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Chinese brand Oppo adds more smartphone choice in SA

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 25 Sept 2020
The Oppo A72 will be on sale from major retailers on 7 October.
The Oppo A72 will be on sale from major retailers on 7 October.

Chinese smartphone brand Oppo is looking to add South African consumers to its 350 million global user base as it officially launches in the country today.

The company revealed it is bringing its A-series smartphone range to the local market first, starting with the Oppo A72 that will go on sale on 7 October. This, it said, will be followed by the launch of the A53s and A15, and more flagship products from next year onwards.

“Oppo is committed to offering South African businesses and consumers the best technology experience possible and is excited to enter this vibrant market,” says Sam Zhang, CEO of Oppo SA. “This is an important moment in our collective history and through forging strong relationships with our partners, we aim to equip our society with the tools it needs to prosper.”

Speaking during an online media engagement earlier this week, Liam Faurie, business head of GTM operations at Oppo, described the A-series as the brand’s accessible range that brings “premium features no matter what the wallet size”.

Smartphone race heats up

Founded in 2004, Oppo is a subsidiary of Chinese multinational conglomerate BBK Electronics, which also owns brands such asVivo and OnePlus. Vivo made its South African debutin December 2019.

Since 2004, the company has expanded its global footprint to over 40 countries and regions, and according to Zhang, it is the number one brand in South East Asia and the number two smartphone brand in China.

Oppo’s entrance into the South African market comes amid an influx of smartphone manufacturers in recent months, including Vivo, Tecno and the Mara Group. Taiwanese consumer electronics and smartphone manufacturer HTC also recently announced its re-entry into the market, with plans to rollout devices from mid-October.

Derrick Chikanga, IT services analyst at Africa Analysis, says SA has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in Africa, which demonstrates a strong appetite for smartphones that manufacturers can capitalise on.

Furthermore, the household income is generally higher in SA compared to other African countries, which makes the smartphones more affordable in SA, states Chikanga.

“The space for additional smartphone brands will always exist in SA. The smartphone market is highly competitive and not all brands will succeed. As such, new brands will always emerge to compete with existing brands.”


Oppo says its upcoming devices offer users the best blend of premium features such as a large main camera sensor and big, crisp displays and long-lasting, fast-charging batteries, but at an affordable price.

The brand is also confident audiophiles will love Oppo phones because of features like fast-charging batteries, stereo speakers, bespoke sound tuning and high-resolution audio support, which is present throughout the range. The audio features also extend to Oppo’s range of wireless headphones.

“We’re confident that the quality of our hardware, value-added services and our strong partnership with Google will set us apart,” explains Faurie. “Oppo is a top five global smartphone brand in the world with incredible growth in key markets like India and Australia. I’m excited to introduce this level of quality to South Africa.”

Oppo indicates that its top-end devices that feature brand collaborations with Lamborghini and FC Barcelona will arrive on South African shores in the coming months.

The company states it aims to promote the rapid integration of cutting-edge technology with a special focus on 5G conversion and artificial intelligence integration, adding that it has worked with more than 50 global operators to accelerate large-scale commercialisation of 5G. Oppo announced its 5G phone last year, launching it in Europe.

“By utilising the world's most widely-used mobile operating system, Android, Oppo has access to all of the best apps from the top developers on Play Store and this is backed up by Android Protect to ensure data privacy and software safety for its customers.”

The company notes it has also forged ahead to meet the needs of users with visual, hearing and physical disabilities by optimising barrier-free accessibility functions on top of the full suite of Google Mobile Services in the latest version of Oppo ColorOS, to grant more users access to the power of technology.

Oppo founder and CEO Tony Chen states: “Technology should not only enhance our life, but also bring the world and humanity closer together. This is the initial belief and commitment when Oppo started its journey. In the long-term, Oppo will constantly bring a better technological experience to consumers around the world with our friends, eventually creating an open and intelligent ecosystem.”

The company says the Oppo A72 will be on sale from local major retailers for R6 999, and is available in two colours: aurora purple and twilight black.