Oppo, OnePlus, Realme… the rumors surrounding a departure from France for these three brands have been piling up since the start of 2023. Every week, new bad news falls, to the point that it can be difficult to follow everything. We summarize the case for you.
What are these carabistouilles? Why is everyone talking about Oppo and OnePlus leaving France? Is it founded? If you haven’t followed the case, this article will try to summarize everything for you. We start with the basic question: why is everyone saying that Oppo is going to leave?
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Who is Oppo?
Oppo is a smartphone brand based in China. In France, it had recently acquired the status of 4th brand on the market and CssTricks recognized a certain talent in it, as evidenced by our award for the best smartphone of the year 2022 for the Oppo Find X5 Pro. In early 2022, readers of CssTricks judged in a survey that it was a great brand. In short, the future seemed set for Oppo to become an important brand in the landscape.
Why Oppo risks leaving France?
Two main causes can be mentioned. The first is quite simply the economic crisis that the smartphone sector is going through. The second is an ongoing lawsuit with Nokia.
We begin with the crisis in the sector. Globally, sales of all manufacturers fell by 11% in 2022. Oppo in particular, saw its sales fall by around 22% according to the analysis firm Canalys. What partly explains Oppo’s desire to press the brake, especially since Europe is a market known to be difficult. Chinese manufacturers go there mainly for reasons of prestige and brand image, even before seeking to earn their living there.
Why is Nokia involved in this case?
Second reason for this sudden panic: Oppo is struggling with Nokia in court. Without going into too much detail, Nokia is attacking Oppo for using patents concerning 4G and 5G. The two brands have once agreed on a tariff for the use of these patents, but they can no longer find common ground. Except that Oppo would still use these patents.
To convince you of the seriousness of the case, it suffices to note that in Germany, the case ended in a ban on sales following the decision of a German court. Oppo has appealed the decision, but it is very difficult to maintain a business without being able to continue producing revenue. In each European country, including France, courts would be seized by Nokia for the same case. The fear being that the same causes lead to the same consequences.
Faced with these two immense challenges, Oppo would therefore have decided to press the brake pedal to avoid the pileup.
What are the signs that Oppo is about to leave France?
So much for the probable causes of a departure. Despite all this, when the case broke in the press at the end of March 2023, with several tweets claiming that the manufacturer was about to leave, Oppo denied it in its entirety. Here is their message sent to CssTricks at the time:
“OPPO and OnePlus maintain their commitments in all European markets in which they are present. We’ve had a great start to 2023 with successful launches of several products in Europe and we have a range of products to come for the rest of the year. As always, OPPO and OnePlus will continue to provide more innovative products and the best service for users. »
Normally, we could have stopped at the brand’s press release. But various rumors were going back to our ears even before the first tweets. In addition, former employees of an Oppo contractor, Atmospheres, contacted us, launching an investigation on our part on the subject. Their role was to boost in-store sales. However, these employees had either been on technical unemployment for several months, or had moved on to other missions unrelated to Oppo.
Some have comforted us in the idea of a shipwreck, like this testimony from a salesman who explains the last months of his mission:
“We understood that they are leaving, because we were no longer trained on new products. We see the Find X coming out in China, oh no, it’s not coming out in France. We see the Renos arriving, will they be released in France? Neither. When the Find N2 Flip arrives, we are told of a store release, and then finally no, it is only available on the site. »
During the month of April, when we collected these testimonials, many employees of Oppo, but also of OnePlus, a brand placed under the bosom of the same group, changed their LinkedIn status to “Open to work” or announced their departure. In May, two other bad news tumble: the director of the French branch of the group announces his departure and the online store of Oppo closes. In short, Oppo’s communication may affirm that everything works, the signals are red and no one is fooled anymore.
Realme on the other hand still has a store, but this one is the special kind. We had two scenarios: either it is impossible to buy a product, the site proposes to notify us in the event of restocking, or we find links with ill-proportioned logos inviting us to go to a retailer, Fnac and Amazon for example.
“Our top priority is to continue to provide excellent service to our existing users in France, as always. Users can continue to use Oppo products, access after-sales service, receive future OS updates, etc. Nothing changes for end users. »
The statement couldn’t be clearer. Whatever happens, the brand is indisputably committed here.
OnePlus for its part, wrote us a message of the same ilk:
“OnePlus is attached to France and continues its activities there. As always, our users can continue to enjoy OnePlus products, receive software updates and access after-sales service. »
If I have a problem, is the after-sales service of Oppo, OnePlus and Realme still reliable?
The subject of after-sales service (SAV) is a little more complex. Contractually, when you buy your phone, the seller is required to provide a two-year legal guarantee of conformity. A priori, in the event of a problem over this period, the seller should be able to offer you a refund or replacement of the product. No worries about that.
Oppo has even gone further and offered a three-year manufacturer’s warranty on certain ranges, such as the Oppo Reno 8 range. According to our information, Oppo goes through 100% France-based partners. Let’s hope that if the French branch were to go out of business tomorrow, Oppo would be able to continue to provide this service. On this we have no guarantee.
On the Realme side, be careful with the after-sales service. Asked about the subject, the brand referred us to a partner, CEAT, currently in receivership proceedings as we learn. France Blue. The Dijon commercial court is expected to rule on the fate of the company on July 3.
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