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.



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INTRODUCTION

OnePlus, a Shenzhen, China-based technology start-up sold 1.5 million units of its first flagship smartphone, OnePlus One, globally within first year of its launch. The numbers took many by surprise considering the company was new to the market with limited investment, lack of brand awareness, meagre marketing budget and stiff competition in the crowded global smartphone market. Despite the odds, OnePlus emerged as the most successful Chinese start-up after Xiaomi Inc (Xiaomi) due to its low-cost smartphones offering high-end specifications sold directly to consumers globally through an innovative invite system.

According to industry experts, OnePlus was a path-breaking company set out to achieve what no other Chinese company has ever done in the global smartphone market. “One Plus basically is making everyone in the smartphone business look foolish at the moment. A lot of the far-bigger companies have been complaining they can’t compete with Apple, while One Plus appears to be doing just fine against the firm -- and far better than Samsung or HTC at the moment. This is because One Plus has found the magical trifecta of exclusivity, attractive price, and compelling differentiated features to be the perfect toxic mix to offset Apple’s massive size and market dominance,” remarked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group Inc...

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