OnePlus was never an outsider: the smartphone empire BBK Electronics

OnePlus was never an outsider: the smartphone empire BBK Electronics

I recently had a very exciting conversation with an employee of OnePlus.Most customers looked at OnePlus, in its early days, as an outsider and underdog.However, there is a Chinese smartphone empire behind the company and a brilliant marketing strategy.

BBK Electronics (广东 电子 工业 有限 有限) is the third largest smartphone manufacturer worldwide and you have probably never heard of them!

With over 190 million smartphones sold in 2017, the conglomerate from China Apple (215 million.) closely on the heels.Without financial injections from the parent company, the rise of OnePlus would not have been possible.

BBK Electronics in detail

BBK or in Chinese Bùbùgāo (步步 高, from 步步 高升 = steadily ascending) was on 18.September 1995 by Duan Yongping (段永平, Chinese Baike.Baidu Article) founded in Dongguan (东莞), a few kilometers east of Shenzhen.The company is over 10.000 employees are now so well known and viewed that the street in which the main center is located was named after them (广东省 东莞 长 乌沙步步高大道 126 号).

Due to the proximity to numerous factories, BBK produced various electronics products such as headphones, CD players or even parts of old game consoles in the early days.Unfortunately, there is little information for the period between 1995 and 2004, the year in which the Oppo brand was shown to the public.In any case, it is the two large smartphone brands Oppo and Vivo that BBK Electronics have made so known.

In addition, you regularly meet offline shops with the BBK branding in China, in which products are sold.The product range nowadays includes all electronic devices that can be found in an ordinary household.The main markets are Asia and Russia.

What is Vivo?

Although Vivo (维沃 / Wéi Wò) was founded in 2009, 4 years after Oppo, I would like to present the brand first because it is in no connection to OnePlus.With a market share of over 10%, Vivo, which are considered a premium manufacturer in the higher price ranges, is one of the largest brands in China.

Vivo Sponsort the popular NBA player Stephen Curry and hopes for more sales in the main markets in Asia.Except for Russia, Vivo has not yet made it across the Asian borders.

In the early days, dedicated hi-fi chips, a feature that had never been perceived until then, ensured a good reputation and many fans.In 2013 they were the first to launch a smartphone with 2K display with the XPlay3s.The specially developed Funtouch surface and various apps in their own ecosystem ensure that users bind to the brand in the long term.

Vivo has also caused a sensation in the past few months.The Vivo X20 is the first smartphone with fingerprint sensor in the front display (see animation), the so-called clear ID, developed by the American company Synaptics.If you read this article on a laptop, you are very likely to have a Synaptics Trackpad installed.

A concept of smartphone without display edges and an extendable camera has also been presented in the past few weeks.

What is Oppo?

The Oppo brand (欧珀 / ōu Pò), which BBK has been prominent since 2004, is the draft horse of the electronics manufacturer and the third largest smartphone manufacturer in China (according to Huawei and Apple).It was founded by Chen Mingyong (陈明永), who still works as a CEO today.

Oppo is the official sponsor of FC Barcelona in almost all important Asian brands and particularly causes a sensation in China.Just a few months ago, they booked the Guangzhou Tower and other prominent advertising places in China to apply the Oppo R9S, which is the best -selling smartphone in 2017.The advertising with the slogan "full, time for pictures and calls" (充电 了 了, 这 聊聊 聊聊 吧) or or."Load 5 minutes, make two hours on the phone" (充电 5 分钟, 通话 小时 小时) on the Canton Tower, so rumors on Weibo and Douban, cost about 30 million USD

Although the brand can primarily only be purchased in Asia, maybe some customers know the sound systems and Blu-ray players from Oppo.These are still among the best products on the market.The first smartphone (OPPO R817 Real) was only made years later, in October 2012.In the coming years, Oppo- with the Finder and R5- not only produced the thinnest smartphones in the world, but also dared an experiment with the Oppo N1, which includes a rotating camera for front and back.

Oppo is particularly popular with younger customers in China.This is because almost all devices are sold well below 3500cny (~ 450 €) and still offer high quality quality.The marketing campaigns are also aimed at a young, professional and agile target group with high standards.In particular, the camera, which is used for selfies and travel images, is in the foreground

Oppo is the mother company of OnePlus by the way and it is said that the smartphones have a very similar design.Finally they come from the same factory.So why not beat two birds with one stone?

The career of OnePlus

In the meantime everyone knows the smartphone manufacturer OnePlus (一 科技 科技 / yījiā kējì).The company was founded by Pete Lau (刘作虎 / Liú zuòhǔ) and Carl Pei (裴宇 / péi yǔ).Before founding OnePlus, they worked together at Oppo as Vice President and Marketing Manager.

At the beginning, Lau denied a connection to Oppo.However, the Chinese corporate register shows that a holding hold of OPPO is 100% involved in OnePlus.This means that not only help with production, but also in distribution.The marketing budget is certainly regularly by the big brother, the completely unknown in the European markets, increased.

In the past 4 years, OnePlus has regularly shown a certain degree of inability in marketing.Where the first generations of the OnePlus could only be purchased by an invite system, it has now been targeted.The system copied oneeplus from China from Xiaomi, which in the first few years only sold on their own website with so-called flash sales.

However, OnePlus brought far forward, however, to create a shortage of scarce, even though there are enough money and possibilities.

Campaigns were regularly introduced that promised a higher place in the waiting list or a direct invite code.It was asked to destroy the old smartphone with video evidence or female fans should upload photos with the OnePlus logo.That can't end well.

However, these were not the only problem cases that OnePlus had to face.In recent years, although a total of fewer than 10 smartphones have been produced, there have been a few more problems.These include:

OnePlus war nie Außenseiter: Das Smartphone-Imperium BBK Electronics

Withdrawal from the Indonesian market

Prohibition in India (lifted)

Kundenservice schlecht & Garantiefälle abgewiesen

Incorrect USB-C cable

Update policy not met

Fake values in the Antutu Benchmark

I also suspect that oneeplus, similar to all China shops, does not import properly in Europe and save import sales tax.All orders for European customers are handled in a department store in Poland.The company still refuses to issue customs invoices - even for business customers.

Despite all the setbacks, OnePlus is now a house number on the international smartphone market and especially for those who turn the back on the back of Apple's iPhone or Samsungs Galaxy and Note.In terms of price, however, the manufacturer makes regular jumps forward.Once available for around $ 300, the top models now cost around $ 500 at release and suspicious the smartphones see those of Oppo more and more similar.

The OnePlus 5, which is the most successful smartphone of the young company, is almost identical to the OPPO R11, which is already available under € 400 in China.

Oneeplus was never an outsider: a planned experiment?

Be careful, now it's time for aluminum and conspiracy theories!OnePlus appearance as an underdog and outsider is the best marketing campaign that the smartphone market has seen so far.One is particularly pleased here: BBK Electronics!

Together with Oppo and two committed founders, a brand was created that is discussed the loudest outside of China.A market that the Oppo and Vivo brands have not yet conquered for various reasons.With OnePlus, however, a experimental banks were found that is 100% in the control of the parent company, but acts as a company on the international stage.

Various marketing techniques that otherwise only work in China have been tested on the rest of the world - successful!At the latest since the success of the OnePlus One, in which Oppo helped at all ends, the goal was clear: created a third brand under the roof of BBK Electronics, secure more market shares and borrow investors through successes in the western world.

Fortunately, very good smartphones were produced here, so that customers like to come back and recommend the brand.Smaller China providers usually fail with their first device.

We can only guess whether OnePlus was profitable despite the great success in their early days.Would the brand have grown so quickly if the gigantic parent companies had not been there?

The BBK Electronics empire in numbers

If you look at the statistics of the sold smartphones in different countries, the picture always looks similar.Samsung, Apple, Huawei and a big rest.

In China - and generally in Asian countries - however, the result is significantly different.Brands that you have never heard of have a larger piece of the cake as established manufacturers such as Motorola, Sony or HTC.

Only four of the best -selling smartphones in China can also be purchased directly in Germany.The rest of the place is taken by Oppo and Vivo:

Impressive numbers and very exciting that the only foreign manufacturer who can hold a market share in China is Apple.Samsung was almost completely replaced by Chinese brands by over 20%.

If the figures of the entire smartphone sales are now displayed, a much clearer picture over the entire market is to be seen: BBK Electronics is a giant that nobody really knows.

BBK Electronics and Huawei are the fastest growing companies in this statistics.Apple is likely to be able to stop very quickly as the second largest smartphone manufacturer.Together the hunt of the Chinese begins to the throne, which can currently be found in South Korea at a large distance.

However, Apple will be able to catch the biggest profit.I doubt that the Chinese companies can afford a similarly large margin.

Will Vivo and Oppo come to Europe soon?

It is unlikely that the legislative hurdles are difficult to overcome.Xiaomi has recently lost to Apple in court.Oppo and Vivo would meet the same fate, since many design features and technologies used are identical.The license fees would also have to be negotiated.

Maybe BBK Electronics will try to go a similar way to Xiaomi.These work with local resellers together without a company that may have to take on legal responsibility to open on the European continent.

Realistically, I don't expect the market entry in the next 5 years.It is more likely that new brands from China will appear and OnePlus, as an international draft horse by BBK Electronics, will be strengthened - not least of all, these smartphones are very similar to those of Oppo.

Who in your opinion will make the race in the future?Would more variety of brands and competition be desirable or are you generally skeptical about large, unknown Chinese companies?

Tags: BBK Electronics Marketing OnePlus Oppo Vivo