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Oppo arrives in SA with high-value smartphone trio

For South Africans, it was the world’s best-selling unknown phone. Now Oppo is going large in this country, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

The question many are asking is why the Oppo range is being launched in South Africa in the midst of a pandemic.

 “There’s no better time than the now,” says Liam Faurie, Oppo business head of go-to-market Operations in South Africa. “Oppo has had its eye on this market for some time. It has already opened up markets like Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt.

“Oppo’s main strategy is to make sure that there’s a strong focus on quality, and working with the operators. It’s also been quite a recent introduction with the big operators in Europe, so together with really understanding those operator markets, we wanted to make sure that consumers have got not only quality hardware, but also a quality experience on the networks. That’s why it’s taken longer to ensure that business models are adapted and catered for in big operator markets like South Africa. Covid-19 definitely did have an impact, as we wanted to launch a lot earlier this year.”

Sam Zhang, CEO of Oppo South Africa, said that Huawei’s challenges in working round a ban of Google services did not have any impact on Oppo’s timing.

“It is just coincidence. We are not focused solely on our competitors. The focus is to bring quality products to this country. Competition breeds innovation, not only from a product point of view, but also from a communication point of view as well, but we are laser-focused on aspects like the quality of product and service.”

Faurie is clear on the target market in South Africa, and the reason for its careful selection of devices for release here.

“The product strategy is to penetrate the mid-range market. Oppo is very strong in the mid-range, but not just to bring in any old mid-range product. It’s understanding what the local market wants, effectively what price points are popular, and bring the product and feature set that specifically talks to those price points.

“This year we are launching three models and we believe that we have a good, competitive strategy in terms of the quality of our products, the quality of our service, the way that the product feels, the way it looks.”

The three devices, he says, target specific market segments.

“The A53s, is going to be speaking to gamers. Once you see the feature set and experience the device, you’ll see this is the best gaming and best entertainment device for its price. We follow with a very strong pre-paid product, the A15. The A72 is the camera and audio leader, and we’re also going to bundle it with TWS ear buds.”

The underlying significance of this range is that it is only setting the scene, rather than being Oppo’s main act.

“We are setting the market up for the big flagships, the Reno and the Find X series, to come in the first half of next year,” says Faurie. “The idea is to make sure our team is ready. We’ve got a very strong, very knowledgeable team, that has worked for the big tech brands for many years. We are getting the environment ready to prepare for our flagship launch.”

Read more about Oppo on the next page.

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