Swedish-Chinese smartphone founder challenging the US

Carl Pei pictured on stage presenting the 5T model OnePlus smartphone

writer icon Emma Egelund     OnePlus Exclusive   |   Business     🕐 10. Dec. 2018

Seven years ago, the Swedish-Chinese entrepreneur Carl Pei dropped out of the highly acclaimed Stockholm School of Economics. Today he is one of the co-founders of OnePlus, a challenger to smartphone giants Samsung and Apple.

Aiming at the US
In 2017, OnePlus saw their revenues double to more than $1.4 billion. With 2018 came the release of two new smartphone models and the expectation is that they will maintain their high figures.

It has now been reported that Pei is taking the smartphone battle to the US shores. He is relocating to New York and, according to Di Digital, he will run operations from there.

Exponential growth
OnePlus launched in 2013 and is currently one of the fastest growing companies in the world. Now that they are taking the leap into the US market, this growth could further increase with considerable pace.

However, they are far from Apple’s wild sales figures. The smartphone giant reported net sales of $265.6 billion for 2018. 

Nevertheless, there is a wealth of opportunity for OnePlus in the US market. Recent criticism has been levied at Apple for the high price tag on their newest models of smartphone. Pei mentioned in a previous interview with Business Insider, that parts of the new OnePlus 6 were inspired by the iPhone.

“Apple spends a lot of time and energy on quality, design and user experience. That’s what we’re Also striving for”
, he said. However, he also recognised the demand for a lower price for what is still a premium product. Not wanting to compromise on the product quality, Pei claimed that OnePlus have been able to make savings by having minimal marketing and relying on word of mouth and the internet.

It is not about the price tag
Despite acknowledging the competition around price, Pei told Business Insider - “To be low-cost is nothing we strive for”.

He pointed out how in Europe, the average smartphone costs €200, which actually puts OnePlus at the higher end of the market. “There’s a lot of room for growth - especially in Europe where a higher proportion of people can afford flagship phones”, he said.

Security breach in January

OnePlus has not completely avoided any scandal during its lifetime so far. In January 2018, they announced a serious security breach following the attack of one of their systems.

By injecting a malicious script into the code, hackers could access the credit card information of OnePlus users when they were entering their credit card details into a browser. 

OnePlus reported that up to 40 000 users were potentially affected by the attack, which took place between November 2017 and January 2018.

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