OnePlus wants to make more in India


KOLKATA: OnePlus, the country’s second largest premium smartphone maker, is in talks with local manufacturers for sourcing components as it looks to keep costs low and insulate from duty hikes.

Vikas Agarwal, OnePlus’ general manager for India, said the company’s local unit is now assemblying the entire portfolio of smartphones, and that it wants to move deeper into the ‘Make in India’ strategy since government policies are clear that duties and taxes will be favourable for local producers.

“We are finalising our plans on local component manufacturing or sourcing. If the plans become successful, India can potentially become our global manufacturing hub with handsets getting exported from here,” said Agarwal. In India, OnePlus phones are assembled by a vendor who also assembles Oppo brand mobile phones.

The government raised the duty on imported smartphones twice in the last three months — from 10% to 20% — a move that forced brands like Apple to increase iPhone prices by over 6%. However, one model — the iPhone SE — escaped the price increase as it’s assembled locally.

According to Agarwal, most premium phone brands in India are in a chicken-and-egg situation since they do not have sales volume to justify local assembly, except the entry-level models. Samsung bucks this trend as its premium models, too, are produced locally.

OnePlus operates in the Rs 30,000-plus smartphone segment, which is growing at 30% annually and accounts for 3.5% of the country’s total smartphone market. Its main competitors are Apple and Samsung.

As per data from market trackers IDC and Counterpoint Research, OnePlus was the second largest brand in the premium segment after Apple in the October-December quarter, thereby becoming the largest premium Android smartphone maker in India. As per Counterpoint’s last quarter result, Apple had 47% share in the premium segment followed by OnePlus with 25% share and Samsung with 17.6% share. OnePlus overtook Samsung in the July-September quarter.

India is the largest market for OnePlus, having accounted for over 35% of its global sales of $1.4-billion in 2017, when its global sales had doubled.

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