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China's most popular smartphone maker Oppo arrives in Aotearoa

Oppo, China’s most popular smartphone company, has come to Aotearoa. Could the market be about to be disrupted more than ever before?

Never heard of Oppo? You’re not alone – at least outside of China. But before you write them off as some knock-off electronics brand, consider this: the company sells more smartphones in China, the world’s largest smartphone market, than anyone else. It beats Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and everyone – and had sales growth of more than 120 percent last year.

The takeaway: it may just be the largest company you’ve never heard of.

But that’s about to change, as Oppo has come to New Zealand.

The company, owned by Dongguan-based BKK Electronics, held an intimate launch event at Auckland’s TomTom bar & Eatery on Monday evening. And while the lavishly catered event – which featured appearances by the likes of TV personality Colin Mathura-Jeffree, was small, the company’s ambitions are not.

“New Zealand is a natural step,” says Oppo New Zealand marketing director Kuan Li. “Our company philosophy is simple: make great products.”

Internationally, Oppo makes a variety of products, including mobile phones and accessories, Blu-ray players and personal audio products that are known for their durability. It is currently the world’s fourth largest smartphone brand by market.

“We’re excited to be launching our smartphones in New Zealand,” says Li. “We think that New Zealanders are going to appreciate how our phones stand up to the rigors of life in Aotearoa. We launched in Australia in 2014, and within two years we were in the top tier of smartphone brands in the nation. Oppo’s innovations such as state-of-art mobile photography, VOOC Flash Charge technology and impressive design are winning over global customers. We’re confident more and more New Zealanders will realise that you can get a premium phone at a reasonable price.”  

Although Oppo is releasing just three models to start with, Li says the company could carve a niche in the mid-range market. The company’s most-hyped model, the R9s, will retail for $699. For that price, consumers will get 16-megapixel front and rear facing cameras, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of built-in storage, a 5.5-inch FHD screen, and ultra-fast charging (from zero to 75 percent in just 30 minutes). “The quality is good, but the price is more affordable,” says Li.

And the goal for New Zealand? To become the third most-popular brand in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

For its launch Oppo is partnering with 2degrees, as well as a retail partnership with JB Hi-Fi. “We’re really looking forward to offering Oppo in New Zealand for the first time and I think people are really going to love the range,” says 2degrees chief marketing officer Roy Ong. “Oppo makes high quality, high value mobiles that can be enjoyed without having to drop $1,000, which I think is definitely going to attract attention – the R9s especially. Like 2degrees, Oppo is about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible so it’s great to be working with another challenger brand.”

Li adds that although Oppo is a Chinese company, its phones should fit in well with the Kiwi lifestyle. “The three mobile devices we’re launching with were chosen because they fit the Kiwi lifestyle,” he says. “The R9s brings premium design and performance without the price tag, the F1s is made for selfies and night shots, and the A39’s battery life is perfect for New Zealanders whether they’re living in the suburbs of Auckland or in rural Otago.”

Oppo's New Zealand launch lineup

R9s

The R9s, delivers greater camera features and improved technologies to provide consumers with an exceptional all-around photography experience. Its stylish design also boasts 16MP front and rear facing cameras, and VOOC Flash Charge technology.  

Key features:

  • 16MP front and rear camera
  • 4GB RAM and 64GB built-in storage
  • 5.5inch FHD screen
  • VOOC Flash Charge, 0-75% in 30 mins
  • 0.2s flash touch access

Price: $699

F1s

The F1s comes with a 16MP front camera and 13MP rear camera, and beautification features to help take perfect selfies. The F1s also features a 3075 mAh battery that gives consumers over a full day’s use. It features 3GB RAM, 32GB storage and ColorOS 3.0, delivering a fast and elegant user experience along with plenty of storage space for photos.

Key features:

  • 16MP front camera
  • 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage
  • Fingerprint security
  • Full metal body
  • 5.5 inch HD screen

Price: $449

A39

The A39 features a 5.2-inch 720P HD IPS 2.5D curved glass display making it easy on the eyes. It is powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core processor, paired with 3GB of RAM for seamless multitasking. The A39 also sports a 13MP primary camera with LED flash, F2.2, and a 5MP front-facing camera with F2.4 for selfies and video chats. It comes with 32GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to 256GB via microSD card.

Key features:

  • 13MP rear camera
  • 5.2inch HD screen
  • 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage

Price: $349