Chinese smartphone player OnePlus unveiled its first Research and Development facility in India in Hyderabad on Monday. Coming close on the heels of Amazon setting up its largest campus outside of the US in the city, this is a big thumbs up for Hyderabad. This facility will also make Hyderabad stand out from the crowd as several states in India play host to manufacturing facilities of smartphones. It is also an endorsement of the talent pool and start-up ecosystem in Hyderabad.
“Manufacturing is like shopfloor activity while R&D needs a different kind of skillsets. You need quality technical talent. In this case, OnePlus appreciated the technical skills available in the workforce in Hyderabad,” Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary (Industry) in the Government of Telangana told Filter Kaapi.
It is obvious OnePlus is looking both at the Indian market and use Hyderabad as an innovation centre for the world. In May 2019, it announced that its largest OnePlus store in the world will come up in Hyderabad – a six-storey building built over 16000 square feet. (image below)
This venture of OnePlus comes a year after Oppo set up its R&D facility in Hyderabad. It is a commentary on Oppo’s experience of the journey so far that the company has applied to buy 10 acres of land to set up its campus in the city.
Initially, OnePlus will hire a workforce of around 400 but would look to expand it over a period of time as its vision is to make the Hyderabad centre its largest in the world in three years.
When it formally announced its decision to set up base in Hyderabad last year, a company statement said : “India is not only one of the biggest markets for OnePlus but it is also the benchmark for creating globally successful products. With a growth rate of more than 100 per cent, the country is well on its way to becoming a centre for product innovation.”
“We plan to re-focus our R&D efforts on a large scale and drive innovations in India for the global product, especially on the software side with special emphasis on artificial intelligence and machine learning,” OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau had said then.
The R&D centre was formally inaugurated by KT Rama Rao, the Working president of the TRS. He led the Telangana government’s Industry and IT team in his previous avatar as minister so in that sense, it was a day when he could tick off yet another big investment coming to fruition.
Even as OnePlus seeks to integrate into the Government of India’s `Make in India’ emphasis, the timing has taken many by surprise. The big ticket investments in Telangana have come at a time when the Indian economy is seen to be gasping for breath.
“The downturn in the economy is not an issue for OnePlus or Oppo. That is because, like Amazon, they are developing solutions for a global audience,” says Ranjan.