With India emerging as its biggest market by contributing nearly one-third of its revenues, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has announced bigger plans for the country.

Besides investing ₹1,000 crore in a new research and development (R&D) centre in Hyderabad, the company is expanding its Noida plant to export its current models to the United States and European Union markets from India.

Pete Lau, founder and Chief Executive Officer of OnePlus, responded positively to a request made by former Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao to visit a few locations that can be considered for manufacturing its phones. “He (Rama Rao) asked us to visit the city. We will come in a month,” he said. Lau was in the city in connection with the inauguration of the company’s first R&D centre in India, and its sixth globally, at Gachibowli. Kicked off with 200 employees, the centre will have 1,500 employees in the next three years.

KT Rama Rao and Telangana IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan inaugurated the facility today. “In three years, we plan to grow the centre here our biggest globally. The facility will focus on software development, 5G, networking, automation, artificial intelligence, and modifications to the Oxygen Operating System,” added Pete.

A team would focus on customising the phone-camera to suit the needs of its Indian customers. “We are setting up a 5G lab with an outlay of ₹100 crore,” he said.

Premium segment

Vikas Agarwal, General Manager of OnePlus India, said that the country’s premium segment was underserved for long. “Within five years of launching our sales, we emerged as a top player in the premium segment with a share of 43 per cent, followed by Samsung with 22 per cent,” he said.

The firm sees a huge potential for the premium phones in smaller cities. India is the biggest market for the company by contributing nearly half of the 70 per cent of sales that it generate from global markets.

Of the 1,500 employees that the company is planning to hire, about 25-40 per cent would be from IITs and NITs.