OnePlus Pete Lau: Internationalization is a Pseudo-Concept
Pete Lau shared the difficulties OnePlus has encountered in expanding abroad during the past four years and what the company has gained.
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2018 marks the fifth year since the founding of OnePlus.
In the past year, OnePlus generated close to 10 billion yuan of revenue. Unlike the volume strategy adopted by most Chinese handset manufacturers, OnePlus only develops flagship models.
It also means that the nearly 10-billion-yuan of revenue was largely based on a single flagship product. The average price for each OnePlus phone is 3,200 yuan, according to data released by Liu during an interview at CES 2018.
It is worth noting how where it generated that 10 billion yuan. Official figures show that the domestic market accounts for only 30 percent of the total, while overseas market revenues account for 70 percent. OnePlus’ overseas business is more than double its domestic.
It took four years for OnePlus to develop from 0 yuan to 10 billion yuan. It was not a smooth process, but with one with highlights and setbacks.
Pete Lau published “How to Reshape Made in China” at Geekpark Innovation Conference 2015. Great changes have taken place in the outside world in past three years. The focus has also shifted from Made in China to Created in China.
At the Geekpark Innovation Conference on January 20, Pete Liu Shared his views for OnePlus in past four years and opinions of Chinese brands developing overseas.
The speech is as follows:
When geeks become the first users…
After releasing its first product in 2014, OnePlus quickly entered the European and American mainstream markets – especially the US. If you don’t work with operators, you have no chance in the US. But OnePlus, a new brand, found its place in the US and achieved what few brands can:
The most selective geeks and developers were our first users. We were first recognized in Silicon Valley, which has more smart people than other places. Our invitation code was recommended by tech elites to each other. From the shipping address, we could see that thousands of Google employees bought our phones. Every time I meet an executive from Google, I am asked, “Why does our staff pay several hundred dollars to buy a OnePlus mobile phone when they can get a Google phone for free?”
But having geeks as your first users is very challenging.
I can share one story about OnePlus 2. At that time, OnePlus was the first phone to use a USB Type-C charging port in the industry. One day, after a series of tests, a hardware engineer at Google Pixel told tell us the OnePlus phone USB Type-C cable and adapters can be used in the handset, but some non-standard resistors could damage the USB accessories.
I saw it on the Internet and immediately forwarded it to our development team. Their first reaction was that it was impossible and that the engineer didn’t know enough about our phone. Then, one week later, when I found the issue was still being debated online, I asked the OnePlus development staff whether the engineer was right. This time, my development colleague was “embarrassed” to tell me they were wrong. So we quickly made up for the mistake and produced according to the fix.
Why do I give this example? This reflects our brand attribute. Many users are experts in fields from all over the world, and some are more professional than our engineers. But they all like our products and recommend OnePlus to their friends.
It is very difficult to spread by word of mouth, and OnePlus is quite proud of doing so. If we can satisfy this group of users, I believe we serve anyone.
Internationalization is a Pseudo-Concept.
To some extent, OnePlus is seen as a Chinese brand that is just good at overseas development Many people ask me to share the secret of our phone’s “internationalization.”
But when it comes to internationalization, I personally think it’s a pseudo-concept.
The brand or product you develop should not be specifically for one country or region. It should always be geared to the needs of the world. Companies like Google and Facebook never categorize themselves as internationalized companies.
OnePlus never deliberately pursued internationalization. From the very beginning, we wanted to make a product for the world. For us, there is no domestic first and then overseas.
Admittedly, that internationalization is a topic is due to how most Chinese brands still have two major challenges when developing overseas: one is the credibility, and the other is brand influence.
Three Key Points to Gain Respect Overseas
It is not difficult to solve these two problems.
First, keep building world-class products. Since establishment, OnePlus has been insisting on building world-class products with unified international standards. What is the international standard? Good products can transcend geography, race and culture.
For example, many people think designs should have strong regional differences. I told you that we also took this question to New York and Shanghai to study design models when we were doing OnePlus 3. We found the results in the two cities were completely consistent.
It’s about good products, not borders. This is why I often tell the team you have to require international standards. Most users’ needs are common, no matter where they come from. For example, everyone likes a nice product and a simple and efficient user experience.
But good products are not enough. Making a product with an international standard is the first step to becoming an enterprise with an impact and value output.
Sony and Toyota not only changed the image of Made in Japan, but also brought Japan’s originality and craftsmanship to the world. They still exert their influence now.
Although more and more Chinese products are sold overseas, few Chinese companies have succeeded in the second step. It is very important to keep good faith while building influence.
OnePlus decision to force people outside Chinsto line up for their phones, has been questioned as hiring people to line up. But what I want to tell you is that there isn’t paid ‘water army’, nor can dare to hire them. Because once someone finds out, your brand will never have any chance.
Finally, I want to talk about self-confidence. In fact, self-confidence is a kind of belief, about what you insist on. If you believe that good products will succeed, you will be confident and won’t be eager for quick success and instant benefits.
Trust your own judgment, believe in the truth, and time will tell. Moreover, only by being self-confident and being yourself can Chinese enterprises truly bring dream to the world, rather than just watch the world and follow their trend.
Any Choice and Persistence Should Follow the Original Intention
I know that there are a lot of entrepreneurs in the audience today, and there are always many choices for enterprises.
OnePlus didn’t figure everything out at the very beginning, and we slowly explored it. OnePlus though didn’t develop handsets lower than one thousand yuan, but tried the mid-end flagship of more than one thousand yuan, which is the result of the temptation of the outside world.
Also in the last year, when the team saw our ranked second in the high-end market in India, they wanted to develop mid-end handset again as it is a good chance and OnePlus has brand influence. In the end, I reject the project. The team don’t understand, but it is rejected by me.
As a CEO, most of the time, no one can make decision for you, or tell you how to choose.
Most times, the decisions are made in line with objective laws, rational yield the original idea. I denied the project of mid-end handset because my original idea is to do the best android flagship. The goal is very simple and very focused.
Whether you can or not, the truth is there. What is truth? It is to do good product, to keep the original heart, and to adhere to good faith. It is very simple value.