the details of the Selfie Expert series?
Oppo F1 was the first in the series which gained a lot of popularity globally. And then we introduced the F1s with a 16MP front camera. We are quite sure that the exciting new product will be received warmly by our customers. We also have the F1 Plus which is the higher version of these two iterations having a 16MP camera upfront and a 13MP rear camera. The phone uses ‘VOOC Charge’ which is a fast charging technology owned by Oppo. It enables the users to charge their Oppo handsets up to 75 percent in just half an hour. In just five percent charge, they can have two hours of talk-time.
What are the unique selling propositions (USPs) of Oppo products?
We use some of the latest technologies in our smartphones. F1s, for instance, comes with advanced fingerprint sensor with activation within 0.22 second. It is the fastest activation speed in the world. The phone is attractively designed with a full metal body and has a 5.5 inch display, 3 GB RAM and 32 GB ROM. If we can meet consumers’ need with our quality products then price is not an issue.
How do you plan to promote your brand in Nepal?
We have entered Nepal with a very aggressive plan. We have come up with aggressive sales and marketing strategies. So, we believe Oppo will be the top brand here. Apart from advertisements in the media, we will also be employing social media as a platform to promote our products.
Chinese smartphone brands have taken a major chunk of the handset market share globally in recent years. How is Oppo different from the other brands of China?
Oppo has its own production unit. So we have total control over the quality of all our products. Each product goes through strict testing and quality assurance procedures before they reach the hands of our customers. We are better positioned globally which gives us an edge over other brands. Similarly, we are focused mainly on the camera system of smartphones. We proudly maintain the position of Oppo products as true camera phones. The continuous focus on cameras makes us different from other brands.
How is Oppo performing in China and other markets?
We are the world’s fourth largest smartphone maker. In June, we topped in China with 22 percent of the market share. In Thailand and Philippines Oppo is in second spot while in India we are at number four.