/OnePlus investing Rs 100 crore to build offline network in India; launches 8T smartphone

OnePlus investing Rs 100 crore to build offline network in India; launches 8T smartphone

NEW DELHI: OnePlus is making an investment of Rs 100 crore to expand its offline retail presence and will open 3,000 new stores to expand its reach in even tier 3 and tier 4 cities in line with its strategy to expand to a much wider user base with its smartphones, smart TV and connected devices.

China’s OnePlus currently has 5000 points of sales, including larger modern trade retail shops through 14-15 partners like Reliance Digital, Vijay Sales, Sangeetha Mobile among others. In terms of general trade, it is present across 3000 shops in over 800 cities.

“8,000 shops will happen in the next couple of quarters. We are monitoring the covid-19 situation and the expansion will be a little tempered,” OnePlus India’s new Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Navnit Nakra, told ET.

OnePlus will also open 14 big experience stores in the next six months, taking the overall count to 44 in India.

Even as the company is going for an aggressive offline expansion, Nakra said that the sales figures are currently “tilted” towards the online channel due to the pandemic. “We are seeing a fair amount of demand coming from online,” he said, adding that the expansion is not getting delayed.

He, however, said that the company is working with all offline partners to ensure supply of products. “Whenever we believe that offline needs a higher push, we will help our partners.”Nakra said that the company now works with Flipkart to build its smart TV business in the country. “We are close partners with Amazon and now similar efforts are being made for smart TV with Flipkart.”

OnePlus also launched its flagship model, 8T, on Wednesday, having launched OnePlus 8 Pro recently.

At the end of the second quarter, OnePlus was the leading brand in India’s premium smartphone market with 29% share, a tad ahead of Samsung, with Apple third with 23%, as per Counterpoint Research.

OnePlus had earlier this year revealed its new product diversification strategy in India and globally. Under this, the company is building a complete ecosystem for handsets, smart TVs and connected devices with affordability as the key factor.

“For phones, we are focusing on premium and mid-premium. Nord smartphone is the result of that strategy,” Nakra said, adding that the company is now launching entry level smart TVs.

OnePlus will make all its smart TVs in India by 2021. It commenced the manufacturing of the Y series in India this year and by 2021 it will make all OnePlus TVs locally including the Q and the U series. “It is a massive investment from us to be closer to the market,” Nakra said. He, however, didn’t reveal manufacturing related investment size.

OnePlus already manufactures its entire smartphone portfolio in India through Oppo’s factory in Greater Noida.

OnePlus has already begun work to build a complete ecosystem play and is in the process of launching connected devices across categories like health, smart lighting, smart speakers, office productivity and automobile.

“We are moving away from the old appliance world in India to connected devices which have the ability to talk to us. In the new focus areas, OnePlus will have a larger play in India and globally,” Nakra said. “We are trying very hard to see if we can launch new products around mid-November.”

The company is also building its services business in India, including the OnePlus Pay. “Our R&D is working on OnePlus pay…on the services side, there are a few more initiatives planned for 2021,” Nakra said.

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