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BBK Electronics: Meet BBK Electronics, the Chinese giant behind Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and more

Chinese smartphone brands Vivo and Oppo are under concern as various central agencies have accused them of money laundering and tax evasion, respectively.

Last week, the Enforcement Directorate froze 10 Indian bank accounts of Vivo before raiding 48 offices of the phone maker and 23 associate companies in a money laundering investigation. The Delhi High Court on July 13 allowed Vivo to access its bank accounts, but with a rider. She must provide Rs 950 crore as bank guarantee and maintain Rs 250 crore in her accounts at all times.

For Oppo India, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has detected alleged tariff evasion of approximately Rs 4,389 crore. According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance on July 13, the central agency recently inspected the offices of Oppo India and the residences of key management personnel.

Vivo and Oppo are often called phone makers, but they are actually brands of one giant company called BBK Technologies, which also owns the Realme, OnePlus, and iQOO brands.

Hidden Giant

BBK Electronics is a privately owned smartphone manufacturer based in Dongguan founded by secretive billionaire Duan Yongping in 1995. Controlling one of the largest and most sophisticated electronics supply chains in the world, BBK Electronics is the hidden name behind some of India’s most popular smartphone brands. .

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Many consider Yongbing to be the father of the Chinese smartphone industry.

From its early days, BBK has had three major segments – educational electronics, audio-visual equipment, and communications equipment – with separate heads and teams.

Four years after its establishment, Yongping began to split these divisions into individual entities in 1999, thus reducing its stake in BBK Electronics to 17%. This is how Oppo was created in 2004, headed by Chen Mingyong, and Vivo in 2009, headed by Shen Wei.

BBK Electronics has also diversified its portfolio, introducing new brands such as OnePlus, Realme and, most recently, iQOO.

The biggest smartphone maker?

While Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi lead the race for the world’s largest smartphone maker in the popular narrative, BBK Electronics finds no mention in the list.

But according to data from research firm Canalys as of April, it’s close to becoming the world’s largest smartphone maker, with Oppo and Vivo taking global market shares of 10% and 8%, respectively.

This puts BBK on par with Apple (18%) and ahead of Xiaomi at 13%.

Not only is BBK the biggest handset maker in China – its brands have done very well in India as well.

Despite all this, BBK is still an unfamiliar name to many. This is not a coincidence, but part of the strategy that Yongping put in place when he first started the company.

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