Tom Lu, CEO, OPPO Mobiles talks on its India strategy

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As more and more consumers are adopting smartphones in order to do more will lesser effort, the Indian market is really hot today and as a result, there are a number of global brands foraying into the country. OPPO, a global smartphone brand has recently entered into the Indian market.

Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com speaks with Tom Lu, CEO, OPPO Mobiles India about the company’s strategy to target the Indian consumers and the company’s future plans.

OPPO CEO - Tom Lu

What are some of the key focus areas for OPPO in India?

As far as the India market is concerned, what we have noticed is the increasing popularity of Phablet among Indian users, contributing to the growth of smartphones in India. In Q1 2014, nearly 875,000 units of Phablet devices – with a screen size between 5.5 inches and 7 inches – were shipped.

As the Indian smartphone market is growing at a significant pace and consumer buying patterns and preferences are continuously evolving, mobile/ smartphone manufacturers like us have understood the importance of creating a diverse portfolio of devices at varied price points and are striving to launch cost competitive devices that cater to every segment in the target audience. There is still a lot of room to grow in this market. And with consumers getting more and more quality and feature conscious, we are sure OPPO devices will be well-liked by the Indian audience. In our global expansion, India is a key strategic market for us.

 

How has been the response of your smartphone launch so far?

Till now the market feedback that we have received is good, in terms of our product quality as well as the after sales service. Till date, we have launched 9 smartphones including N1 Mini in the India market and most of them have been appreciated for their aesthetic design and innovative technology. Our latest flagship smartphone, the OPPO Find 7 has been receiving great reviews from the experts as well the consumers. It is being touted as one of the best smartphones in the industry, giving stiff competition to phones from Samsung and HTC in the same price segment. As far the market growth is concerned, it meets our expectation. However, at this stage, we cannot share the concrete figures.

 

How do you look at operator arrangements in terms of pushing your smartphones through their user base? Are you engaged with any discussions on operators in India?

It is definitely a very strategic move to partner with operators to reach out to a wider base of users. Moreover the users who are a little vary of trying newer brands, get a chance to experience devices from such brands. We are in talks with some operators to see if this can be taken forward.

 

Wearable is another big emerging segment today. What are your plans on this segment? What would be your go to market strategy for wearables?

As we have already launched our first wearable in china, looking forward to see the response. We will be launching some wearables in future for Indian market as well.

 

What are some of the big challenges that you face as a new entrant in India? How do you want to overcome these challenges?

It’s indisputable to say, that in the consumer electronic goods segment, products themselves are the key to market success. We are confident in our products in terms of quality and user experience. At same time, we are trying to add more features with continuous innovation. In the meantime, by sticking to our company philosophy that customer comes first, we hope to create a niche in our service, not only the after-purchase but the overall service. At the same time, we are looking at more nation-wide channel partners so that we can satisfy the huge customer need at the earliest. Last but not least, the local team with OPPO spirit and our company philosophy and culture are two essential facilitators for our market success.

We are trying to bring more innovative products with premium quality to the Indian market.

OPPO has been a brand known for innovation for many years. Our OPPO Finder was the thinnest smartphone in the world at that time, OPPO Find5 was world’s first smartphone with a 1080p IPS screen and a staggering 441 PPI, OPPO Find7 is world’s first smartphone that can take 50MP pictures, and its VOOC rapid charge is the fastest and safest mobile device charging technology till now.

We understand India is a price-sensitive market. However, we also believe that customers are always in pursuit of higher quality products with true innovation.  Right now, our products cover several different price ranges and our pricing is reasonable considering all these. As the Indian smartphone market is growing at a significant pace and consumer buying patterns and preferences are continuously evolving, we hope our diversified products portfolio could offer Indian customers more choices.

 

Please share your plans on enhancing your channels and distribution in India.

Consumer orientation is key to our philosophy. Therefore, our service center expansion is a natural outcome when we put our customers in the first place. Our products have a far lower repair rate as compared to the industry average. To give our customers more confidence in purchasing our products and a stronger commitment of all-round service, we have planned to have at least 200 service partners pan India within this year and over 4000 sales points.

Right now we are retailing in over 20 major cities and regions, mainly through multi-brand stores, and we have started to cooperate with nation-wide retail chains like Sangeetha, also we are planning to build our showroom and exclusive stores in a short time. We have tied up with Amazon recently for online sales of our smartphones.

 


TelecomDrive Bureau covers the latest developments happening in the space of communications, devices and innovations in targeted geographies of India, SAARC, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.TelecomDrive Bureau is headed by Zia Askari. He can be reached at ziaaskari@telecomdrive.com