China’s Oppo doubles down on 5G with partner Ericsson as US sanctions-hit Huawei leaves void in smartphone industry
- In partnership with Sweden’s Ericsson, smartphone maker Oppo has established a 5G research and development lab in Shenzhen
- The facility will focus on exploring potential killer apps that could fully realise the promise of 5G mobile technology
Oppo is currently building its new headquarters in the city, where the highest of four planned towers will contain 42 storeys to reach a height of 200 metres, according to the website of its designer Zaha Hadid Architects. This complex is set for completion in 2025.
The operations of Oppo and affiliate smartphone brand OnePlus were merged in June, which is said to result in a 20 per cent cut in employees at the company’s software and devices teams, according to a report by Bloomberg last week.
Oppo did not immediately reply to a request for comment about that report.
Beyond China, Oppo’s other top-performing markets the past year include Europe, where its smartphone shipments grew 177 per cent from 2019, and India with an increase of 115 per cent.
The company has pushed aggressively into Europe to meet demand for 5G smartphones amid the roll-out of the next-generation mobile technology in countries across the continent, according to Oppo’s Shu. It is working with major 5G mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Orange, Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom, to sell its latest smartphones.
Last year, Oppo also launched its first overseas 5G lab in India as the country prepares its own 5G mobile infrastructure roll-out.
Despite those initiatives, analysts see 5G as not a defining factor for most consumers to buy their next smartphone.
“User experience of 5G connectivity has so far been underwhelming among early adopters,” Counterpoint’s Yang said. “The realities of the 5G market is that among Android handset vendors, it is difficult to make their premium devices stand out among peers.”