Oppo and OnePlus forced to deny they are pulling out of Europe after exit rumours

The OnePlus 11 arrived in February  (OnePlus)
The OnePlus 11 arrived in February (OnePlus)

Smartphone makers Oppo and OnePlus have rejected a report that they are poised to halt sales in the UK, France and the Netherlands after previously pulling out of Germany.

Earlier on Monday, rumours had suggested the companies were stopping sales of their devices in parts of Europe. Both brands are owned by a Chinese conglomerate called BBK Electronics Corporation, which is also the parent company of Realme. However, they said they are committed to Europe and the UK, and will continue to operate in the region.

OnePlus told the Evening Standard: “OnePlus will not exit from Europe and the UK and maintains stable operations in local markets. OnePlus will continue to invest in Europe and provide more innovative product and solutions for its users.”

Oppo said it “is committed to all the existing European markets. We had a great start in 2023 with the successful launches of several products in Europe and have a line-up of upcoming products for the rest of the year”.

The company added: “As always, Oppo will continue to provide more innovative products and the best-in-class service for users moving forward.”

Leaker Max Jambor had tweeted on Monday morning: “I can confirm: OPPO and OnePlus are pulling out of Europe. First to leave are Germany, UK, France and Netherlands,” Jambor later added “right now only the countries listed will close down. Not Europe entirely”.

Both Oppo and OnePlus halted sales in Germany last August after losing a patent lawsuit to Finnish telecoms company Nokia. Nokia had accused the companies of using its patented tech for processing 4G and 5G signals without paying for a licence. It won an injunction to halt sales of the two brands in a German court.

At the time, Oppo said it was committed to the European markets and would locate its European hub away from Germany.

OnePlus, which is known for making flagship Android phones at competitive prices, was folded into Oppo as a sub-brand in 2021.

Both companies have launched high-profile devices in the UK this year. Oppo released the Find N2 Flip, a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 competitor and the company’s first foldable to be made available outside its native China. Meanwhile, OnePlus launched its first ever tablet and a new flagship phone, the OnePlus 11 5G.

If they were to depart from Europe, the move would come as a blow to owners of their devices, and further boost Apple and Samsung’s dominance over the region.

The rumour came during a turbulent time for the wider smartphone industry. Global shipments fell by 18.3% year on year to 300.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). Apple accounted for 24.1% of shipments and Samsung 19.4%, respectively during the period. Oppo was in fourth place with 8.4% of the smartphone market.

The drop marked the largest ever decline in a single quarter, and contributed to a steep 11.3% decline last year. A total of 1.21 billion units were shipped in 2022, representing the lowest annual total since 2013.

Smartphone makers have struggled with supply chain issues and waning consumer demand in the cost of living crisis. Faced with the high price of new handsets, people are holding on to their existing phones for longer or buying used devices online.