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How OnePlus Could Pose a Threat to Apple in Emerging Markets

OnePlus, the “Never Settle” company is set to become a real iPhone threat for the foreseeable future.

The Shenzhen-based brand is a tiny company compared to Apple not only in market capitalization value but also in age.

To put that into context, OnePlus and Apple have been around for 5 and 42 years, respectively. In terms of market capitalization, Apple has recently become the first U.S. publicly-traded company to hit $1 trillion (not anymore).

Wait a minute, what all these numbers have to do with OnePlus being a real treat for iPhone?

Let me elaborate.

With the time being around, Apple has built a powerful brand and has enough money to virtually compete against any smartphone maker.

But, how could OnePlus become a threat in the future?

Here are a few compelling theories.

Competition in China and India

OnePlus is best known for selling flagship smartphones at an affordable price. That’s the only way for the Chinese company to enter an already saturated smartphone market dominated by big players like Apple and Samsung.

They don’t want to repeat the same mistake Essential did with the Essential Phone PH-1, which failed big time mainly because of the price point. OnePlus is doing amazing in China and India, which the majority of the population cannot afford the pricey iPhone.

On the other hand, the Cupertino company is facing tight competition in a saturated flagship smartphone market, with stagnant growth rates and increase competition, especially in China and India.

As of this writing, Apple is struggling in China. The company is losing market share to Oppo, Huawei, and Xiaomi, which their products are cheaper and improved dramatically in recent years.

Affordable Price

When you’re a newcomer to the smartphone business, you need to have something that will catch people’s attention. That’s exactly what OnePlus did. The company makes premium smartphones at about half the price of its competitors. For example, the latest OnePlus smartphone, the OnePlus 6T, is selling at just $549 for the base model.

Now that OnePlus got people’s attention with the price, the company also makes sure its products are worth the attention. OnePlus phones are a beauty on the outside and a beast on the inside. They have a sleek modern design that people already fell in love with and a performance that the geeks crave.

In fact, OnePlus is inspired by HTC, Samsung, and Apple with its smartphone designs. There’s no debate on that. The OnePlus 5 looks exactly the same as the iPhone 7, design-wise speaking.

U.S Smartphone Market Share

Because of privacy and security concerns, the U.S government warned its employees to not use Chinese smartphones especially Huawei and ZTE. That was a red flag for those companies to enter the U.S market. But that’s not the case for OnePlus. Last November, the Chinese company was able to strike a deal with T-Mobile to exclusively sell the OnePlus 6T.

That’s a big win for OnePlus to finally sell its handsets through a U.S. wireless provider. It’s worth noting that people were already buying some OnePlus models through e-commerce websites though. But most people buy their smartphones through their carriers, which makes OnePlus’s partnership with T-Mobile a big deal.

As a result of this partnership, the OnePlus has sold 249% more OnePlus 6T than OnePlus 6 in the U.S. Further, the OnePlus phone sales will continue to grow and potentially take a significant piece of the U.S market share.

Apple’s Failure With Budget iPhones

Let’s face it. Budget iPhone is not Apple’s thing. For years, the smartphone maker has struggled to sell low-cost iPhones.

The company tried it with the iPhone 5C, and it was a failure. They tried it again with the iPhone SE, which could have been a success in the long run. But unfortunately, it was canceled to make way for the iPhone XR, which is Apple’s biggest nightmare.

Apple’s business strategy was always to target premium customers. It’s no surprise the company is losing market share to OnePlus when it comes to selling budget iPhones.

Wrap Up

If you take a closer look, OnePlus is winning big in all aspects mentioned above, which are critical to any smartphone company’s marketing strategy.

Of course, Apple won’t sit around, watch OnePlus posing a threat to their business and do nothing about it. Only time will tell how this situation will play out.

But one thing is sure, Apple needs to come up with new marketing strategies. Because iPhone users keep their iPhones longer and the American tech juggernaut still can’t find a way to perform well in emerging markets like China, India, Brasil, and Russia.

Now over to you.

Should Apple worry about OnePlus? Will OnePlus give tough competition to the iPhone? Drop us a line, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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