Oppo to manufacture OnePlus 3 in India?

oneplus-3 Oppo, the Chinese smartphone giant, looks set to start manufacturing OnePlus 3 in India, according to an industry source.

Oppo is the former employer of OnePlus founder Pete Lau, and investment company Oppo Electronic was disclosed to be a shareholder in OnePlus.

At present, the OnePlus 3 is manufactured in Shenzen in China and at a plant in Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

Oppo too is likely to manufacture the device at its Noida factory.

The move is likely to substantially increase the availability of the much-in-demand phone.

OnePlus has managed to develop for itself an image of reliability coupled with high-end specs and affordable prices.

It has managed to cultivate a special position for itself — particularly among young male buyers — because of its focus on a single model (sometimes supplemented by a smaller version) compared to typical handset brands that have a dozen or more current models.

OnePlus has also leveraged the low-cost online retail model to keep costs low.

All this has helped the company keep its costs low in India, even as others like ViVo, Gionee and Oppo have chosen to go the traditional brick-and-mortar route, which entails higher costs and therefore higher end-customer prices.

However, one of the key pillars of OnePlus’ low-cost model — just-in-time manufacturing — has also been the biggest pain point for its customers in India.

The company’s models are almost never on stock at its online vendor sites and one has to wait for a particular day of the week to buy the OnePlus.

The manufacturing partnership with a player like Oppo is likely to solve this major pain point for OnePlus, while also lowering its costs.

Manufacturing smartphones in India tends to reduce total costs slightly as the Indian government has formulated its tax processes to encourage local manufacturing.

The OnePlus 3 — the third flagship model from the brand — is one of the most highly rated affordable high-end smartphones in the country, and has a 4.4 star rating on Amazon. Competitor Mi5, which is priced Rs 5000 cheaper, is rated 4.2 stars.