Last year, OPPO began stepping up efforts to design autonomous mobile chips, including poaching top engineering talent from its suppliers, as the U.S. cracked down on Chinese technology companies such as Huawei, according to people familiar with the matter, the Nikkei Asia Review reported. OPPO has hired several top executives from MediaTek, its key chip supplier, and recruited engineers from UNISOC, the country’s second-largest mobile chip developer, to build an experienced chip team in Shanghai, according to people familiar with the matter.
The recent recruits of OPPO include Jeffrey Ju, a former MediaTek COO who has been an adviser to OPPO. Another senior executive involved in MediaTek’s 5G smart chip development will also join OPPO within a month or two. OPPO has also reached out to people from Qualcomm and Huawei’s own chip division, Heath Semiconductor.
OPPO said the company already has chip-related capabilities and “any research and development investments aimed at improving product competitiveness and user experience” but did not directly respond to recent executive recruitment efforts. MediaTek declined to comment. Zhu Hasnot been available for comment.
The source said the recruitment of industry veterans with decades of development experience could help OPPO accelerate its chip goals. Analysts say designing custom-made chips could help OPPO reduce its reliance on U.S. suppliers and compete in the struggling overseas market. But industry insiders say the effort is costly and could take years to get results.