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OnePlus understands that its invite system is hindering its growth

It doesn’t matter how awesome and well-received your smartphone is, if people can’t actually buy one, then you’re not going to make any money, and therefore aren’t going to grow. Nobody understands this better than OnePlus should, but considering how both the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X have adopted the same invite system that plagued the OnePlus One, maybe the company doesn’t really understand. According to co-founder Car Pei, the company knows that the horrible invite system is “self-inflicting a slower rate of growth,” but he claims that this is a conscious decision.

The smartphone market is tough. Hundreds of companies are battling to sell phones ahead of their competitors, and the founder of one startup says that rather than becoming a bigger company, in the next five years simply surviving will be seen as success. Carl Pei is the co-founder and head of global at OnePlus, a small Chinese startup which has gained attention for its budget smartphones sold directly to consumers around the world through an innovative but often frustrating invite system that intentionally limits demand. On Thursday, the company begins selling its third ever phone, the OnePlus X, which also is its cheapest smartphone to date, costing just $249. Speaking to International Business Times in Dublin, where OnePlus is showing off its new phone to attendees at the Web Summit conference, Pei said that he is already seeing smartphone companies disappearing and survival is what he is focused on right now. “In the coming three to five years it is as much about survival as it is about growth. If we can grow at a healthy pace — not too fast, not too slow — while we survive, I think that’s a great goal for the next few years.”

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