OnePlus entered into the smartphone market expecting to sell a maximum of 50,000 units, but in a turn of events that surprised everyone, including OnePlus itself, the OnePlus One went on to sell more than a million units and become one of the most talked about smartphones of 2014. With the OnePlus 2 expected to launch later this year, OnePlus CEO Carl Pei has made it clear that the company is going to be MUCH more ambitious this time around, with 100 million OnePlus users being the company’s current goal.
Carl Pei has an ambition: to have 100 million users of his OnePlus smartphones. But he says it’s not just self interest which is driving him, he wants to create a platform that will help its users to do good. “If there’s an earthquake, we can nudge them to donate money, or help in some other way, to get free credits on their OnePlus account. Or some other incentive,” he says. This might smack of a head in the clouds idea but OnePlus co-founder Pei – who turns 26 in September, and is calling from Skype on a visit to Bangalore – firmly has his feet on the ground. “We’re still worrying about whether or not we’re going to survive … when we have 100 million users, then I think the game will change, and we can start negotiating and charting our own way. But at this point it’s premature – as a startup you really need to focus on what you have to do this year.” There’s certainly a long way to go to that hundred million. OnePlus, formed in 2013, only released its first phone – the OnePlus One – in May 2014, using an invite system that both amped up the excitement among those who were on the list (who were then allowed to pass on invites to others) and simplified the challenge of supplying to a new audience.