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OnePlus CEO hints at potential merger with Oppo

The independent companies have become more entwined in recent years with “deeper integration” on the horizon

OnePlus may soon merge with fellow Chinese manufacturer Oppo, with key operations set to be integrated together following the success of some lighter collaboration during 2020, its CEO has suggested.

The brand, which has become something of a household name in recent years due to its fledgling smartphone business, was founded in 2013 after its co-founder and CEO Pete Lau left Oppo to start the company.

Although the two entities share the same investors and ownership by BBK Electronics, they've traditionally operated independently. As of three years ago, R&D, finance, sales, and daily operations were handled separately, although OnePlus, at the time, leased Oppo’s manufacturing line, and also shared part of its supply chain resourcesaccording to the Verge.

Lau, however, has now announced a “new journey” for OnePlus that involves his organisation further integrating with Oppo beyond the close ties they already share, according to a post on the OnePlus forums. He's stopped short of describing the new relationship as a formal merger, however.

The OnePlus CEO, himself, took on additional responsibilities with Oppo to oversee product strategy in 2020, while retaining his leadership position at OnePlus. Since then, OnePlus integrated a number of its teams with Oppo's, including its R&D division in January this year, in order to “streamline our operations and capitalise on additional shared resources”. 

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“After seeing positive impact from those changes," Lau said, "we’ve decided to further integrate our organisation with Oppo.

“I’m confident that this change will be positive for our community and our users. With this deeper integration with Oppo, we will have more resources at hand to create even better products for you. It will also allow us to be more efficient, for example, bringing faster and more stable software updates for OnePlus users.”

Lau has also described this move as “a turning point for the future of OnePlus". The two companies, however, will retain their independence, he stressed, and will continue to manufacture goods separately, rather than coming together under a single brand.

Both companies will continue to, for example, make smartphones such as the Oppo Find X3 Pro and OnePlus 9 Pro, as well as headphones and wearables.

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