The COVID-19 is tragically wreaking havoc throughout everyone’s life. While we should all be focusing on everyone’s health and well being, both physically and mentally, we thought it would be interesting to hear from OPPO about how the COVID-19 is affecting them, both now and going forwards.

We sent a few questions to friend of Ausdroid, Michael Tran, OPPO Australia’s MD and now also the Director of Global Marketing and Brand Strategy at OPPO (yes, he’s definitely going places) and he was very forthright with his answers giving us an insight into the thoughts of a top 6 smartphone manufacturer.

Ausdroid: With COVID-19 changing the way we live at the moment we were wondering how it was affecting a device manufacturer such as OPPO? Will it affect sales in the long run?
Michael Tran, OPPO:OPPO is carefully and continually assessing the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on both the company and the industry, to take appropriate measures to protect the health of our consumers and employees.

While a situation as unprecedented as COVID-19 is difficult to forecast, we have seen little change to date in sales volume compared to the same period last year. In China for example, although offline sales decreased, our online sales in February increased around 50% when compared to the previous year. We remain confident in our ability as a global manufacturer to meet the sales demands of our customers.

Will it change the way OPPO think about manufacturing phones etc?
I believe this once-in-a-century event has impacted almost every industry and business across the globe in one way or another, challenging the status quo of how they operate. OPPO is no different. As a business, we assess and adapt as necessary to maintain the safe working environment our employees are accustomed to and to continue to provide the premium quality products our customers love.

What I would add is that unlike some manufacturers, all [our] manufacturing is done in-house, so we’re less reliant on third parties when it comes to making business critical manufacturing decisions.

Do you think COVID-19 will make components more scarce and thus more expensive? ie. Will phones and other devices become more expensive?
That’s probably a better question for those manufacturers. What I can say is that OPPO is an innovative and adaptable industry leader. As such we are committed to staying true to our brand and delivering our users with premium devices at competitive and affordable price points now and in the future.

Have the OPPO factories been closed and are they open again (I’m seeing reports of business as usual for the Chinese now)? What steps do OPPO take to look after the safety of their employees? ie. Are they all screened for temperature at the door etc?
At present, OPPO’s Chinese factories have gradually resumed production from February 10 in accordance with relevant government instructions. Prioritising the safety of our staff and customers, along with the quality of our products and services, OPPO has implemented a number of additional measures in the wake of COVID-19. As a global brand with a local approach, these measures include the likes of complying with governing jurisdiction’s legislations around retail stores and factories, updated staff policies around personal protective equipment (PPE), on-site body temperature measures and frequent disinfectant procedures.

Has the lockdown and virus impacted plans for future releases? Slowed R&D into new technologies such as in-display cameras?
Production for our Find X2 series and 2020 H1 releases has already commenced and can meet the needs of our global customer base.

OPPO has six research institutes and four R&D centres across the world and a R&D team of more than 10,000. More than half of the existing business units are directly related to cutting-edge technologies such as AI and IoT. OPPO remains committed to its plan of investing over AU$12billion in R&D over the next three years.

Do you see any long-term ramifications of COVID-19 on the mobile industry? Is it possible that as people move towards mobile computing even more with work from home and anywhere aside from a place of business, will 5G development be sped up even more?
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we’re seeing people become increasingly dependent on their portable devices such as smartphones and laptops. This includes both the user expectations of the device itself but also the network reliability and speed. As such, we expect to see the demand for 5G connectivity and compatible devices to continue to grow and take centre stage.

Do OPPO have any strategies they can share to help them rebound from the pandemic?
While there is no handbook for global pandemic recovery, we believe the best rebound strategy is compliance and unity. Complying with the relevant governing bodies to prioritise the safety of customers, staff and the wider community, while working towards a unified goal to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties.

Adaptation is key

As OPPO have stated above they are looking to adapt to this new world and are fortunate that a lot of their business is online. As we are seeing in Australia many businesses are pivoting and moving their businesses online in this time of social isolation and distancing. OPPO are mostly already there so it is not a huge imposition for them to switch their entire business online while continuing to maintain the safety of their employees.

You would expect that this current pandemic is a minor setback for the mobile industry with the main players able to withstand a few bad months and get back on the horse as soon as it is over (hopefully soon). What is also hopeful is that all of us will have a job to go to at the end of all this and be able to participate as consumers in the mobile market ourselves.

Above all out there, to our extended Ausdroid family, please look after yourselves and others and we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and well.