Five Minutes With... Kevin Cho
Chinese smartphone giant Oppo has big plans for the UK market. As the country reopens in earnest, we caught up with Oppo’s UK GM Kevin Cho to talk about the company’s strategy for differentiating itself in a post-pandemic Britain.
What are OPPO's plans for the UK market in 2021/2022?
Crucially, we’ve made a number of really strong partnerships with brands we associate with being the best of British. Last month, we were the smartphone sponsor for Wimbledon, which we couldn’t be more excited about.
What’s more, our ambition is to be the leading smartphone provider in the UK, delivering innovative, creative and high-speed devices for everyone.
After all, the UK is one of the most important markets for us; it is highly mature, very diversified and we know that consumers here have high expectations of their smartphone and wearable devices. We’re confident we can deliver on those expectations.
How are you differentiating yourself from established competitors like Apple, Samsung, and your sibling companies like realme and Vivo?
We definitely see ourselves as a unique company in terms of what we offer and to whom we offer it.
Our biggest differentiator is our continued innovation and creative drive. One such example is our Find X3 Pro, the 10-bit billion colour display delivers 64 times more colours than a traditional 8-bit display is capable of.
How would you characterise the pace of the UK's 5G rollout so far? Is the market mature enough?
Despite fears that the rollout of 5G in the UK would be delayed – or just not possible altogether due to the adverse economic conditions brought about by COVID-19 – the prospects are truly bright for the UK’s 5G industry for the rest of the year and beyond.
With O2 and Vodafone, two network partners we work with closely on our smartphone launches, announcing a deal to create more efficient blocks of 5G spectrum earlier this year, the UK’s 5G development is certainly picking up the pace.
What 5G applications did the pandemic throw into the spotlight? What place do things like virtual sporting events have in a post-pandemic world?
Unequivocally, 5G will upend the ways in which consumers watch and attend music and sporting events this year and next. For starters, its major benefit – increased capacity – will decrease the number of spikes in connectivity so those interruptions that happened during the Euros final or the Ashes are reduced. Instead, it’ll put consumers right at the heart of an event alongside the athletes without the risk of interruption.
Then there’s 5G low latency. This will support the explosion of VR, AR and IoT devices across the board – all of which have already begun to change the way we watch sport, buy furniture online and even choose a hair style at the hairdressers.
Do you have any predictions for the UK smartphone market as a whole over the coming year?
5G enables us to bring the technologies of the future – from VR and AI through to IoT – to life now in the form of our smartphones and smart devices.
The science fiction dreams of, for example, immersive shopping online and cloud gaming could all become a reality as part of our latest devices.
At OPPO, for instance, we want to provide our customers with the whole gamut in a single device – regardless of which product they choose. Consumers should be able to call, work, and train for the gym from their smartwatch, tablet or smartphone – we want to facilitate it and make these kinds of activities the norm over the coming year.