Why the year of the rat will be the year of the unknown Chinese smartphone – AndroidPIT
Do you know OPPO, Vivio, and Realme? No, then memorize these names for the coming year 2020. By the Mobile World Congress at the latest, these three brands will be competing massively with the big boys in Europe.
The year 2019 looks like a catastrophe at first glance, if you look at the Chinese smartphone manufacturers, but to be honest, most people then all too often talk only about the Chinese model student in terms of smartphones and that is Huawei. It is well known that Huawei still has to fight with political impasses, and you can buy the Mate 30 Pro in Spain and Italy at the end of 2019, but only without Google services and the Play Store. Of course, there were more Huawei or Honor smartphones and wearables on the market despite the missing Google license, but most devices, such as the Honor 9X were relabelled and slightly customized products, which were certified by Google before the loss of the license.
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By the end of 2019, the four brands OPPO, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus from the BBK Group had already become one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers. Although we already know OnePlus in Europe, OnePlus is the smallest brand in the BBK Quartet. The two brands OPPO and Vivo alone already have a global market share of 17 percent as of the 3rd quarter of 2019. If you then add to that the fact that Realme is growing so fast in India, BBK’s trio already has a 20 percent market share. This places them in second place behind Samsung and ahead of Huawei. In addition to the figures for Huawei available on Couterpoint, it should also be mentioned that Honor’s market share is also included in this figure.
Within one year, Realme managed to gain a market share of 3 percent from a standing start! / © Counterpoint
The figures are astounding above all that neither OPPO, nor Vivo and Realme were currently really active throughout Europe in 2019. In 2019, all three brands began to enter Europe for themselves piece by piece. Frequently starting with Spain, Italy, the UK, and France. At the end of 2019, both OPPO and Vivo, as well as Xiaomi, settled in Düsseldorf to target the probably most difficult European market, Germany, and at the same time use this location as their European headquarters to coordinate further expansion in Europe.
With the four brand strategies (OPPO, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus) BBK advances to No. 2 on the worldwide smartphone market in 2019. / © Counterpoint
Learning from the past
Only a few years ago, Chinese companies had not really relied on local and experienced employees to expand into new countries. Instead, a staff of Chinese employees would have been transferred from headquarters to the respective countries. But it’s different these days. Companies such as OPPO, Vivo, Realme, and OnePlus are increasingly relying on experienced workers who are familiar with the respective markets. Even employees are poached from competing smartphone manufacturers. This is quite understandable, as they know the respective local markets and therefore already have an existing network of important contacts with network operators, retailers and, if necessary, the press. So OPPO, Vivo and Co. can get going quickly and don’t have to build everything from scratch.
With the Realme brand and its aggressive pricing policy, the BBK Group is clearly taking Xiaomi by the horns. / © AndroidPIT
Products on a par with Samsung, Huawei, and Co.
In addition to these structural preparations, the products from OPPO, Vivo, and Realme must of course also fit. But the Chinese have already done a lot of preparatory work in other markets. Realme is becoming more and more aware of Xiaomi’s competition and is storming the sales charts with top smartphones at low prices. OPPO and Vivo seem to take a calmer approach and don’t necessarily want to come up best on price, but rather shine with lifestyle and technical features. The latter is especially true at OPPO, which already in the past shone again and again at the Mobile World Congress with the fast charging technology VOOC and also the periscope camera celebrated later in the Reno 10x Zoom.
With the Reno 10x, OPPO launched a smartphone with a periscope camera before Huawei. / © AndroidPIT
It is to be expected that in 2020 OPPO will assume even more of the role of the technological driver in the BBK Group and thus go on the hunt for the flagship customers of Samsung and Huawei. During the first Innovation Day in Shenzhen at the beginning of December 2019, OPPO announced that it would invest massively in technologies around 5G, AR, and wearables and that it would invest a whopping seven billion US dollars in the development of corresponding products over the next three years. The sister companies of the BBK Group will certainly also benefit from these developments, as all four brands have their own faces and target groups, but technologies are very often shared across brands.
Head of Research at OPPO Levin Liu will be able to spend over $7 billion over the next three years on projects such as the AR glasses. / © OPPO
The year 2020, in the Chinese horoscope it is the year of the rat. You as smartphone fans should not only have the usual brands such as Samsung, Apple, and Huawei in mind. You should pay attention to brands like OPPO, Vivo, and Realme. There will certainly be at least one really tasty highlight in 2020 from all three. I promise you!