OnePlus CEO Pete Lau announced as early as 2021 that OnePlus would be integrated into OPPO. In the first phase, this collaboration was seen in the quality of firmware provided on OnePlus phones, which began to look more and more like OPPO products. Referred to as a strategic partnership, the more in-depth version of this collaboration also covers issues around logistics and the hardware side, with OnePlus phones to be sold including in OPPO store locations in China.
Important to know, OPPO and OnePlus are actually brands owned and managed by a single company in China, BBK Electornics. It’s also no secret that OnePlus CEO Pete Lau previously worked at OPPO. He was recently put in charge of overseeing the product strategy of both brands, with the so-called partnership representing just another step towards integrating OnePlus as an alternative Oppo identity.
Through the partnership, OPPO is committing to invest over $1.3 billion in One Plus product development over the next three years. Dubbed the “dual-brand era,” the new phase of collaboration between the two brands should help launch products though better quality. Backed by funding provided by OPPO, OnePlus will follow an ultra-competitive business model, with zero net profit on devices sold. The strategy is not exactly new, as China has made a real tradition of more or less directly subsidising private companies considered of strategic importance, Huwei, ZTE or Xiaomi being just a few of the companies that would not have become so successful on their own.
And this time, the funding formally received from OPPO’s “friends” will help OnePlus products deliver more advanced technologies and an otherwise unrealistic level of quality for the price range in which they are positioned. In the short term, consumers who opt for future OnePlus phones will be the biggest winners, picking up devices that are superior to the competition, at least on the hardware side. But in the somewhat longer term, eliminating competition through unfair competitive practices could be detrimental to the industry as a whole, driving other smaller brands out of business, or brands that can’t sustain themselves through obscure funding.