“We have taken the decision to relocate servers that house data of Indian consumers to India. All data of Indians are on Amazon web servers,” founder CEO Pete Lau, told ET. On rising privacy-related concerns pertaining to Chinese devices, he said that the brand maintains a culture of openness and transparency.
“These are issues created out of historical perceptions, rather than what China is now…from the Indian market perspective, consumers know we are a global brand and that’s what they like about us,” he added.
The premium handset maker will be among the first handset brands to launch a 5G smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s latest 855 chipset in 2019. Lau, however, said that Indian consumers would have to wait till 2020 for the much-awaited 5G smartphone, and its upcoming smart TV, divulging for the first-time probable timelines for India launches.
“We don’t have definite information from the carrier side on 5G networks being deployed in India. Globally, the first half of 2019, we are looking at Europe. The second half, we will explore with other carriers in Europe and also in the US,” he further added.
The top executive said that 5G smartphones will be more expensive than 4G.
For the smart TV, OnePlus will be positioning its product in the flagship category. Lau said that India will be one of the first markets to get the OnePlus TV, and will be available through Amazon.
“We haven’t set a deadline as yet, as we want it to be the best there is,” he added.
Underlining India’s importance to it, OnePlus is setting up a local research and development (R&D) center in Hyderabad, which is expected be operational by early next year. Lau expects the India R&D centre to become the company’s largest – surpassing even China – in three years.
OnePlus maintained its leadership in India’s premium smartphone market in the July-September quarter of this year with 30% market share, driven by strong sales of OnePlus 6 smartphone, as per Counterpoint data. It recently launched OnePlus 6T smartphone to further bolster its leadership in the premium category.
Lau said that the premium segment had grown 44% in the first half of 2018, but excluding OnePlus, the segment would have fallen 12%.
Asked if OnePlus was planning to tap the mid-range handset market, Lau said there is a massive market in the sub-Rs 20,000 category in India, and “certainly there is a temptation,” but the brand’s focus will remain on the flagships only.
“If we were to enter a lower segment, that would disrespectful of what people expect from us.”
He further added that the brand will continue to follow its business model which comprises smaller advertising and marketing spending. “Our price advantage is due to our unique business model, which has less of a complexity in terms of channel distributors like traditional OEMs… our price will be able to always remain competitive,” he added.
(The reporter is in Hawaii at the invitation of Qualcomm to cover the company’s annual tech conference)
(This story has been sourced from a RSS feed and was originally published on ET Tech.)