Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus said it will invest Rs 100 crore towards expanding its offline retail network as it looks to strengthen its reach in tier II cities and beyond in the country.
The company, which unveiled its latest OnePlus 8T phone priced Rs 42,999 onwards on Wednesday, is also focused on strengthening its manufacturing in India and will make its complete line up of smart TVs locally by 2021.
“We will get into aggressive retail expansion. We will be investing nearly Rs 100 crore towards deeper market penetration by taking our premium offline experience, which is right now mostly in metro cities and going beyond the metros and expanding to new online and offline retail partnerships,” OnePlus India Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Navnit Nakra.
He added that the company is looking at launching 14 new stores in the next six months.
It will also help expand the company’s service centre network from 65 cities to 100 cities in the next one year.
“Our strategy is intertwined with how we take the premium and the mid-premium smartphones to more markets in India than ever before…We are seeing a phenomenal amount of demand coming from outside the top four metros and top 10 cities.
“And this is not only happening for the premium but also the mid-premium space, also happening to the smart TVs as well,” he said.
Nakra said OnePlus is present in about 5,000 points of sale (PoS) already, and the Rs 100 crore investment will help expand this to about 8,000 PoS.
This expansion, he noted, would depend on how the COVID-19 situation evolves as the company is being mindful of the situation.
“OnePlus would have created almost 25,000 direct and indirect jobs across manufacturing, retail and R&D and service by the end of 2020 and therefore, we have a direct responsibility of ensuring that while expanding and investing, we are also being very careful about the safety protocols,” he said.
He added that the stores are a combination of the company’s own experience stores and those with partners.
“At present, we have 30-plus OnePlus Experience Stores and this is a number that we’ll look at taking to 40-45 in the next six months. A majority of our retail stores are in partnerships with larger institutions like Reliance Digital, Poorvika, Sangeetha, Croma, Vijay Sales, Bajaj Electronics as well as large and mid-sized modern trade and general trade partners,” he said.
Nakra said the company is working on expanding the user base and getting new consumers. For this, it is looking at tapping into customers that are looking at strong brands, but are not necessarily keen on flagship models (that are also premiumly priced).
“Price segment diversification and product diversification is something that has been on our mind and I think 2020 has been a year when we have seen that strategy play out and execute really well,” he added.
Talking about manufacturing, he said the 8T is yet another product which is manufactured in India.
“100 per cent of our smartphones have been manufactured in India and by 2021, all OnePlus TVs will also be manufactured locally,” he added.
The open sale of OnePlus 8T 5G will begin on October 17.
It will be available in two variants of 12GB RAM/256GB memory and 8GB RAM/128GB memory.
The device features 120Hz 6.55-inch AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, an upgraded 65W fast-charging technology and 4,500 mAh battery.
The launch of OnePlus 8T comes a day after Apple unveiled its new 5G-enabled iPhone 12 lineup (priced Rs 69,900 onwards) that will make its way into the Indian market on October 30.
According to Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak, this will be the strongest ever lineup for iPhones in India and help Apple capture a 2 per cent share in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2020.
“We have seen the share of the new iPhone within overall Apple sales during the launch quarter increasing year-on-year and this year, it will be the same, driven by iPhone 12 mini…,” Pathak said.
“We think that overall sales will be driven by iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 11, and XR which are likely to be the best sellers for the festive season. We believe that users will wait for the iPhone 12 mini which is placed very near to Diwali,” he added.
Pathak said this will lead to tough competition in the premium segment and with OnePlus launching 8T series, consumers are expected to have tough choices to make in the premium segment.
“OnePlus is likely to do well especially in the Rs 30,000-50,000 segment with its broadest ever portfolio and bringing in the latest feature ranging from Display to fast charging and processor.
“Samsung, on the other hand, is also scaling up its portfolio along with aggressive offers on its older generation flagships. So it will be a battle of ecosystem vs latest features and pricing,” he added.