In an email sent to OnePlus staff on Wednesday, CEO Pete Lau announced the company’s plan to merge its team fully with Oppo, while continuing operations as an individual brand.
“We have decided to merge teams with Oppo; OnePlus will become an individually operating brand under Oppo and continue to provide high-quality technology products to our users around the world under the motto ‘never settle’,” Lau said.
The two companies already have an interesting history. Lau worked for Oppo between 1998 and 2013, serving as the General Manager for its blue ray division in 2008 and leading the company to beat tech giants Sony and Denon in the overseas blue ray player market.
He took over Oppo’s smartphone business in 2012 and resigned from the position as Oppo’s Deputy General Manager in 2013. He then co-founded OnePlus with Carl Pei, also the former International Markets Manager of Oppo, the same year.
For eight years, OnePlus has been devoted to developing high-end products with an eye on the online overseas market, while Oppo mainly targeted lower-tier markets in China and Southeast Asia.
Even though public information shows that OPlus Holdings, the investor group that wholly owns Oppo, was also the main stakeholder of OnePlus, and that brands including Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Realme were all under the same tech conglomerate BBK Electronics, Lau used to emphasize that OnePlus and Oppo were rivals in the smartphone industry.
The change towards strategic cooperation might have started last year when Lau went back to serving as the Chief Products Officer for Oppo and took on the role of Senior Vice President for OPlus. There, he oversaw “brand synergy” between OnePlus, Oppo, and Realme.
Earlier this year, the newly-launched OnePlus 9 product line had already forgone its original HydrogenOS system and opted ColorOS – Oppo’s operating system.
Having earned a place in the global premium smartphone market with its flagship phones, OnePlus will now be joining forces with Oppo to expand recourses and opportunities. When it comes to creating more product lines, advancing into more product categories, and constructing the IoT ecosystem, a bigger and stronger platform is believed to be necessary.
“OnePlus is now at a turning point,” Lau acknowledged, expressing hopes for the staff to hold onto the company’s spirit and continue to strive for perfection.
Sources have also revealed that the integration might be a step in preparation for Oppo’s car-making ambitions, with Lau having visited Li Auto in person recently and Oppo’s CEO Tony Chen being rumored to have been in close communication with organizations and professionals in the automobile industry.