China’s OPPO Find X price has been set at €999 as China’s giant expands to Europe and the US later in the summer.

OPPO has built itself into the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the world, relying almost exclusively on sales inside mainland China, but most Westerners have never heard of the brand.

Find X price justified?

The company’s first global phone really needed to be something of a spectacle. The Find X, a €999 smartphone, that has nearly no bezel, no “notch,” and a hidden motorised camera module that buyers will love to show off.

The Find X has inherent compromises, including questions about durability and an extraordinarily high price. However, OPPO could not have picked a better product to launch the brand outside China.

The pop-up mechanism of the camera is striking, but image quality will be constrained by the housing. Adding motorised moving parts to a phone should negatively impact the Find X’s durability, and how do you put a case on it? Battery life and water resistance will suffer as well.

The Find X will be sold in France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. As companies like Huawei and OPPO target Europe with attractive and technically dazzling flagships, competitors must stay on their toes to retain their market position.

Market position for OPPO’s Find X

Apple and Samsung have stronger brands and better distribution, and Apple has its unique interface and ecosystem.

The Find X will not displace Apple and Samsung, but it is potentially ruinous for HTC, Sony, and LG, whose chances of stealing customers away from Apple and Samsung have just shrunk further.

In addition to its unique design and camera module, the Find X has proper flagship specs: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 256GB of storage, a dual rear camera setup, and OPPO’s proprietary VOOC fast recharging.

The 25MP front camera on the Find X is part of a 3D Structured light module. This is similar to Apple’s Face ID, and provides secure face recognition in lieu of a fingerprint reader. OPPO is also offering an even pricier Find X co-branded with Lamborghini.

OPPO global strategy

Using the Find X to enter new markets is a good strategy, but OPPO’s success outside China is far from guaranteed.

OPPO’s formula in China included extensive investment in retail outlets, but it has announced no plans for stores in Europe.

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OPPO has not provided any details at all on how it plans to sell the Find X in North America.

Even if it sorts out distribution, the Find X will be hamstrung by its extraordinarily high price point. While Apple and Samsung have models that can be configured above €1000, they have fully established brands in the West. OPPO does not.

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