OnePlus 6 becomes Chinese smartphone maker’s fastest-ever seller as people turn on to design
Chinese brand is seeking a cult following among Silicon Valley techies for producing one of the best phones available
The latest 6-series flagship model from five-year-old smartphone maker OnePlus has become its most popular phone ever, selling more than 1 million units globally in the three weeks since it hit shelves last month.
OnePlus 6 has become the company’s fastest-selling smartphone after crossing the 1 million benchmark in 22 days, comfortably beating earlier OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T models, which both achieved sales of a million units about three months after launch, the Shenzhen-based company said in a press release on Friday.
OnePlus attributed the success to its ‘one flagship a year’ strategy, which involves concentrating on one big launch as opposed to several smaller ones, allowing the company to “create a superior product with a premium user-experience” each year, said the release.
The Chinese brand, whose overseas sales are more than double those in its domestic market, is seeking to gain recognition among Silicon Valley “techies” for producing “one of the best phones available in the market,” said OnePlus founder Pete Lau in an interview with the South China Morning Post last month.
Established in 2013, OnePlus has developed ambitious global marketing campaigns. At a two-day pop-up event hosted by the company on May 21 and 22, just one week after the new phone’s global launch in London, Beijing and Mumbai, more than 15,000 would-be buyers lined up outside shops in 26 cities and 11 countries, in scenes reminiscent of Apple iPhone launches.
In the US, OnePlus is the No 1 smartphone vendor in the open market US$400-US$600 range – sold without bundled telecommunication carrier contracts – with a 44 per cent market share. It also leads in the above US$400 category in the online sales market in India, with a 50.5 per cent share, according to IDC research figures.
The OnePlus 6 sports the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, with a choice of 6GB or 8GB of RAM, as well as a 3,300mAh battery with fast-charging technology. The handset starts at 3,199 yuan (US$500) in China while an Avengers edition of the phone costs from 4,199 yuan. The base model starts at a slightly higher price of US$529 in the US.
The OnePlus 6 comes in three designs – two versions in black and the other in white – because research shows “most of the sales are of black and white”, Lau said in his May interview with the Post. There is no wireless charging because it is slow and users cannot do much once the phone is placed on a charging pad. The OnePlus 6 also does not feature industry-leading waterproofing because “you’re not going diving with it” although it works fine in the rain and can even play music in the shower, Lau said.
Tech review site Engadget gave the OnePlus 6 a rating of 91 out of 100, saying “the reasonably priced powerhouse now comes in an elegant package”. CNET and The Verge rated it 8.5 and 8 out of 10 points, respectively, pointing out the lack of full waterproofing and the fact that it is not compatible with CDMA carriers like Verizon and Sprint in the US.
Long-term partnerships with the likes of Amazon and Qualcomm, along with partnerships with carrier networks like Elisa and O2 in Europe, have helped to further build the company’s presence overseas, OnePlus said in Friday’s release.