OnePlus: A Chinese Tech Start-up Aiming to Disrupt the Global Smartphone Market

This case is a Winner of the 2015 Global Contest for the “Best China-focused Cases”, co-organized by the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Shanghai MBA Case Development and Sharing Platform and The Global Platform of China Cases.



Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

Abstract

This case is about the meteoric rise of OnePlus, a Shenzen-based technology startup gained attention globally for its high-end budget smartphones sold directly to consumers online through an innovative invite system.

Founded in 2013 by former OPPO executives Pete Lau and Carl Pei, OnePlus was one of the fastest growing Chinese startups that made a mark globally in a very little time with its sleek devices, killer price tags and by-invite exclusivity. The company positioned itself between low-cost smartphone companies like Xiaomi and high-end makers like Apple and Samsung and significantly undercut them on price, despite closely matching them on features. Right from the outset OnePlus promoted itself as a global company with a global mindset. The challenge before founders Pete Lau and Carl Pei were how to sustain lower prices, make profits and achieve international success going forward.

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Issues

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Evaluate the business model of OnePlus and understand the factors that contributed to the success of OnePlus.
  • Examine the competitive strategy adopted by OnePlus.
  • Examine the global first strategy of OnePlus.
  • Understand the threats faced by Chinese start-ups like OnePlus in the global smartphone sector.
  • Identify the challenges faced by OnePlus in the intensely competitive Chinese as well as global smartphone market and explore strategies that the company might adopt to sustain itself in these markets.

Contents
INTRODUCTION
THE BEGINNING
GAINING MOMENTUM
BUSINESS MODEL OF ONEPLUS
GLOBAL FIRST STRATEGY
MARKETING
INITIAL RESULTS
CHALLENGES
THE ROAD AHEAD
EXHIBITS

Keywords

Entrepreneurship; Start-up phase; Scalable start-ups; Business model; The business model canvas; Four box framework; Business Model; Innovation; Competition; Hypercompetition; Competitive strategy; Hybrid Strategy; International management; Globalization strategy

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