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ITWeb TV: Oppo gains ground in SA's foldables market

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 27 Oct 2023
Chinese smartphone brand, Oppo sees a growing appetite for foldable phones and high-end devices in South Africa. Bradley Young, head of product and Avashnee Moodley, head of marketing at OPPO South Africa told ITWeb TV that after launching its flagship foldable phone, the Find N2 Flip locally in March , the first batch of devices sold out quickly. #itwebtv #oppo #smartphones

Chinese smartphone brand Oppo South Africa says it is seeing increased demand for its foldable phones in SA, with the first imported batch of its flagship Find N2 Flip selling out.

The company says it wants to gain ground in SA’s ‘folding and flipping devices’ market after expanding its flagship smartphone segment locally.

It brought its first foldable smartphone to SA in March.

Weighing about 191g, the Find N2 Flip features a 6.8-inch display screen when open, and a 3.26-inch screen when folded. It is available for a starting cash price of R24 999.

Oppo’s Find N2 Flip.
Oppo’s Find N2 Flip.

During an interview, Bradley Young, head of product, and Avashnee Moodley, head of marketing at Oppo SA, told ITWeb TV the company is looking to increase its 10% market share locally, by catering to a diversified market through a portfolio ranging from entry-level to premium and flagship devices.

While SA’s tightly-contested market is considered “price-sensitive”, Young noted there is a growing appetite for high-end smartphones, as consumers in the premium segment increasingly seek unique features, such as durability, more storage and a longer-lasting battery life.

“We believe South Africans can afford these phones because we brought in a limited batch of our foldable devices and we sold them incredibly quickly. So, yes, the appetite for pricey devices is definitely there. We are hoping to bring in more devices, depending on how the local market is evolving.”

According to Young, South African consumers have been enquiring about other high-end models that have not been introduced to the local market, such as the Find X6 Pro.

Bradley Young, head of product, and Avashnee Moodley, head of marketing at Oppo South Africa.
Bradley Young, head of product, and Avashnee Moodley, head of marketing at Oppo South Africa.

The Find N2 Flip came to the local market as rival smartphone manufacturers Samsung and Huawei ramped up the rollout of their foldable devices.

Oppo has not disclosed the number of foldable phone units it has sold so far in SA; however, it says it has met its target to ship one million phone units within the first three years.

Founded in 2004, Oppo is a subsidiary of Chinese multinational conglomerate BBK Electronics, which also owns the Vivo and OnePlus brands.

The Oppo brand launched in SA at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020.

It is now working hard to increase its 10% market share in SA’s smartphone market, said Moodley.

“Our rapid growth in SA can be attributed to strong partnerships from both a brand and operator perspective, which helped us grow our brand awareness.

“Our strong team of employees have great industry experience – which has contributed to our significant growth, and our offerings are based on our analysis of SA's market and their passion points.”

Moodley added that Oppo has strengthened its strategic collaborations with distribution partners, as well as mobile operators, including Vodacom, Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Rain. This has expanded its reach throughout the country.

Young pointed out that consumers are feature- and specs-focused, especially when purchasing high-end phones. This has seen an increased demand for 5G-enabled phones.

“It's an incredibly competitive market and we have to stay as innovative as we can to remain competitive.

“Although the 5G networks are more focused on the metropolitan areas in South Africa, coverage is expanding fast.

“Consumers are future-proofing themselves with 5G devices that offer the technology of tomorrow, rather than restricting themselves to a 4G device, which has less capability than 4G devices,” he concluded.