What's the story of OnePlus

Oneplus in the company profile: We introduce the newcomer

You don't have to be a connoisseur of the scene to have at least heard of the “flagship killer”. The level of the Oneplus One (test) presented in April 2014 easily reached that of the trendy top models of the time. With the price, however, Oneplus stayed below 300 euros. The price-performance ratio was unbelievably good - word got around quickly.

Narrow-gauge logistics at the beginning

The heads of the young start-up had already gained experience: In previous years, founder Pete Lau had moved from an engineer to a managerial position at the Chinese electronics manufacturer Oppo Electronics. Co-founder Carl Pei also landed at Oppo in 2012 after positions at Nokia and Meizu and acted for Lau as a manager in the International Markets division. In autumn 2013 both left Oppo and founded Oneplus. The departure took place more on paper: Oneplus had no production facilities, and so the One was manufactured in the Oppo factory.

After its launch in April 2014 and the good reviews, the Oneplus One was as coveted as a rare item in a computer game - and just as difficult to get: anyone who wanted to buy a One needed an invitation. Those who had one also received two invitations to pass on. Otherwise, Oneplus drew customers to social networks via invite campaigns. Not clumsy. On special days such as Black Friday, Oneplus also tested shop capacities with online direct sales. It took almost two years before it became the norm. From the beginning, Amazon was there as an alternative sales partner, but only in India; The Oneplus 6 only started selling on Amazon this year.

Daughter of a large corporation

What many do not know: Oneplus is not an independent company. Together with Oppo, Vivo and Imoo, the start-up belongs to the empire of the Chinese consumer electronics group BBK Electronics. With a share of 15 percent of the smartphones sold, BKK was among the top three smartphone manufacturers globally in 2017. So far, however, most of the success has been due to the Oppo and Vivo brands. In theory, it should have been possible to bolster the successful company more financially. On the other hand, Oneplus stuck to the role of the underdog. And if someone like that can show the big guys what’s going on, it’s not only in sport that creates growing sympathy among the fans.

Concentration as a strategy

Even at Oppo, Pete Lau is said to have shown a keen sense for details. With Oneplus he drove the ideal line from the start. Like a composer who doesn’t need to compose two pieces at the same time, his entire commitment flowed into just one device per cycle. The bill worked: the company wanted to sell 30,000 smartphones in the first year, and it has grown to over a million.

With Cyanogen Mod, a very popular Android derivative first came to the One. For Oneplus, the team around namesake Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik developed a special version - everything looked like a long-term partnership. In December 2014, however, the break occurred - with almost disastrous consequences for the startup: Cyanogen Inc. signed an exclusive agreement with the Indian manufacturer Micromax before the One was launched on the market. Oneplus used Color OS from Oppo for the Indian devices without further ado, which was also installed on devices for the Chinese homeland anyway. And by the time the Oneplus 2 was launched, you had your own stock ROM with Oxygen OS.

Community is involved

Carl Pei had operated a fan website for Meizu in previous years, so it is easy to understand that the Oneplus community is also close to his heart. Even if not all wishes were met, such as the one for a compartment for external memory cards: From day one, feedback, suggestions and criticism met with open ears. At Oneplus, the community is allowed to help shape - at least that's the impression that the young company conveys credibly. But the mountain also comes to the prophet: In 2017, at the Open Ears Forum in Hamburg and a meeting of community moderators in London, an active exchange between fans and the leading figures of Oneplus took place. Among them: Carl Pei and Pete Lau (the latter only in London).

Oneplus is not the only company that does unusual things, but it sets itself apart from other manufacturers with its one-device strategy and the success of the results. The world's first product launch in VR, at which the Oneplus 2 was shown in 2015, created a virtual spatial presence, the large number of free cardboards that were sent out to community members around the world especially for this purpose, created social closeness. Even an incident such as the theft of credit card data via the Oneplus online store at the end of 2017 did not become a stress test, because Oneplus did not explain itself to the professional world through a press release, but addressed the users directly via its own mouthpiece.

This is also reflected in the figures: Oneplus sales rose from 300 million US dollars in the first year to 1.4 billion US dollars in 2017. The Oneplus 6 has now arrived, and it looks like the positive development will continue continues.

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