See More on Facebook

Analysis, Economics

Smartphone firm OnePlus enters US market

The launch is backed by chipmakers Qualcomm and carrier T-mobile.


Written by

Updated: October 31, 2018

A Chinese smartphone company whose high-end products are little known outside a tech-savvy niche entered the US market on Monday with the backing of two key local allies – chipmaking giant Qualcomm and mobile operator T-Mobile – and no questions from US regulators.

The foray by 5-year-old Shenzhen-based OnePlus comes after US mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon this year backed away from plans to work with China’s Huawei on high-end phones in the face of pressure from the US government, which claims Huawei is a security risk.

The United States also briefly banned companies from selling goods to ZTE.

But the OnePlus alliance, announced at an event on Monday in New York, shows how many US-China business relationships, including those involving the most advanced technologies, are marching ahead despite US-China trade tensions.

T-Mobile said the OnePlus 6T smartphone would launch exclusively at the carrier’s stores on Nov 1 with a starting price of $549, the first time a OnePlus handset has been sold through a US wireless provider, and a deal that the firm’s larger rivals such as Huawei could not pull off.

While some OnePlus models have been on sale in the US through e-commerce websites, carrier relationships like the one with T-Mobile are critical because most US consumers still purchase phones through their carriers.

The partnership will allow OnePlus to sell its smartphones in T-Mobile’s over 5,600 stores in the US, giving it wider access to local consumers, according to the company.

In an interview on Monday, Jon Freier, T-mobile’s executive vice-president of US retail, said the US-China trade battle played no role in this deal and the carrier has not heard from US regulators. “OnePlus has a sterling reputation, and we’ve researched the device and vetted it thoroughly,” Freier said.

Xiaomi, a Chinese rival that also focuses on feature-packed phones at bargain prices, has said it plans to launch in the US next year but did not respond to a request for comment on whether those plans are still in place.

OnePlus is unusual among Chinese tech companies, which typically focus on mass-market products for domestic customers. One-Plus, by contrast, only sells premium phones that cost $400 or more and almost exclusively online except in India. It derives two-thirds of its revenue from outside China and is the top seller of premium smartphones in India.

OnePlus is affiliated with OPPO, a Chinese smartphone-maker and a major force in mid-end phones, which are sold globally and cost about $300. The relationship helps OnePlus keep its costs low, said Canalys analyst Mo Jia.

According to Chinese company registration records, the two companies have common shareholders.

Carl Pei, the 29-year-old founder of OnePlus, shrugged off any concerns that US consumer sentiment would be affected by the China-US trade dispute. “At the end of the day, all you can control is your own product.”

Pei, who was born in China and raised in Sweden, said the brand is cross-cultural and international: “When we started, we saw that through social media, you can talk to everyone around the world, as long as you can speak their language.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


China Daily
About the Author: China Daily covers domestic and world news through nine print editions and digital media worldwide.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Economics

S. Korea grapples with gender discrimination in workplace

Despite it’s high economic developments, critics say that South Korea has to improve workplace equality. South Korea has seen its female employment index improve steadily over the past 10 years, but continues to struggle with gender equality when it comes to parental leave and consequent career breaks, data showed Monday. Unlike in most developed economies which tend to see the employment rate of women in their 40s peak and start declining in the 50s, Korea has seen women in their late 30s and early 40s — the prime age for childbirth and childcare — being pushed out of the labor market. All seven of the so-called 30-50 club count


By The Korea Herald
October 22, 2019

Analysis, Economics

More changes friendly to foreign investors on way in China

China is courting more FDI as their cash reserves run lower. China will roll out more measures friendly to foreign investors, including further removing business restrictions and leveling the playing field for foreign businesses, to foster a more enabling business environment and attract overseas investment. The decision was made on Wednesday at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. Meeting participants decided to open up more areas. Restrictive measures outside the national and FTZ negative lists on foreign investors’ market access will be consolidated. Restrictions will be lifted on the business scope for those foreign-invested banks, securities companies and fund management firms that are already operating in China. Policies on foreign investment in the automobile industry will be refined, including giving equal treatment in market access to domestic and foreig


By China Daily
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Economics

BOK slashes key rate to record-low 1.25%

The government hopes to stimulate a stagnating economy. South Korea’s central bank on Wednesday cut the country’s key interest rate to 1.25 percent, reflecting the sluggish economic growth, low inflation and declining exports. Its second rate cut in three months — to the lowest ever level — is in line with the global trend toward monetary easing. “We have cut the base rate considering the lower-than-expected growth outlook and low inflation,” said Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol in a press conference.The BOK’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Board decided to lower the base rate by 25 basis points from 1.5 percent that it had set three months ago. The move paralleled the US Fed Reserve’s decision last month to lower its key interest rate to the 1.75-2 percent range, down 25 basis points from the previous 2-2.25 percent range. The BOK board cited contractions in trade, sl


By The Korea Herald
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam unveils measures to ease housing crunch

Lam was forced to deliver speech via video after protests. Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced measures aimed at easing a housing shortage on Wednesday (Oct 16) as she battles to restore confidence in her administration and address widespread discontent after four months of mostly violent anti-government protests. Mrs Lam was forced to deliver her speech via video after her annual policy address in the Legislative Council was aborted when some lawmakers repeatedly jeered and shouted at her as she began speaking. After aborting her speech in the chamber tw


By The Straits Times
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Thai labourers face uncertainty over cost of production

The trade war has not left Thailand unaffected. The slowdown in global economy has dampened growth of the support industries in Thailand in its role as a part-producer for foreign investors, with all finished items shipped out to target countries or the parent companies. When investing companies add value to their products and sold at higher prices, Thai producers receive less profits, resulting in low wages for labourers. Production of industrial parts could be easily relocated to other countires, said Chalee Loysong, president of the Confederation of Electronic, Electrical Appliances, Auto and Metal Workers (TEAM). A clear sign of the move emerged when companies started to reduce costs through cutting down on the numbers of both full-time workers and those engaged in outsourced work, he said, adding that the latter are especially prompt to being discarded, given the absen


By The Nation (Thailand)
October 16, 2019