Chinese premium smartphone maker OnePlus plans to more than triple its India R&D employee base to 1,000 in two years. In an interview with Danish Khan, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said the industry turmoil over India’s recent cut in export sops is a short-term hurdle for the company. In fact, it is considering exporting its smart TV from India as well. Edited excerpts:
How important is India for OnePlus’ global ambitions?
India is a global base for our 5G efforts, both in terms of device exports and R&D. India is the highest priority, which includes exploring new approaches. We launched TV first in India…We launched the Red Cable membership club in India first. Our focus on the membership service will be of critical importance in India for a couple of years.
We want to make India a global base for talent where employees will be trained and brought to support our global operations, particularly in North America and Europe.
What are your R&D expansion plans?
We have 300 people and recently we took 75 campus graduates…the plan is to have 1,000 employees in the next two years.
Would OnePlus cut down on exports from India after the government cut down on export sops?
India will continue to be a primary market for us for global exports. We will not make decisions based on short-term disruption. We are focusing on the bigger picture. And India will continue to remain the primary facility in the long term. In the longer term, it will make sense to start TV exports from India.
How has the OnePlus smart TV performed in India?
The TV was a new product for us and we were conservative. The idea was to understand user experience, which is why the product was only available on the Reliance and Amazon channels. Now, we have a better idea, and going forward, we will be expanding to other channels.
Can you elaborate on OnePlus India’s performance in numbers?
In the last six years, we have evolved from a startup to become No. 4 in the global premium smartphone segment. In India, it’s been better than our expectation. We are focused on the best possible products and services and on the company evolving in terms of health.
Any plan to diversify into more product categories to become a lifestyle brand?
We certainly won’t make everything. Air conditioners or vacuum cleaners are not something that necessarily makes sense. Our company’s vision for the product is to give users a seamlessly connected experience and that is by creating an ecosystem of connected spaces.
Which are the possible products?
We look at the perspective of users and their key spaces of connectivity, including home, car or transportation, offices and on-the-go.
Source: Economic Times