For Shenzhen-headquartered OnePlus, India is a more important market than China. That explains why the premium smartphone maker has selected Bengaluru for its first-ever physical store. CNBC-TV18 report this store is just the tip of the iceberg where OnePlus is concerned.
The idea behind this 14,000 square feet space is simple: the average Indian loves to touch-and-feel a product before committing to it, so make it happen.
This first such store will allow potential customers to play with different smartphones. But there's a catch. Only accessories and fan merchandise will go on sale at these stores the phones themselves will still have to be bought online
“We experiment right, so with our offline store as well, currently we only sell accessories but once we feel like we have got the hang of it. We are not completely ruling out having phones available here, but it’s just not there in the near future,” says Carl Pei, co-founder, OnePlus.
“For us, India is one of our most important markets along with North America and Europe so we are among the top 3 brands in the premium segment, so we see a great potential for OnePlus in India,” says Vikas Agarwal, GM - India, OnePlus.
OnePlus' decision to partner with Foxconn to locally manufacture the oneplus-3 devices was in keeping with this strategy and now, it says it wants to tap into India's technology pool for research and development.
Pei says, “We are not ruling out opening an R&D center in Bengaluru. It is after all the tech capital of India. We even had a small team test out our recently rolled out voLTE support on oxygenos in collaboration with Reliance Jio.”
Experts say the move is not surprising, because as counterpoint research points out, Chinese brands account for half of India's smartphone market in which OnePlus enjoys a 1 percent market share and a bigger India presence will help in increasing this share of the pie.