Oppo gains ground in SA’s smartphone market

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 21 Dec 2021
The Oppo Find N foldable smartphone is still to launch in the South African market.
The Oppo Find N foldable smartphone is still to launch in the South African market.

Just over a year after launching in the South African market, Chinese smartphone brand Oppo is gaining market share.

So said Liam Faurie, head of go-to-market and operations for Oppo South Africa, in an interview with ITWeb.

The interview followed Oppo last week hosting its annual Innoday event, which saw the Chinese smartphone maker make huge global announcements on its latest technology innovations that will become available to the local consumer, including a rollable smartphone, as early as the first quarter of 2022.

According to Fourie, Oppo now has a 10% market share in South Africa’s post-paid smartphone market.

“Since we launched in South Africa a year ago, the year has gone by very quickly. The Oppo brand launched in SA in October last year,” says Fourie.

“From 1 January this year, we sold about 246 000 Oppo smartphones. That puts us at about 10% of the market share within the post-paid market. We see our devices selling mostly in the contract market in the branded operator stores like Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C.

“That’s really where we focus our business on, and we have really broken through this year and achieved some amazing results all due to strong team work and good partners from all our operators and retailers.

“The 10% market share has put us in the top four smartphone brand in South Africa. We have seen South Africans really adopt the Oppo brand very well.”

Fourie also points out that the company has created massive employment opportunities in the local market.

“We have provided jobs for over 600 people – that’s the direct jobs that we have created. We also have support staff that has assisted us during this time,” he says.

Nonetheless, he acknowledges the fierce competition in SA smartphone market.

According to Statista, in June 2021, Samsung was the market leader with 45.28% of the market share of mobile device vendors in South Africa. Huawei ranked second, with almost 29%, followed by Apple with 16% of the market share.

Says Fourie: “The competition in this industry has always been very fierce. There are many brands that fight for the pie, and the pie is so big. So, we respect our competitors as Oppo. That’s one of our big company cultures but we remain focused on our goal. It’s like when you are driving very fast on a highway; you don’t really have time to look sideways to look at what’s happening around you. You need to stay focused.

“We respect our competitors – they need to do what they need to do; and we will also do what we need to do. The likes of Samsung and Huawei are already ahead of us and we would want to get there at the end of the day. Our goals are what they have achieved already; so at the end of the day, we have the respect for them but we would also want to chase them.”

Liam Faurie, head of market entry and operations at Oppo SA.
Liam Faurie, head of market entry and operations at Oppo SA.

However, Fourie points out that the company is still to bring its flagship devices to the South African market.

“We haven’t really brought the Oppo flagship phone, which is the Oppo Find X series as well the Oppo Find N series into the South African market yet. We are introducing our brand step by step focusing on the Reno series that is affordable but with flagship-like features.”

To grow the brand in SA, Fourie says: “We have to continue investing into the market. We will continue to invest in our team because if you don’t have the right team, you won’t be able to execute your strategy.”

Talking about the Innoday, Fourie notes that there were several announcements made by the Chinese-based company.

These include the Oppo Air Glass, which the company dubs a groundbreaking aR (assisted Reality) device – which is equipped with Oppo self-developed Spark Micro Projector, Micro LED, and a bespoke diffraction optical waveguide display which supports four different user interactions through touch, voice, head movement, and hand motion, allowing users to have faster and easier access to the information they need.

“One of the big announcements that we, as Oppo, are very proud of is finally seeing the Air Glasses finally come to life in a consumer-friendly way. It’s practical and it’s something that can be worn in everyday life.

“We also saw the unfolding of the Oppo Find N – Oppo’s foldable smartphone. It’s amazing how they crammed the technology in such a small form factor. We also saw Oppo announce its neural processing unit.”