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VIDEO | The shadow empire of BBK Electronics

Written by James Chan, Simone Martin Published on     1 min read

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BBK’s founder, billionaire Duan Yongping, rarely gives interviews, and the company’s management had almost let its brands exist independently.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “Spotlight” series, where our writers from different editorial tables work together to give you a closer look at the tech scene in Asia. Read more about BBK’s beginning and its offshoots here. Know more about BBK’s impact in Southeast Asia here, and learn about how OnePlus cornered India’s premium smartphone category here

Outside of China, the name BBK Electronics might not mean much when it comes to smartphones, but low-key, it could be considered one of the world’s largest phone makers.

The firm was instrumental to the rise of five globally best-selling smartphone brands—Oppo, Vivo, Realme, OnePlus, and Iqoo. However, BBK has always maintained a scant public-facing presence, while its offshoots have downplayed their undeniable shared history and lineage. As they are all private companies, the exact nature of the relationships between BBK and these phone brands is hazy.

By viewing Oppo, Vivo, and Realme as part of the same group, BBK is the world’s largest smartphone maker, with a 19% market share in 2020, per recent data by Counterpoint Research. The three brands sold 262.7 million units in 2020, outperforming bigwigs such as Samsung and Huawei. That’s without counting OnePlus and Iqoo, whose sales were not listed by Counterpoint.

Learn more about BBK and its enigmatic founder Duan Yongping in this video:

To check out other videos by KrASIA, please visit our YouTube channel.

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