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China’s Oppo teams up with KDDI, SoftBank to bring its 5G smartphones to Japan

Written by South China Morning Post Published on 

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The move ‘signifies Oppo’s first steps into Japan’s mainstream market’, the company says.

Chinese smartphone brand Oppo‘s 5G smartphones, the Find X2 Pro and Reno3 5G, will be available in Japan from this month through two of the country’s leading operators, KDDI and SoftBank.

KDDI, Japan’s second-largest mobile operator after NTT Docomo, will carry Oppo’s first 5G flagship phone, the Find X2 Pro, starting July 22. Oppo’s mid-range Reno3 5G will be sold by Japan’s third-largest carrier, SoftBank, from July 31, the Chinese company said in a press release on Tuesday.

“Japan has always been an important market for Oppo,” Alen Wu, Oppo’s vice-president and its president of global sales, said in the release. “In the future, Oppo plans to work closely with leading local partners like KDDI and SoftBank and continue to introduce leading 5G products, technologies, and services to more Japanese consumers.”

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The move is the latest in the Chinese smartphone brand’s efforts to expand in mature overseas markets, at a time when domestic competitor Huawei Technologies is facing headwinds internationally after being put on a US trade blacklist that prohibits it from using Google mobile services and other US-origin tech without a licence.

Oppo, headquartered in Dongguan, Guangdong, made a renewed push into the European market in May. Through a partnership with telecommunications giant Vodafone the latter distributes Oppo products across its retail channels in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, and the Netherlands.

The company’s latest partnership with KDDI and SoftBank “signifies Oppo’s first steps into Japan’s mainstream market, bringing excellent 5G experience to more Japanese consumers,” it said in the press release.

Oppo, the world’s fifth-largest smartphone maker, made its name by producing smartphones with low-to-mid-range prices, targeting young people in China’s lower-tier cities.

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But the launch of its flagship Find X2 series of phones in March, its most expensive range so far with a starting price of RMB 5,499 (USD 784), reflects more recent ambitions to expand the company’s overseas presence to Europe, where more smartphone users are willing to shell out for premium models.

Oppo has said that since September more than half its smartphone shipments have been outside mainland China, and the company expects its proportion of overseas sales will increase with its push into new markets.

In its home market, Oppo and other Chinese smartphone brands including Xiaomi and Vivo have faced stiffer competition after Huawei doubled down on efforts to expand domestic sales to compensate for the impact of the US blacklist on its overseas business.

In the first quarter of the year, Oppo accounted for 8% of the global smartphone market, compared to market leader Samsung, at 20%, and Huawei, which was the second-largest player with 17% of the market, according to a report in May by Hong Kong-based research firm Counterpoint.

This article was originally published by the South China Morning Post

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