Sheldon PintoNov 16, 2016 14:00:06 IST
Ever since Xiaomi stepped onto Indian soil, customers have found a sweet spot for the Chinese brands that followed. Their price tags were spot on, the same can be said about the internal hardware and while there were a few snags about quality construction and service, for now, things seem to be ironed out.
While Xiaomi and Gionee sit alone, Oppo, OnePlus and Vivo have a lot more in common that most consumers would expect. As pointed out by Phone Radar, they all belong to one parent company called BBK Electronics. And it is interesting to note how each brand has tested the waters and settled into different smartphone segments competing with one another, or at least it is what it seems to the general public and the consumer.
Together, they are taking over the worldwide market. A recent report by market research firm Counterpoint Research hints that the Chinese have made a dent when it comes to growth. Just have a look at the chart below, and you will get the picture.
So it does paint a worrying picture for both local manufacturers in India and the international brands like Samsung as well.
Oppo was BBK's first smartphone brand. The subsidiary to BBK entered India back in 2014 and has so far been witnessing plenty of growth and has also grown into a popular brand. While it did not see success with its Find 7 flagship, Oppo soon discovered its niche in the mid-range. The Oppo F1 Plus is pretty much of star in its segment, when it launched, it packed in some really interesting bits that nobody had on offer, SuperVOOC charging, the quickest fingerprint reader around and that 16MP front-facing camera, the star of the show. In short, after multiple attempts at launching overpriced quality products, Oppo settled for the mid-range as its sweet spot.
Vivo entered the Indian market exactly a year later. But with Oppo already holding the fort for the mid-range, BBK needed Vivo to go in for the budget to mid range. Vivo entered the market with massive marketing campaigns and did a similar sort of experimentation like Oppo. Vivo brought with it the X5 Max and it was priced a bit too high for a Chinese smartphone, the same conundrum faced by Oppo, a Chinese smartphone that was priced too high. Soon enough Vivo found its sweet spot and now has settled for the budget range with the recently launched Vivo V5, edging closer to the Oppo F1 Plus but maintaining its distance knowing its place in the ecosystem.
Ever wondered why Oppo and Vivo never went ahead with more flagship smartphones in India? Hint, There's OnePlus for that. OnePlus entered the market and launched its brand with a clear objective in mind, to take down every flagship smartphone in the market. While its initial offerings were more to do with cult following, OnePlus has grown out of its rebellious "flagship killer" days and so has its flagship smartphone. OnePlus 3 has been getting raving reviews and with today's offering, the OnePlus 3T, it even beats Google's latest, the Pixel. It is Daydream capable and it's priced a lot lower, forcing manufacturers like Samsung to deliver more with its flagships with every new release.
The brand was founded in 2013 and coming from Oppo the dream team knew what they wanted. It was obvious that BBK's other brands had to follow suit for the Indian market and find other segments (which they eventually did).
But when the climb to the top is fast, there are problems. As with most Chinese smartphones, there are always set accusations about data sharing to Chinese servers. Then there are patent lawsuits, and recent one by Dolby picks on both Oppo and Vivo, (see the connection)?
The reception by Indian fans with these brands is great as well. OnePlus for example has more Facebook fans on its India page than it does on its worldwide page. Oppo here is BBK's biggest brand with strong presence in audio and video electronics, Vivo stands second in line with OnePlus having the least sales, which comes with its flagship appeal. So the next time you sit down to choose between the three, remember that all three are different and are priced that way for a particular reason.
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