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OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has announced a “new journey” for the company including a plan to “further integrate our organization with Oppo.” Lau made the announcement by way of a post on OnePlus’ forums, saying “we’re at a turning point for the future of OnePlus” and “we must adapt as a team and a brand.”
It sounds like a dramatic move for OnePlus, the company Lau started with Carl Pei after ostensibly leaving Oppo in 2013. OnePlus made its name with rebellious marketing and hype-driven online retail strategies, portraying itself as a smarter alternative to bigger smartphone brands.
But it remained a private company with ownership tied up in Oppo and the shadowy BBK Electronics empire, and it was clear from OnePlus’ phones that there were still at least some ties to Oppo. Components like display panels were often seemingly identical, and even supposedly proprietary technology like the Dash fast-charging system was cross-compatible with Oppo’s.
“OnePlus and Oppo are two completely independent companies,” a OnePlus representative told me three years ago by way of explanation. “R&D, finance, sales channels, daily operations, etc operate independently. The two parties share some common investors. OnePlus leases Oppo’s manufacturing line and shares part of the supply chain resources with Oppo.”
Lau says that OnePlus will continue to operate independently, despite the further integration with Oppo. But he hasn’t said exactly what would be integrated, and given the existing commonalities between the two brands’ products, it’s not obvious what this will actually mean for consumers. Lau says OnePlus will continue to operate its own events and customer feedback channels, for example, but adds that Oppo’s greater resources should help OnePlus be more efficient with software updates.