OPPO wants to make South Africa Reno country

Last week OPPO South Africa held a launch event for its latest flagship smartphones – the Reno10 series.

The smartphones are set to serve as the phone maker’s priority devices for SA between now and the end of the year, as the company is also set to celebrate its third local anniversary in September, ever since first launching its phones officially in late 2020.

To gain a bit more insight into what the Reno10 series will offer, as well as what the Reno series means for OPPO in terms of growing its local presence, we sat down the Liam Fourie, head of Go-To Market and Operations at OPPO South Africa.

Here’s what he shared.

Fourie on stage for the local launch of the OPPO Reno10 series.

Hypertext: Today’s launch is quite different to that of the Find N2 Flip. Is the Reno10 series OPPO South Africa’s flagship phone for the rest of 2023?

Liam Fourie: Correct. The flip phone we brought at the start of the year for us [OPPO] was a test.

We needed to see, because it was OPPO’s first generation, so that in itself was a test, and we needed to see in South Africa whether we can actually sell such a premium phone, so it was limited quantities that came in.

The good news is that we sold out. We sold out quite quickly, so the test was successful, both to the market and the price point. I was expecting a bit more challenge around the price point, but now our team has a lot more confidence.

I think that’s the most important thing.

Our strategy, however, for South Africa has always been Reno. We really want to focus on this Reno range because we think it is such a great lineup of phones.

Hypertext: You mentioned the Find N2 Flip was a resounding success. Any other interesting feedback from local consumers regarding the foldable?

LF: I think the resounding feedback we actually got was, where can I get it?

While the response to the device in the market was very positive, and you saw for yourself, the final feedback came to us asking where can I get more?

Operators tried to place more orders with us, but it was simply unfortunate that we were not able to.

Hypertext: For the launch of the Reno10 series, OPPO has chosen to launch the Pro+ in July and the regular 10 in August. Why was this approach taken?

LF: For us it’s about focusing on the Pro+.

Thinking about the market dynamics and ultimately the team that will be selling these devices, we did not want to burden them with too many devices and keep them focused initially on the higher end of the two.

That’s going to be our strategy for the this series, focusing on the Pro+, and making sure that our team is very confident about this premium product.

If consumers say the Pro+ is a little outside their budget, then sale becomes easier, as we can direct them to the regular Reno10.

Hypertext: Interesting. What does that mean for last year’s device, the Reno8, as it’s still relatively new?

LF: The Reno8 Pro is currently at a crazy price, and has great value too. Also if you buy the Reno8 in selected channels, you get a free A series phone with it.

Plus you’re going to see some more specials coming for the Reno8.

Our objective is to continue with the Reno8 series as well.

Hypertext: When OPPO launched in South Africa nearly three years ago, Vodacom was a key partner in terms of making new devices available? Does it still remain a key partner and how has that channel ecosystem evolved?

LF: Vodacom is still a key partner, and as you know, has a high share in the local market, but no carrier partner is more special than the other.

We regard all five carrier partners as important, and for us, they have been instrumental to the OPPO brand in South Africa.

Hypertext: What does the rest of 2023 hold in store for OPPO?

LF: The rest of the year is jam packed for us.

You saw at the start of the year we did not launch many phones. We had the new A78 5G in February, followed by the Find N2 Flip in April, and that was pretty much it.

Now we’re starting, and have plenty scheduled between now and the end of year, with lots of new phones coming.

Hypertext: Sticking with new phones, what is the significance of 5G support on devices in SA. Will it be a key feature on OPPO devices that land locally?

LF: Definitely. OPPO’s core in terms of technology and innovation sit in 5G, imaging, charging, and cameras.

Those will always be our key pillars on devices, and something we will always focus on.

We are partnering with our local operators. They are obviously wanting to migrate people over to 5G, and want to partner with them and help drive their strategy as it makes sense for us, as our users are experiencing the full capabilities of our devices thanks to 5G.

It’s at the core of strategy and that’s why OPPO is a top three 5G brand in South Africa.

Hypertext: Lastly, when it comes to first-party accessories and availability in SA, what strides is OPPO making?

LF: In terms of the accessories that we’ve brought into South Africa, we have the Ecno wireless earphones, and we launched the Air 2 Pro alongside the Find N2 Flip. We’ve got a couple of wearables too, and some more of these types of devices on our roadmap.

We work with our local distributors to bring in cases, but right now we’re struggling to bring in OPPO original cases for a number of factors, such as having minimum order requirements.

We are, however, testing out bringing more clear cases into the country, like with the Find N2 Flip. It was a good test for us, so we are definitely showing the signs to our distribution partners that we are keen on getting into the accessories space and offer our consumers more choice.


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