Ethan Xue, President of OPPO MEA, speaks to Anita Joseph about the Middle East market for smartphones, OPPO’s uncompromising focus on innovation and cutting-edge technology, and the importance of 5G in redefining the technological landscape.
How significant is the Middle East market for OPPO today? How much has it grown?
The Middle East & Africa is a crucial market for OPPO globally and we see an opportunity here to re-energize the smartphone market and bring something truly exceptional to local consumers.
OPPO enjoys a strong global market share and has consistently ranked in the top five when it comes to smartphone shipments. In countries like Egypt, we’ve been able to quickly rise to a top three Android player in just a few years. Over the last year, the overall business for OPPO in the Middle East kept a healthy growth and we have achieved our sales target in the past few years.
In the beginning of 2019, OPPO established its regional Headquarters in Dubai. As OPPO has already achieved success in North Africa, we’ve decided to invest more in the GCC market. Dubai is a top and ideal city to develop the brand and explore expansion opportunities in the GCC market. We hope our further marketing investment in Dubai will cement our growth plans in the UAE and KSA.
When the overall, global market for smart phones is dim, how has OPPO managed to stay ahead of the game?
Since the beginning of 2019, OPPO started to adjust its product line in the region by offering mid to high-end products. We started to promote the flagship Reno series in addition to the F series. This has helped OPPO to provide an enhanced experience to its consumers using OPPO’s latest technology.
On the marketing side, we’ve increased our creative campaigns to communicate better with the young generation. One of these campaigns is OPPO Reno’s ‘Lead the Species’ campaign, whereby we combined fashion with technology, inspiring millennials to go beyond their boundaries. Another major campaign was OPPO’s Ramadan TVC, capturing the spirit of the Holy Month through a message of togetherness, featuring the smartphone’s photographic capabilities.
On the distribution channel side, we collaborated with main OR channels in the UAE (including Sharaf DG, Carrefour, Lulu, Jumbo, Emax, Axiom, and E-city) and established our brand new 3.0 shop in shop in main shopping malls across the UAE.
What new technology are you implementing in your smartphones?
OPPO has been investing significantly to bring cutting-edge technologies such as SuperVOOC, 60x Zoom, and Ultra Steady Video to users. We also recently unveiled our first 5G smartphone in the GCC. The Reno 5G continues our breakthrough Reno series by adding an additional element to the premium line – the power of 5G. With next generation connectivity, the Reno 5G will allow users to experience the world around them in even more new ways, from faster downloads to seamless gaming, buffer-free streaming and much more. OPPO Reno and 5G are the perfect combination for anyone looking for a smartphone to keep up with their adventurous lives.
OPPO is a pioneer in 5G smartphones and connectivity; the company is a key contributor to the standardization of 5G and had launched its “5G Landing Project” with leading operator partners in the GCC earlier this year to accelerate the commercialization of 5G products and services worldwide.
We recently announced raising our global R&D investments to around $1.43 billion in 2019, a 150% year-on-year increase. This will allow OPPO to further explore areas of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart devices. Meanwhile, OPPO Research Institute has been exploring 5G applications in the fields of 3D vision, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR).
What are some of the smartphone trends that dominate the market today, and how is OPPO keeping up?
Nowadays, photography features have become increasingly important for users. In line with that, OPPO Reno series is equipped with a 48MP camera with 60x Digital Zoom and Ultra night mode. These all features meet the needs of the young users.
Also, the short video apps and v-logs have become more and more popular among the younger generations. The next Reno series will have the Ultra Steady Video feature that helps users to take creative high-quality videos.
Today’s tech savvy consumers are also looking for smartphones that offer top-class technology in a premium packaging. At OPPO, we focus on empowering users with latest technology and features packed in stylish appearance and innovative design. As of last year, OPPO started to adjust its product line in the region by offering mid to high-end products.
OPPO has been named the fastest growing smartphone brand in the premium segment globally in 2018 by Counterpoint Research, a global industry analysis.
5G is big right now and OPPO has launched 5G ready phones. How can customers expect to benefit from this new technology? What should they be excited about?
Our recently launched OPPO Reno 5G, continues the series’ use of innovative technology to elevate photography and mobile entertainment to all-new heights, with the added power of 5G’s super-fast connectivity.
5G technology is still at a nascent stage, therefore we are not only developing the 5G smartphone to achieve the fast speed, but are also collaborating with local carriers and app developers to deliver an upgraded user experience based on the 5G network.
The technology behind Reno 5G elevates photography and mobile entertainment to all-new heights. A 48MP ultra-clear main camera, 13MP telephoto lens and 8MP wide-angle lens make up the Reno 5G tri-lens setup. By combining three lenses over different focal ranges, this achieves a full bandwidth of 16-160mm, an effective focal length 10 times that of an ultra wide-angle lens.
Reno 5G has been engineered with gamers in mind and brings significant performance improvements in terms of the game experience, system speed, and App opening speed, respectively. Equipped with added optimization to look into the phone’s performance, latency and control issues, OPPO Reno 5G analyzes touch control and refresh rate. Reno has been awarded a High Performance Certification from TÜV Rheinland.
Also, 5G will further empower the development of “cognitive intelligence” and accelerate the evolution of the Artificial Intelligence of Things, or AIoT.