Oppo has opened its first research and development centre (R&D) in India in a bid to make deeper inroads into the country’s smartphone market. Located in Hyderabad’s Hitech City, the facility is apparently its largest R&D centre outside China. The company now has four R&D centres across the globe.
The new site currently has 50 people on the development side and another 50 on quality control. The company said it plans to increase the workforce to about 500 in the next three to five years. Oppo’s first R&D centre in India will focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), camera, fast charging tech and 5G.
“We mainly emphasis on deeper consumer insight, based on which we set our direction,” Tasleem Arif, Vice-President and R&D Head, Oppo India told indianexpress.com. Citing the example of Oppo’s new Super VOOC fast-charging technology which supports the charging power to 50W, Arif said it was the hard work of the R&D department that made it possible to introduce such innovate feature before anyone else.
Research & Development is key to the company’s plans to dominate the global smartphone market. Oppo currently has 3000 engineers working at its R&D centres across all locations, and the company plans to invest RMB 10 billion towards the R&D space in the coming year.
Arif said the new R&D centre in India will work on a number of local features that will help improve the experience on its phones. UX is one area where the role of local facility will be crucial. “UX is based on local needs. Now we have four designers for India, who will try to do research around the Indian consumer and soon you will see the next version of ColorOS with all localised inputs,” he explains.
“This new India R&D hub will help Oppo respond to consumer aspirations in India by tapping Indian R&D skill-sets and expertise. The new India-centric innovations could further be potentially introduced in global markets, helping Oppo in maintaining their competitive edge, as well as in attracting new users with their innovations,” said Prabhu Ram, Head- Industry Intelligence Group (IIG) at Cyber Media Research. “We can expect the India mobile handset ecosystem to catalyse further and go up the innovation ladder, with new intellectual property being created.”
With the new local facility, Oppo has become the third smartphone player, after Samsung and Huawei, to have the Research & Development centre in India. OnePlus too plans to setup the R&D centre in India (Oppo and OnePlus share the same parent company, BBK Electronics)
Though it’s unclear if Oppo will use this facility to design its own in-house chipset to power its smartphones, just like Apple, Samsung and Huawei. Right now most Oppo smartphones are powered by either Qualcomm or MediaTek processors. Arif did not disclose if the company has any plan to design mobile chips in-house. Oppo held fifth position in the Indian smartphone market with a share of 6.7 per cent in Q3 2018, according to IDC.
Disclaimer: The writer is in Hyderabad on the invite of Oppo India.