Chinese smartphone maker Oppo has formed an internet of a things-focused business group, a move that will raise its stakes in smart devices amid increased competition in the domestic smartphone market.
The newly formed Intelligent Mobile Devices group will spearhead the development of an Oppo sub-brand, dubbed Zhimei, which will initially encompass smartwatch and headset products, with a continuing focus on sport and health-related devices, the company said in a statement on Monday.
Oppo aims to take on smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi who have also been increasing their focus on smart devices. Xiaomi sold more than 132 million internet of things (IoT) devices in the last quarter of 2018—more than any other company in the world, according to market research company iResearch. Xiaomi plans to invest more than RMB 10 billion ($1.5 billion) over the next five years to increase its focus on artificial intelligence IoT.
“Several products branded Zhimei will be released in both online and offline stores this year,” an Oppo spokesperson told TechNode. The company said a number of other products have also been earmarked for development, including smart bracelets and power banks, though product categories could change.
Led by Liu Bo, Oppo’s vice president and former chief purchasing officer, the new group also aims to accelerate the company’s development of artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT), as well as the combination of the two. It will also establish an open platform connecting smart devices, content, and services.
Rival Huawei has also shown its resolve in increasing its presence in the smart device sector. In a year-end letter to employees, Huawei’s consumer business head Yu Chengdong said the company will combine 5G, AI, and the IoT into its smart ecosystem in an effort to “provide smart life experiences of all kinds to global consumers.”