The current dispute between Huawei and the US government gives OPPO a very good reason to start working on its custom mobile processor. OPPO is the second largest smartphone brand in China, only next to Huawei.
OPPO developing its own mobile processor
According to OPPO's Vice President Liu Bo, the company will have to take this approach even though it's not that easy to launch its own chips. He further said, "We have to tackle the chip technology and make it a crucial driving force for our future growth."
OPPO will work with established suppliers to design and develop custom chips for its smartphones. The company currently works with all the major chip makers including Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Samsung. However, there is no confirmation of its partners in developing OPPO's custom mobile processor.
Recent reports suggested the company has hired several top executives and engineers from MediaTek to work on the project. MediaTek is the second largest chipmaker in the world and also a major supplier to OPPO.
The custom chips will be developed in collaboration with its suppliers
With Huawei's ongoing saga with the US government, it can no longer work with Taiwan-based TSMC to develop new Kirin chipsets. Basically, Huawei can't work with any company that uses the US technology without getting a license. OPPO is also looking to hire talent from Huawei's semiconductor unit HiSilicon.
Compared to the existing mobile processors available in the marker, the custom ones will be more costlier to produce. However, this strategy will help the company to differentiate its products. If the US-China trade war gets even more intense, it could also become self-dependent.
The top 3 global smartphone brands are already designing their own chips. Apart from Samsung, the other brands use foundry service providers like TSMC and GlobalFoundries to produce the chips designed by their in-house teams.
Even OPPO has to work with these companies to manufacture its own chips. OPPO is also slowly expanding its portfolio of devices. Recently, it entered the wearable market by launching the OPPO Band and OPPO Watch in China.
The company also teased that it would soon launch its first ever smart TV. It is also eyeing Huawei's market share in Europe. Last month, OPPO announced its partnership with Vodafone for selling its smartphones in Europe.