Update (September 2): Added clarification from Realme
Pete Lau who started OnePlus to offer premium flagship smartphones at an affordable price has agreed to join Oppo once again in the capacity of a senior vice president and chief product experience officer at OPLUS. In this new profile, he will be responsible for brand synergy and corporate business.
For those who’re unaware, OPLUS is a majority shareholder in all three companies i.e. Oppo, OnePlus and Realme. It wholly owns Oppo apart from a 74% stake in OnePlus and is a majority holder in Realme too.
Lau had worked with OPPO for over a decade before starting OnePlus with Carl Pei in 2013. Time and again both the founders have called OnePlus is an independent brand with Oppo as only a primary investor. However, closer ties between both the companies have appeared as both share the supply chain and manufacturing facilities.
Soon after the announcement, Realme India shared a statement with TechRadar: "Pete is newly designated as SVP of OPLUS, taking care of part of the corporation business. This doesn’t mean that he is leading relevant business in all brands. Please note his new designation has nothing to do with Realme. Oppo, Realme and OnePlus share a common investment, which is mainly related to certain supply resources. Furthermore, Realme is operating independently in its full capacity and takes 100% ownership of its product portfolio and R&D."
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Similarly, even Realme, another offshoot from Oppo, that started a couple of years back and prefers calling itself an independent brand. However, like OnePlus, even Realme is closely linked with Oppo and shares various resources with Oppo. It remains to be seen if the shuffling has any direct impact on the products from either of the brands.
To add a twist to the tale, Oppo is a subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate called BBK Electronics. And BBK also has another leg of subsidiary brands that have Vivo and its offshoot iQoo in it. Technically, BBK controls all 5 brands including Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, Realme and iQoo.
Contradicting the popular theory, Lau claims that OPLUS and BBK are separate and are not connected in any way. With a lot of mystery shrouding around OPLUS’s existence, Lau’s claims only add to the immense confusion.
What happens to OnePlus?
According to a statement to Android Authority, OnePlus has clarified that “Pete remains committed to his role as CEO of OnePlus. At the same time, he has also taken on the role of SVP and chief product experience officer for OPLUS, contributing to product and planning development.”
With OnePlus announcing Nord and is rumoured to come up with another budget line of phones, the company may need its CEO un-distracted focus. Only time will tell how much effort the new role demands from Lau and if he can perform his OnePlus duties efficiently.
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Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.