After trying to compete in the premium smartphone segment with Apple’s iPhone, phone maker Oppo is cutting around 20% of staff in key software and device teams after it merged operations with affiliate OnePlus, the first major consolidation in a Chinese mobile industry struggling with chip shortages triggered by the response to COVID-19.
Oppo, which in 2016 became the country’s top-selling brand, is retrenching after expanding too rapidly on the hiring front in recent years and attacking a premium segment dominated by Apple Inc., people familiar with the matter said. The cuts affect important units including a team that customizes Android into its in-house ColorOS, and an Internet of Things division that develops a spectrum of wearables such as smartwatches and earbuds, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.
Forays into adjacent arenas also haven’t worked out. After several years, Oppo’s share of the global smartwatch market remains under 1%, while it accounts for a mere 1.7% of earwear shipments, IDC analyst Bryan Ma estimated.
“The company is spread thin across several fronts, attacking the premium market, making big regional bets and moving into wearables,” said Tarun Pathak, research director at Counterpoint. “The cuts are probably as much about cost savings as it is a change in tack around strategy.”
MacDailyNews Take: iPhone roadkill.
If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.