Chinese Smartphone Maker Oppo Cuts Jobs After Aiming To Compete Against American Giant Apple

Chinese Smartphone Maker Oppo Cuts Jobs After Aiming To Compete Against American Giant AppleAn Oppo stall at an industry expo. (Wikimedia Commons)
Snapshot
  • After merging operations with OnePlus in a bid to compete with US tech giant Apple, Chinese smartphone maker Oppo is now cutting staff.

The Chinese telecommunication company Oppo merged operations with another consumer electronics manufacturer OnePlus to take the business to next level. But after the collaboration, smartphone maker Oppo is now eliminating about 20 per cent of employees in key software and device departments.

As reported by Bloomberg, sources familiar with the situation claimed that Oppo, which became China’s top-selling brand in 2016, is retrenching after expanding too quickly on the hiring front in recent years, and targeting a premium sector controlled by the American tech giant Apple Inc.

It was also reported that according to sources, the cuts affect important units such as a team that customises Android into its in-house ColorOS and an Internet of Things (IoT) division that develops a range of wearables such as smartwatches and earbuds.

Oppo has been united with OnePlus, a Shenzhen-based smaller high-end brand with which it shares sponsors since mid-2021 to pool development resources and cut costs, although this has resulted in redundant employment. One of the sources indicated that the cuts have not yet affected the company's phone R&D team or international sales positions. However, no official statement has been made regarding the alleged situation of the Chinese smartphone giant.

Oppo became one of China's most popular smartphone companies by enlisting the help of local sellers in rural areas and equipping its smartphones with larger batteries and memory. But, in the face of strong competition from Beijing-based consumer electronics giant Xiaomi Corp and the trillion-dollar company Apple, large investments to expand into regions from India to Southeast Asia and Europe have not paid off as predicted. Additionally, as the resurgence of coronavirus paralyses parts of China, it is now dealing with a Chinese retail slump.

To gain market dominance, Oppo lavished generous bonuses on retailers and commissioned Zaha Hadid Architects to design a headquarters building in Shenzhen, complete with a 20-storey vertical lobby, as well as an art gallery. The company, which is closely owned by a secretive employees' fund that includes Chinese billionaire Duan Yongping and his protege Tony Chen among its major founders, does not reveal financial information.

However, according to research firm IDC, Oppo's global smartphone shipments increased by 37 per cent in the second quarter of this year, but it was barely enough to put the company in fourth place.

OnePlus has penetrated the American market more deeply than any other Chinese company so far. But it has yet to directly compete with Apple and South Korean giant Samsung Electronics in the premium market.

According to the Bloomberg report, Oppo’s Chinese rival Huawei Technologies, which was once the country's largest smartphone provider, sold much of its device business in 2020, after sanctions by the United States cut off the supply of critical semiconductors.

However, according to reports, in China, the Oppo Find X3 Pro Photographer Edition has been unveiled recently. For this new variant of the Oppo Find X3 Pro, the company has collaborated with camera manufacturer Kodak. The Oppo Find X3 Pro Photographer Edition is scheduled to be launched officially on 16 September with its pricing and availability details.

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