After emerging as the country’s top smartphone brand in the premium category, Chinese player OnePlus is all set to move its global services base to India, shutting down offices in the Philippines and other regions.
The move will more than double the company’s employee count in India and would lay the ground for its first R&D facility outside China.
“India is the biggest market for us not just in terms of current sales but also from a potential opportunity perspective. We already have more than 40 per cent share of the premium smartphone market here. Going forward, India will become a service hub for the global market,” Vikas Agarwal, General Manager India, OnePlus, told BusinessLine .
OnePlus, which has 85 employees in India currently, is rapidly scaling up its operations, moving its services operations from the Philippines to India, and hiring another 80 people for the division. These new employees will only cater to Indian queries.
Making India its second headquarters will bring major changes to OnePlus’ India operations: the company will also have an India-specific corporate structure.
OnePlus is one of the few Chinese brands that are more popular in India than in the home market. It recently surpassing Apple and Samsung by a huge margin to become the largest premium smartphone brand in the country, growing at over 400 per cent year-on-year. In comparison, the Chinese smartphone market has been declining for the fourth consecutive quarter, pushing not just OnePlus, but all other major Chinese players to look to India for growth.
“So far India has always been a small regional office, a primarily sales and branding office. We didn’t even have regular corporate functions like administration, human resources, finance, and product testing. All this was centrally managed by our headquarters in China. But if you want to grow fast, you need to have a local corporate structure to support the growth,” said Agarwal.
“Second, with this, we’ll have decentralised decision-making...we’ll have better processes, better systems and better risk management,” he added.
Being accorded a second headquarters tag will also give the India market higher priorities to global resources, which currently are prioritised towards the US and Europe, both virgin growth markets for OnePlus. “India is the only market to get offline marketing investments. Similarly, in terms of stock, India will get a full stock of devices,” Agarwal said.
He said that OnePlus is also on the look-out for an office space to set up its R&D centre in India. “The centre will most likely be in a tech city in the South. We are looking at Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad as possible options,” the OnePlus GM said.