[Update: Response] OnePlus reportedly downsizes in some European countries
OnePlus recently held an online event to announce the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro, two phones we’ve already reviewed and found to be great contenders in the high-end, premium smartphone space. With wider carrier support in the U.S. as well as 5G support on all variants, it seems poised to be a successful launch for OnePlus in the country. But this success may not be seen in every country where OnePlus does business. According to a report from Engadget, OnePlus may be undergoing a major restructuring in some European markets.
In some European markets like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, OnePlus has reportedly downsized its offices by as much as 80%. Engadget states that the new round of layoffs has left teams in some countries with as few as 3 people, which is barely enough to keep the company’s operations running in those countries. Last summer, a similar round of layoffs reportedly happened to the company’s teams in Spain and Italy before they were laid off completely. However, Engadget could not verify how many employees were affected by the layoffs nor how many new hires are planned. Previously, the company had around 2,000 employees worldwide.
Teams in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium appear to be unaffected for the most part as OnePlus has placed a lot of focus on these regions. Engadget states that several employees have even been asked to relocate to Helsinki, Finland, where OnePlus might be planning to move their European headquarters. The current European HQ is located in London.
While one might reasonably attribute this downsizing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a disease that has crippled economic activity in many countries, Engadget‘s sources state that this move has actually been in the works for some time. Engadget notes that OnePlus has already not been faring very well in certain European markets such as in the U.K. where the OnePlus 8 is only carried by 3 and not EE or O2. Ben Wood, the Chief Analyst at CCS Insight, told Engadget that “there is growing evidence that [OnePlus] finds it hard to sustain relationships [with carriers] over a longer period.” He speculates that there is “a growing sense that OnePlus has fallen into the trap of over-promising and under-delivering.”
In a statement to Engadget, OnePlus says the latest layoffs were part of the company’s “normal restructuring” in Europe to focus on key markets. The company told the publication that Europe “is a very important market” and that they’re “even hiring in the region.” As the company is preparing to launch other devices such as the long-rumored OnePlus 8 “Lite” (or OnePlus Z, as we’ve learned it may be called), we hope that this restructuring is for the better.
Update 1: OnePlus Responds
On a post on the official OnePlus forums, Tuomas L., Head of Strategy in Europe, states that the company has “[made] some changes to the current organizational structure within Europe to better streamline [their] operations while continuing to meet the needs of [their] growing community.” These changes “only apply to Europe.” The company says they are “looking to capitalise on opportunities in the Nordic region and Benelux by hiring for new positions, relocating some existing European staff and further enhancing [their] capabilities in these strategic markets.” Meanwhile, the company is “making organizational changes in some existing markets, specifically Germany, France and the UK.”
This post confirms Engadget‘s claim that OnePlus is undergoing some restructuring in its European branches, but it refutes the magnitude of the downsizing. Tuomas L. states that “approximately 20 total employees” in Germany, France, and the UK will be affected by this restructuring, and the company will offer “redundancy packages” per “local regulations.”