Oppo commands a strong image among the youth as a selfie-centric brand; its latest device, F11 Pro, is the new rage with a new 48MP Ultra-clear camera system, a rising camera, and a panoramic screen, providing a great user experience. The company has also opened its research and development (R&D) centre in Hyderabad. The Hyderabad centre—the company’s first R&D facility in India—will work towards gaining deeper insights about Indian consumers and market, and thereby help in building India-centric innovations and customized product offerings. Will Yang, brand director, Oppo India and Tasleem Arif, R&D head and vice-president, Oppo India, speak to
Sudhir Chowdhary about the company’s current business strategy and R&D focus. Excerpts:
Oppo has been talking a lot about Artificial Intelligence in its smartphones, does the consumer really know how to make the best use of this technology?
Yang: Oppo has always focused on growth and innovation. If you recall, in 2017, we brought in the first AI beauty technology feature in a smartphone. In 2018, we came out with the AI Beauty 2.0 feature which was another ground-breaking technology for our consumers, taking a step ahead in the world of AI technology.
We strongly believe that every technology has a certain time to be introduced and that depends on market and consumer readiness. I think AI in a smartphone is an addition and typically, Indians take some time to absorb it (this kind of addition). Our AI technology was actually put to use by our consumers and has enabled them to simplify their lives. This is just the beginning and we will keep investing in the AI sphere to enhance the user experience.
Arif: When we talk about AI, it depends on the sampling of data, but the Indian consumer is different and from here, we have tried to optimize the perfect AI to capture the perfect pictures. These are the algorithms that are differentiating us from other brands. Oppo is known as the ‘Selfie Expert’. People can connect with that story and they know that it is just not the hardware but also the software. The AI that we are working on is really giving that perfect picture.
Are you satisfied with the growth trajectory of the company in India?
Yang: Oppo has been present in India since 2015 and the journey has been wonderful. As per the recent reports, we are among the top five smartphone brands in India. We made some good announcements, in the beginning, keeping in mind the consumer insights. Our product strategy has been based on three key focus areas: design, photography innovation and fast charge technology. These three pillars are salient for us throughout the globe. In India, we started out with a focus on photography, especially selfie technology for youthful consumers. Our Selfie Expert
F series has been appreciated for its camera technology. In the last one year, our R&D team has worked towards better understanding demands of Indian consumer needs.
Our latest device, F11 Pro, is the new rage with a new 48MP Ultra-clear camera system, a rising camera, and a panoramic screen, providing users a great user experience. In this device, we shifted our focus from the front to the rear camera. While we are keeping the selfie camera as the primary focus, we have done our bit to enhance the rear camera as well. Based on consumer insights, our strong focus on selfies has been the right choice.
Can you tell us more about Oppo’s research and development (R&D) operations in the country?
Arif: The India R&D centre, situated in Hyderabad, is the fourth facility globally and the largest outside China. Oppo has always attached great importance to R&D in cutting-edge technology and will build upon its global focus on the space through the centre in India. Since
Oppo is a global company, we have big commitment to the India market. We want to invest more in India R&D to improve the product and consumer experience. Whether it is manufacturing, R&D or marketing, we have a long-time deep commitment to the Indian market, we want to stay here with continuous innovation.―Financial Express