Pete Lau is the co-founder and CEO of the popular and well-loved smartphone brand, OnePlus. The OnePlus 6T brought striking new technologies and design to a phone that costs much less than the flagship phones from Samsung or Apple. The challenger brand stands out in an industry that is highly saturated with fierce competition and believes that 5G technology is the future of the industry and its own opportunity to become the market leader.
What was the ambition behind starting OnePlus?
Back in 2013, before we launched OnePlus, we had heard so many voices and seen so many products floating on the market. It was a competitive market, but we also realized the imperfection of the market and knew it could be better. That was, I believe, how “Never Settle” philosophy was born. We wanted to create a brand to challenge the status quo and to provide a product to be adored by consumers globally. I came from a product background, and I am always driven by great products and user experience. We believe technology should serve people not the other way around. Since the inception, we have been aiming at creating a more beautiful and higher quality product and focusing on providing the best experience to our users.
You have a strong and loyal community user base already – a marketer’s dream. Why do they love you so much?
First, it’s our endless pursuit of great quality. We never settle for simply being good. At OnePlus, the one question that we always ask to ourselves is how to make our product better and closer to perfection.
Second, we put our community users first. In fact, they are the center of our brand. There wouldn’t be a brand called OnePlus if we didn’t have these community users. At OnePlus, we listen to our users very closely and take them very seriously. Not only do we listen to them, we also take actions quickly and engage with them deeply. All in all, we are here because of our community users.
You have had great international success in markets such as India, and Northern Europe. What do you attribute that global success to?
Once again, our strong community users are located at every market where we operate across the globe. Not only do these community users provide strong support to our brand and products, but help us understand what every local market really needs.
In addition to our strong and engaging community user base, our brand and product strategy is designed to be global yet we also localize our strategy based on every market’s need and characteristics. So that no matter where our users are, they can all feel the true connection with our products.
I always say that we are a global company, but a truly successful global company should be successful in every local market. That said, we develop our products on a global level but tailor to every local market.
OnePlus prides itself on an exquisitely designed product, how would you describe your overall product design philosophy?
The smartphone has become such a daily necessity for most of people nowadays. As a smartphone company, we always think about what our users really need from us and our products.
At OnePlus, our design philosophy is not trying hard to differentiate ourselves from others nor deliberately pursue the exaggeration of the external form. The meaning of our “burdenless” philosophy is meansrespecting what a product means to a person’s life, rather than tacking on additional elements just for the sake of hype. Because you want a product to serve you and not the other way around, a burdenless design should perfectly serve the function of the product.
In a world where customer expectation moves faster than business decisions and choice is exponential, how do brands like OnePlus maintain relevant?
For us, relevance is more about our connection with our users. We don’t want to blindly follow the latest trends for the sake of being “relevant” and being “trendy.” We want to focus on the products to make the connection with our users, as the product is the king.
Also, like I mentioned above, we always listen and understand what our users really need. Engage with them. Treat them seriously and like your friends and family.