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OPPO signs up Vodafone for European expansion

Chinese smartphone vendor has partnered with pan-European telco Vodafone to offer its full-range of 4G and 5G devices.

As part of the agreement, Vodafone will become an OPPO partner in Germany, UK, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and the Netherlands. The Chinese smartphone brand has been very successful in its domestic market, though international ventures have been slightly more muted.

Leaning on Vodafone’s credibility and operations is one way to add some momentum to global ambitions, though as this is not an exclusive deal, OPPO is also free to work with rivals. The Chinese smartphone vendor could be eating its cake and having it too.

“OPPO is confident that our industry-leading products and technologies will enable Vodafone to win new opportunities in the 5G era,” said Alen Wu, OPPO’s President of Global Sales.

“Vodafone’s vision that ‘we connect for a better future’ aligns with OPPO’s value of ‘Benfen’ – to do the right thing and provide real value to customers. OPPO looks forward to solidifying a long-term win-win relationship with Vodafone to create a better future for our customers in the 5G era.”

Although there might be telcos around Europe which offer a market-leading position in their home markets, few can offer the breadth and depth Vodafone can offer.

Vodafone European presence
Market Subscribers (thousands) Market share
Germany 30,052 22.2%
Italy 19,245 19.8%
UK 18,042 18.5%
Spain 13,843 16.4%
Ireland 2,004 35.1%
Portugal 4,682 26.5%
Romania 9,296 34.7%
Greece 4,476 26.6%
Czech Republic 3,990 24.9%
Hungary 3,127 26.8%
Albania 1,618 42.3%
Malta 302 49.1%

Sources: Vodafone Investor Relations and Omdia World Information Series

This is the power of Vodafone. It might not be the most successful companies in the individual markets, but the sheer size of its European footprint is unrivalled. Let’s not forget what the objective of OPPO will be; exposure far and wide. Vodafone offers credibility and sales channels in numerous markets, though only a few will be included in the deal to start.

While Huawei has stolen headlines (positive and negative) over the last few years, it is always worth remembering there are other smartphone brands emerging from the country which are fighting for market share. Xiaomi is one which has proven successful, though OPPO, VIVO and OnePlus are just a few more which could make a splash in foreign waters.

According to estimates from IDC, OPPO has been successful in the international markets but growth has somewhat stagnated in recent quarters. During the final quarter of 2019, shipments accounted for 8.3% market share, though OPPO has fluctuated between 7.4% and 8.9% for the last few years. This is a successful business, but a catalyst might be needed to take it up a notch.


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