Business, Mobile Computing, Rumors, VR World

Can We Trust OnePlus, Who is Really Behind Them? OPPO?

OPPO's OnePlus Logo OnePlus Logo

OnePlus has a new phone that the entire internet has been talking about, which happens to share the same name as HTC’s flagship phone, the One. So, we have the OnePlus One and the HTC One, okay, a little problematic, but nothing too serious since the two brand names usually come before the model name. OnePlus have been billing themselves as an upstart smartphone company, some of which were formerly with OPPO. Funny enough, if you abbreviate OnePlus One, it almost says OPPO but that just seems a bit ridiculous until you look at when the company was founded and when all of the trademarks were filed and by whom. That also goes for a ton of other things which really make OnePlus look like a subsidiary of OPPO, which isn’t really a bad thing until you realize how OnePlus had denied their ownership by OPPO and only claimed them to be a ‘partner’ in manufacturing.

The OnePlus brand was originally announced on December 17th, 2013, however a lot of the applications and trademarks came more than a month before the company supposedly existed. At that time, they hadn’t announced their product or even talked much about what they were doing, yet they were already paying lawyers to file for their trademarks globally. What’s even more confusing is the sheer amount of corporations involved in OnePlus and OPPO and how many shell companies appear to be used to operate these two companies. OnePlus has offices in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen, which is to be expected of any serious tech company in China, but they also have multiple holding companies for their websites and offices. In Hong Kong, they are owned by ONEPLUS TECH LIMITED and in Shenzhen they go by SHENZHEN ONEPLUS SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. But… if you go back and look at the WHOIS for you can see an archived version before OnePlus technically existed and their trademarks hadn’t been filed yet. There it clearly shows was owned by OPPO and registered by OPPO employees. But it gets better, according to documents obtained by OPPO is 100% owner of all the shares of OnePlus, making them a wholly owned subsidiary of OPPO, pulling the wool over our eyes.

Plus, there are a few other factors that cast doubt upon OnePlus and who’s exactly backing them. If the company was founded in December, how were they able to design and manufacture a phone with the fastest chip from Qualcomm (highest bin of Snapdragon 801) for less money than virtually all other manufacturers? Sure, it is a newer phone, but it isn’t really that much newer than the HTC One M8 or Galaxy S5, yet they are able to put the best bin of the Snapdragon 801 into a $299 phone, essentially half the price of the HTC One M8 and the Galaxy S5. Not to mention the fact that OnePlus launched that campaign where they offered to give OnePlus phones to people that crushed their old phones for $1, except some people were stupid and actually crushed their phones before actually getting selected for the promotion. The entire promotion actually gained OnePlus a lot of attention and they ‘suddenly’ succumbed to pressure about ewaste and instead offered to take the phones and donate them towards charity instead.

But this doesn’t change the fact that they’ve effectively built a phone from December until April, which is virtually unheard of from any major smartphone manufacturer for a high-end global device, even HTC or Samsung. Sure, development times for smartphones are getting shorter and shorter, but to start as a new company in December and have a finished phone by April seems nearly impossible. Once you take that into consideration you also have to think about how they were able to get the components and supply chain in place to be able to do it for $299. They wouldn’t be able to secure such components or favorable pricing unless they were considered a major smartphone manufacturer already, it just isn’t possible. So, clearly, someone bigger than OnePlus is involved, and I’m not even sure OPPO is big enough to be able to manage that kind of pull with suppliers. But there might be a bigger entity than OPPO or OnePlus that could…

But things actually get much more interesting, because OPPO is actually owned by BBK electronics, which is the manufacturer of Memorex and Philco brands of electronics in addition to ODM and OEM hardware for various companies, including OPPO. If that link isn’t strong enough, the CEO of OPPO Russia is also an employee of BBK, twice over. And unsurprisingly, BBK also makes mobile products, in addition to OPPO making their own. BBK was founded in 1995, and according to these documents, is a state-owned company. Even though, BBK’s own site says that their ‘group of companies’ was founded in 1998, which would still make sense if it means when all of the BBK companies were combined. However, Forbes confirms the 1995 foundation date as well, even though the address appears to be out of date. In fact, in our searches, we found that BBK had multiple (2 or 3) addresses in Hong Kong and the same number in the Guangdong area. They are an absolutely enormous company and to think that OnePlus is merely a speck in their vast empire is not much of an exaggeration. OnePlus is a brand of OPPO, which is a brand of BBK and remember that when listening to their marketing.