Premium smartphone maker OnePlus is evaluating bringing new manufacturing partners onboard as it expands its product portfolio in the country especially in Internet of Things (IoT) and smart TV segments.
The company currently gets its smartphones and smart TVs assembled at Oppo’s Greater Noida factory.
“The synergy with the Oppo supply chain continues as before. HQ teams are evaluating onboard partners for manufacturing as we expand our new product portfolio,” Navnit Nakra, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, OnePlus India told ET in an interaction.
OnePlus expanded its smartphone line-up with three new devices under the new OnePlus 9 series that were developed in partnership with Swedsih camera brand Hasselblad. The three-year global partnership is seeing $150 million investment from OnePlus with its India R&D team playing a central role in the product development.
The company has tweaked its strategy to launch three devices, including OnePlus 9R which will target the growing gaming consumer segment in India. “It is a slightly more affordable flagship model for gaming enthusiasts in the country,” Nakra said, adding that the company will continue to have the “flagship” and “Nord” smartphone lineups for India.
The company is also bullish on expanding its Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio having forayed into wireless earphones, smart band and smart watch. The company is focusing on personal IoT, smart home IoT, office IoT and smart car IoT segments globally.
“For the car segment, we may be maybe a few several quarters away for the India market. But on the other three segments, there is certain product feedback, which has been given from the India team back to HQ, R&D and design team saying that we want to try this year for the community and see what the responses are,” Nakra.
The company is now preparing to conduct small pilots of new IoT products later this year in the new categories. “We will see how customers react and then accordingly scale that up in 2022 and further expand.”
OnePlus will also expand its smart TV range focusing on the mid-premium segment of the market. “2019 was the testing year for TV. The strategy paid off well in 2020 for TV as the year saw our full portfolio. We continue to double down,” Nakra said.
The company will continue to expand its retail footprint in India having invested Rs 100 crore in the third and fourth quarter of 2020 calendar year for the expansion.
“In 2020, we had to temporarily pause offline expansion due to the pandemic. This year, getting into the retail store will be the focus area. We invested Rs 100 crore in retail expansion knowing that hopefully by the third quarter of 2021, we will have a fair amount of consumer footfall coming back,” Nakra said, adding that more investment will go towards flagship experience store expansion and service centers.
The company currently has 8,000 points of sales in the country, up from 6,000 last year. It plans to increase its service center reach from 65 cities to 150 cities this year.
Earlier this year, OnePlus and Oppo said that they integrated parts of its R&D with OPLUS to "maximise resources". OPLUS is the investor group that oversees Oppo, OnePlus, and Realme which are all part of the tech conglomerate BBK Electronics.
Asked if there are synergies in India between Oppo and OnePlus R&D teams, Nakra said, “The OnePlus R&D team continues to play a crucial role in product development efforts. The team is building our software capability for OnePlus devices. The team is working towards OnPlus go to market strategy and development. There are some synergetic developments at R&D for better learning and efficiencies.”