OPPO, OnePlus, possibly other BBK brands, could leave Europe

Rumours in the Chinese press that OPPO and OnePlus are about to pull out of European countries such as the UK and Germany have so far been denied by their representatives. Meanwhile, other rumours circulating on Twitter also announce a possible withdrawal from France and the Netherlands.

Although the BBK name doesn’t resonate much with consumer ears, the heavily Beijing-backed company is the de facto new Huawei. With the full name BBK Electronics Corporation, the entity owns such successful brands as Oppo, OnePlus, Realme, Vivo, IQOO.

According to the official statement, “OPPO and OnePlus are committed to all European markets in which they operate. We’ve had a great start to 2023, with successful launches of several products in Europe, and have a range of products ready for the rest of the year. As always, OPPO and OnePlus will continue to deliver more innovative products and the best services for users in the future.

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However, the increasingly tense political relations between the US and China do not rule out the possibility of new sanctions along the lines of Huawei, applicable to other companies of great importance to the ambitions of the Beijing regime. Especially in the context of possible support for Russia’s war effort, it would not be hard to imagine how economic sanctions against mega-corporations such as BBK would drive well-known smartphone brands such as those mentioned above out of the European market.

Politically related or not, Finland’s Nokia has sued OPPO and OnePlus for patent infringement of patents held in the 5G technology sphere, with a German court appearing to tip the balance in their favour. If upheld, the ruling could block the sale of any devices that include 5G connectivity, in effect driving the two brands off the market.

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Another option would be for BBK to initiate a partial withdrawal from the European market, remaining present only in a few countries where the managed brands have had at least moderate success. What is certain is that, despite consistent investment with product development and promotion to European consumers, none of the BBK brands has become a credible challenge to Apple and Samsung.

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