OPPO’s 2016 Autumn Flagship Models: R9S and R9S Plus

Counterpoint attended OPPO’s autumn flagship model press conference in Shanghai on October 19th. The two models launched are OPPO R9s and R9s Plus, a successor of its hit model OPPO R9 and R9 Plus. The two models are very similar in terms of design, but OPPO has made various improvements in terms of specs in OPPO R9s and OPPO R9s Plus.OPPO’s products are well received in the market because of its continuous development in core technologies. OPPO’s most famous technology is its VOOC flash charging technology. Its campaign slogan of “charge for 5 minutes and talk for 2 hours” are well known among Chinese consumers. OPPO R9s and R9s Plus will continue to feature the flash charging function and have a longer battery life than OPPO R9.

However, the biggest highlight of OPPO R9s is its improvement in camera function. OPPO R9s is equipped with a 16-megapixel SONY IMX 398 camera sensor jointly developed with SONY, f/1.7 aperture, dual-core focus, OIS, and LED flash. An additional 16-megapixel front shooter is also placed for selfies, a popular feature among young people.  Partnering with Sony, OPPO seeks to help users capture better images with more clarity and brightness, especially in the evening.  OPPO R9s Plus’s camera also comes with the optical anti-shaking function to better capture moving moments. As of Sep 2016, OPPO has 1,116 patents in photo shooting technologies. Superior camera feature has become the new selling point for OPPO’s new models and OPPO has even adopted a new marketing campaign slogan, “this moment is more clear”.

Other key features of R9s and R9s Plus include:

  • The Breakthrough of putting three 0.3mm antenna lines instead of the traditional 1.5mm-2mm antenna lines. OPPO showed that this new design will improve the outlook of the phone but not affect the signals.
  • OPPO R9s and R9s Plus screens are upgraded with Corning’s 5th generation glass protection. It is said to be able to withstand a 1.6 meter drop without breaking the screen.
  • OPPO has upgraded its ColorOS 3.0 to create a safer OS for its users. ColorOS currently has more than 100mn users and creating a safe OS is crucial in an increasingly more complex internet environment. The upgraded system can filter out spam and fraud messages, recognize unknown numbers, block ads and prevent unnecessary charges from 3rd party apps. The OS also features a user-friendly function to move contents from your old phone to your new phone, making changing phones easier.

A month from OPPO’s R9s release, OPPO R9s has received good feedbacks from customers and was one of the top selling models on Tmall on Singles’ Day.  In addition to its focus on developing core technologies, OPPO’s success is also attributed to its strong offline channels, investment in marketing as well as a low-profile company culture.

  • OPPO’s strong offline channel network, inherited from BBK times, has helped OPPO gained market shares rapidly, especially in 3rd and 4th tier cities. OPPO built its initial success based on its vast offline network, having more than 200,000 networks across China. We are also witnessing OPPO expanding into online channels. OPPO’s sales grew 400% from last year on JD’s platform during the Singles’ Day Festival.
  • OPPO invested heavily in marketing. It has enlisted the most popular stars to be its spokesperson and sponsored various entertainment events. OPPO’s ads can be seen in every corner.
  • In a competitive smartphone market, OPPO has a low-profile company culture where it does not emphasize its market ranking internally and instead focuses on manufacturing quality products with good user experience.

It surprised the media when Counterpoint estimated that OPPO has surpassed Huawei for the first time and ranked No.1 in shipment in China in Q3. We think that OPPO’s success was the result of good high quality products from the company and the growing importance of offline channels and product innovation in China, areas where OPPO has been the strongest.

With Samsung and Apple’s weakness in China we think Oppo will continue to have a leadership position in China. The only threats will be from Huawei and Vivo until the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8 come next year.