Oppo stays ‘committed’ to Europe despite sales suspension in Germany

Chinese smartphone titan Oppo will keep Germany as its main operational hub for its European business despite recently withdrawing sales from the country, Billy Zhang, the firm’s vice president of overseas sales and services, told media on Monday.

Oppo halted sales in Germany this month after losing a patent lawsuit to the Finnish telecoms giant Nokia, which alleged that Oppo’s use of certain 4G and 5G signaling technologies had infringed on its patents.

OnePlus, which was folded into Oppo as a sub-brand last year, has also suspended sales in Germany.

Realme, a young phone brand associated with the Chinese electronics behemoth BBK, which is also credited for spawning Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus, said it is “closely monitoring the situation” of Oppo’s patent challenges in Germany, Madhav Sheth, president of Realme’s international business group, said on a press call in early August.

Germany is a popular regional base for Chinese tech companies’ Europe expedition. Huawei’s European head office is in Düsseldorf. Autonomous driving unicorn Momenta picked Stuttgart as its first overseas stop to be close to its automaking partners.

Back in 2020, Oppo opened its European headquarters in Düsseldorf.

“Our long-term commitment to the European and German markets stays the same,” Zhang said on the call. “There isn’t an impact on our choice of office location, and the German office, where our European hub is located, will operate as usual.”

The smartphone maker accounted for 5% of Europe’s smartphone shipments in the second quarter, putting it in fourth place, according to research firm Counterpoint. Oppo is able to keep serving its existing customers in Germany, Zhang reassured, though some products have been put on hold over Oppo-owned channels in the country.

Though Oppo isn’t shaking up its German office, it’s making broader changes across the continent. Starting in August, the company will integrate certain resources from Central and Eastern Europe with those of Western Europe, Zhang said.

Such internal reorg can potentially cut costs and comes as no surprise amid global economic headwinds. Smartphone shipments worldwide fell 9% in Q2, according to research from Canalys, with Oppo and its rivals Xiaomi and Vivo posting double-digit declines in their home market, China.

It remains to be seen how the rivalry plays out between China’s smartphone darlings overseas. Realme has rapidly grown its piece of the pie in Europe, finishing Q2 in the fifth place by shipment volume.

“We have big aspirations in Europe for sure. We will continue to grow, and we would like to be in the top three or five in a lot of countries,” said Sheth.

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