The cofounder of smartphone maker OnePlus, and 30 Under 30 Asia alumni Carl Pei sat down with Forbes Asia at this year’s Under 30 Summit in Hong Kong.
After cutting his teeth at Chinese phone makers Meizu, and OPPO, Pei decided consumers deserved a better Android product. In December 2013, he set out with founder Pete Lau to do just that — build a feature-packed device that costs a fraction of market peers.
The OnePlus One was an immediate hit among the tech community online. Following a few years of blockbuster sales through e-commerce channels, his team is taking on a new challenge: shifting from direct to consumer models, to distribution through major telecom carriers.
The challenge, Pei says, is to build brand recognition and sell more phones offline through brick and mortar stores in Western markets, though OnePlus has been making headway starting with its 2017 venture into working with carriers in Europe, and just last year launching with T-Mobile across 5,600 stores in the US. The 29-year-old also weighs in on the future of 5G and the impact on the company’s product offerings.