Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus on Wednesday said it is committed to investing Rs 100 crore towards deeper market penetration by taking premium offline experience beyond metro cities and expanding its offline retail network, to strengthen its reach in tier II cities and beyond in the country.

With over 5,000 offline stores including partnered stores across the country, the smartphone maker is planning to scale up to more than 8,000 stores in the coming quarters, said OnePlus India Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Navnit Nakra.

At present, OnePlus have over 30 OnePlus experience stores across India and will be opening 14 new experience stores in the next six months.

“We’ll launch our biggest experience store globally, the OnePlus Nizam Palace in Hyderabad later this year. We are also working towards covering 100 cities through our service centre network in the next year,” Nakra informed.

The smartphone maker launched its India R&D centre in 2019 and is committed to achieve long-term growth in the country.

“Our strategy is intertwined with how we take the premium and the mid-premium smartphones to more markets in India than ever before…We are seeing a phenomenal amount of demand coming from outside the top four metros and top 10 cities.

“And this is not only happening for the premium but also the mid-premium space, also happening to the smart TVs as well,” he said.

Nakra said OnePlus is present in about 5,000 points of sale (PoS) already, and the Rs 100 crore investment will help expand this to about 8,000 PoS.

This expansion, he noted, would depend on how the COVID-19 situation evolves as the company is being mindful of the situation.

“OnePlus would have created almost 25,000 direct and indirect jobs across manufacturing, retail and R&D and service by the end of 2020 and therefore, we have a direct responsibility of ensuring that while expanding and investing, we are also being very careful about the safety protocols,” he said.

He added that the stores are a combination of the company’s own experience stores and those with partners.

“…at present, we have 30-plus OnePlus Experience Stores and this is a number that we’ll look at taking to 40-45 in the next six months. A majority of our retail stores are in partnerships with larger institutions like Reliance Digital, Poorvika, Sangeetha, Croma, Vijay Sales, Bajaj Electronics as well as large and mid-sized modern trade and general trade partners,” he said.

Nakra said the company is working on expanding the user base and getting new consumers. For this, it is looking at tapping into customers that are looking at strong brands, but are not necessarily keen on flagship models (that are also premiumly priced).

“Price segment diversification and product diversification is something that has been on our mind and I think 2020 has been a year when we have seen that strategy play out and execute really well,” he added.

The company, which unveiled its latest OnePlus 8T phone priced Rs 42,999 onwards on Wednesday, is also focused on strengthening its manufacturing in India and will make its complete line up of smart TVs locally by 2021.

“100 per cent of our smartphones have been manufactured in India and by 2021, all OnePlus TVs will also be manufactured locally,” he added.

The open sale of OnePlus 8T 5G will begin on October 17.