Amidst the myriad of (relatively) new Chinese smartphone manufacturers, OnePlus certainly has made itself distinctive. Be it for past questionable marketing campaigns, now-fortunately-gone, infamous invite systems or, all in all, good products, the company can claim to have a special flair to it.
However, to keep that “uniqueness trend” going, the company is seemingly ditching any further plans that saw it working on sequels to its mid-range OnePlus X …
Part of OnePlus’ philosophy, in fact, revolves around ideas of simplicity. Just think about its smartphones’ names: OnePlus 1, 2, and now 3. Aside from the brief X detour, that’s the only lineup the company has put on stores’ shelves. One device per year, the highest possible specs, and some distinctive initiatives to promote it, like this year’s VR launch in the company’s Loop VR space — with almost-freely offered headsets to accompany it, too.
As per CEO Pete Lau, who was attending the 3’s launch yesterday in China — while co-founder Carl Pei was touring the US to attend the opening of New York’s pop-up store today — OnePlus will focus on “one true flagship” from now on, in order to “strengthen its foundation”. It’s not that the X was a bad quality phone, nor a poorly received one; this is simply a brand choice, with OnePlus deciding that its target market will be the upper one, as the company prefers to go toe to toe with the likes of Apple and Samsung rather than fight the fierce low-end price war.
Lau also reportedly added that “he’ll continue to invest in after-sale services and offer more lifestyle products to further promote his brand,” but also manage advertising spending so to have good promotional channels for its products while avoiding more conventional marketing strategies, and thus pass the savings on to its customers. With this plan, OnePlus is seemingly doing very well in India — where it remains the top $300+ brand, according to Amazon sales — the United States and Europe, its overall strongest market in terms of sales and growth.
China remains a different beast, instead, and the firm will not open physical stores there, relying on online channels alone instead. “This will all make sense in 20 years’ time,” Lau added. “Some vendors say the online model is stalling so they badmouth it, but I see that as an opportunity. You just have to remain persistent.”