Will Oppo be forced to desert the French market? The Chinese smartphone maker, world number four with more than 10% market share, could pack up following a legal dispute between it and Nokia over the use of patents relating to 4G and 5G signals.
The litigation dates back a year. In June 2022, when these patents were renewed, Oppo refused to pay the royalties demanded by the Finnish equipment manufacturer, the amount of which it found unjustified. In the absence of an agreement with Nokia, the Munich court ruled in favor of the latter, forcing Oppo to withdraw its smartphones from the German market, as well as those of its other brand OnePlus.
At the time, Oppo made the following statement: As the owner of numerous 5G patents, Oppo values the role of intellectual property in innovation. We are used to establishing cross-licensing agreements with many leading companies […]. The day after Oppo and Nokia’s 4G contract expired, Nokia immediately took legal action after demanding unreasonably high renewal fees. »
History seems to repeat itself in France where the Chinese brand could also become persona non grata. A court decision is expected on July 6 at the Paris court according to Challenges. For the economic media, Oppo would not want to reproduce the same scenario as in Germany and its sudden withdrawal.
Anticipating the movement, the manufacturer would have already stopped supplying the point-of-sale networks. Operators and distributors would find themselves faced with unpaid bills. According to a former employee quoted by Challenges, “the dozens of employees in France” would not have been informed of this withdrawal from the French market.
On June 1, the head of Oppo for France announced on LinkedIn that he was leaving his post. Former Huawei, Honor and Xiaomi, Yan Liu indicates in his post to have recently been confronted with “an unexpected situation, a blow that is beyond our control. This ordeal was difficult both on a business and human level. »
Official sponsor of Roland Garros
On May 31, the French site of Oppo momentarily disappeared from radar according to Frandroid. Since then, it has been restored and we even find the latest model in the catalog, the Find N2 Flip, a foldable smartphone previously reserved for the Chinese market.
At the time of purchase, affiliated stores such as Amazon or Fnac, however, report limited stocks or stock shortages on certain models. Frandroid also evokes a sudden cessation of commercial animation at physical points of sale.
While Oppo is currently a premium partner of Roland Garros, the Chinese manufacturer has invested heavily in sponsorship and communication in France to establish its notoriety against the heavyweights Samsung and Apple. He notably secured the services of the singers Gims and Vitaa, the footballer Presnel Kimpembe or the tennis player Gaël Monfils to promote his models.
Beyond these legal concerns, the collapse of the mobile market has also been able to dampen Oppo’s desire to conquer Europe, even if the brand is weathering the crisis better than its competitors. On an overall drop in global sales of 11% in 2022, it shows a decline of “only” 6.7%.