OPPO is working hard to establish a prominent, permanent presence in the South African smartphone market.
This is according to Head of Go-to-market and Operations at OPPO South Africa Liam Faurie, who recently spoke to MyBroadband following the launch of the company’s Reno5 5G smartphone in the country.
Faurie’s previous roles included a term of seven years at Samsung South Africa, where he served as Product Manager for Premium Smartphones and Senior Product Manager. More recently, he headed Product and Marketing at Hisense South Africa.
He then joined OPPO South Africa just before the company launched its first smartphones in the country in October 2020.
Speaking at the company’s offices in Woodmead in Johannesburg, Faurie said the reception of OPPO in South Africa has been phenomenal, with more than 30,000 units sold since that time.
“Our five-year ambition is to become the no.1 in this market,” Faurie said.
“We’ve got a long way ahead of us but if you judge from our five-month growth already, I think we can do it,” Faurie stated.
He acknowledged that while OPPO’s sales figures were small when compared to the likes of market leader Samsung, one had to consider that OPPO offered a much smaller, more focused product line-up targeting specific price-points.
“We need the key price-points where the user shops and where he wants that additional value,” Faurie said.
Faurie reiterated that OPPO was not entering South Africa to dump stock which would not be bought but rather had a long-term view to gaining a strong foothold in the market.
“Our strategy is very simple – keep investing in the team, keep investing in our partners, keep bringing meaningful products to the market,” Faurie added.
OPPO vs Huawei
With a quick rise in customers, it’s hard not to draw parallels with another major Chinese manufacturer who has achieved great success in South Africa – Huawei.
Despite the glaring lack of Google Mobile Services (GMS) on its latest smartphones, Huawei is still very popular among South Africans.
However, reports have indicated that company has greatly lowered its targeted smartphone shipments for this year, which means it could lose its foothold in South Africa by the second half of 2021.
This would create an opportunity for rivals who offer similar smartphones at comparable prices to step up and capture Huawei’s market.
When questioned on whether the company aims to be South Africa’s “next Huawei”, however, Faurie said OPPO’s approach was very different.
“If you consider Huawei’s strategy, it’s a big global powerhouse that brought its team from China here.”
“OPPO has done it differently. My boss has come with a very small setup team and they said ‘Right, let’s get the locals, they know this market’. So our focus is really on local job creation,” Faurie said.
200 team members and growing
Faurie said he believes OPPO South Africa had a very strong local team – the best in the industry.
They have already received an award from OPPO Global for being one of the fastest growing markets for the brand.
“We’re very calculated. We’ve provided jobs for more than 200 people already. We’re very much team-focused,” Faurie said.
“We’ve set up this office for 75 people to work here, we’re currently on 22. We’ve still got a lot of room to grow,” Faurie stated.
Because OPPO is relatively unknown in South Africa, the company has pushed heavily in terms of promotion on the ground.
Faurie said the company relied heavily on these teams to be able to show the customers the benefits of owning an OPPO smartphone.
“We’ve got one of the biggest field forces, promoter forces, in the industry. We’ve currently got about 180 OPPO ambassadors running around our malls and that makes the difference,” Faurie stated.
Key partnerships and greater value
OPPO has also established partnerships with several of South Africa’s largest mobile operators and retailers to sell its smartphones to their customers.
These include operators like Vodacom and MTN, who offer OPPO’s range of smartphones on various contracts, in addition to retailers such as Cellucity, Incredible Connection, Technomobi, PEP, and Ackermans.
Faurie added that OPPO aimed to provide more value to customers by bundling certain items which are often excluded with new smartphone releases.
The Reno5 box, for example, includes a powerful 65W charging brick and its purpose-made super-vooc charging cable, wired headphones, and a pair of Enco W11 wireless earbuds.
Buyers also get the OPPO Care Package which includes a protective clear cover, pre-applied screen protector, and a six-month free screen repair service.
The images below show the OPPO smartphones you can currently buy in South Africa.