Nikhil SubramaniamJun 12, 2014 13:11:25 IST
Oppo finally launched the much-awaited Find 7 in India yesterday along with its less powerful brother the Find 7a. While the price of the latter makes it more likely to sell better, the Find 7 has thrown a big challenge to pretty much every player in India. But there's another class of competition that Oppo has to fight: its Chinese rivals.
Not many have heard of Oppo, even though its previous efforts have been outstanding in build quality and features. Even though the company has roped in Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor for endorsements, it hasn’t made any impact in the market. But Oppo is also building on other fronts to run a full-fledged operation in India. The company is aggressively expanding its sales service network and targets 200 of these this year. It currently has a presence in 12 major retail markets including Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Pune and Lucknow.
Not only that, recent reports have hinted that the company would work with the likes of Reliance Jio and Airtel to bring 4G-ready affordable handsets in the country. The reason Oppo’s operations in India matter, is because it’s really the first primarily Chinese company to scale up in anyway in India. Lenovo has had a big name in the PC market, on the back of which they have been able to carve out some market share.
All of this at a time when brands like Xiaomi and Gionee are making a major push into India. The former, one of the biggest brand stories from China, will launch new devices in India this year and is likely to be heavily involved with Google in promoting their entry, thanks to Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra’s close ties to the company. So naturally Oppo has to move out of the gate really fast.
Tom Lu, CEO of Oppo India had said at the time of the launch of the budget Oppo Joy that India will be on the major targets for the company., “Industry reports predict that India is poised to emerge as the third largest smartphone market in the world by 2017 with a major proportion of the buyers being new users.” He also said that establishing a credible sales network, which is an ongoing process, “would be one major step ensuring customers of our commitment to better serve (customers), and is one stepping stone to take forward our plan of achieving global growth targets.”
For network expansion, Oppo is targetting a mix of multi-brand retail and channel partners, small format stores and self-branded stores. Besides the Oppo N1 (review), the brand’s current India portfolio includes the Oppo R1, Oppo Find 5, Oppo Neo and Oppo Joy (see our review). With the much-anticipated Find 7 and Find 7a also here now, Oppo is really stepping on the gas.
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