Today OnePlus is an increasingly important smartphone maker with carrier partnerships and a lineup of products at various price points, but it all started with the OnePlus One and an obnoxious hype campaign. OnePlus has always shared some resources with Oppo, which is part of the same Chinese parent company. However, the line between Oppo and OnePlus is all but dissolving today with the announcement of a merger.
The news comes by way of a forum post by OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, who founded the company with Carl Pei. Last year, Pei left the company to start Nothing, a company that currently makes, you guessed it, nothing. Lau says that Oppo and OnePlus have been integrating more over the past year, ever since he was named as Oppo’s chief product officer in May 2020. “After seeing positive impact from those changes, we’ve decided to further integrate our organization with Oppo,” wrote Lau.
Both companies are part of the BBK Electronics family, a Chinese megafirm that includes other brands like Vivo, iQOO, Realme, and more. Taken together, all of BBK’s subsidiaries make it the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Now, it appears that OnePlus will move down a rung. It’s no longer separate from Oppo and will instead operate as a sub-brand. Lau promises this change will mean more resources for OP, leading to faster, more stable software updates.
While OnePlus is now under the Oppo umbrella, it will continue operating independently. Lau says it will still launch its own products. Although, many OnePlus phones are based on nearly identical Oppo and Realme hardware for the Chinese market. If anything, this change means there will be more similarities between Oppo and OP devices. You’ll still get that trademark OnePlus snark, though. Lau says the new Oppo subsidiary will continue interacting with its community of dedicated users.
This organizational change comes as OnePlus continues its expansion into the US market with products like the OnePlus 9 and Nord N200 5G. The OnePlus 9 launch was perhaps a bit weaker than the company expected with most reviews lukewarm at best. The company’s new OnePlus Watch, on the other hand, was widely panned due to buggy, incomplete software. It’s possible the tighter integration with Oppo will help prevent failures like the OnePlus Watch, but I can also envision ways it could get worse. Time will tell.