July 31, 2018 / 1:13 PM / 5 months ago

Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus to expand retail store presence in India

MUMBAI, July 31 (Reuters) - Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus aims to expand its retail store presence in India, a company executive said on Tuesday, as the firm plans to make the world's No.2 smartphone market its second headquarters by end 2018.

Shenzhen-headquartered OnePlus, which sells a bulk of its phones through Amazon.com's India unit, plans to have 10 retail stores by the second half of 2018, Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India told Reuters in an interview.

The company, which currently operates five retail stores in India, will also start a research and development unit in a market which accounts for one third of its revenue.

"We've already upgraded to local production of the components and will continue to look at further plans as the government announces the next wave of localisation," Agarwal said, adding that all OnePlus phones sold in India were made locally.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship "Make in India" drive has pushed smartphone vendors to assemble their devices locally. Earlier this month, South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics unveiled the world's biggest mobile phone factory on the outskirts of capital New Delhi.

Sales of OnePlus' latest phone have helped it become the top smartphone brand in India's premium - above 30,000 rupees ($438) - segment in the quarter to June, ahead of bigger rivals Samsung and Apple Inc, according to tech researcher Counterpoint.

$1 = 68.5400 Indian rupees Reporting by Tanvi Mehta, editing by David Evans

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