Global technology brand, OPPO, has launched yet another 5G device in the Middle East as part of its latest Reno4 Series of smartphones. Five years after it began its 5G journey, OPPO marked 2020 with not one, but two new 5G smartphones – OPPO Reno4 Pro 5G that released last month in the Middle East; and OPPO Find X2 Pro 5G that launched earlier this year. With the regional launch of Reno4 Pro 5G – configured with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G integrated 5G chip with 5G+Wi-Fi dual-channel acceleration, OPPO recognises the Middle East’s move into the 5G era at a significantly higher pace than most other regions in the world.
An early believer in the power of 5G, OPPO has been a pioneer in promoting the commercialisation of 5G technology, and eyes to accelerate the roll-out of 5G globally and across MENA – a region that expects to have more than 45 million 5G connections by 2025 (Source: GSMA). The unprecedented speed and virtually no network latency of 5G is a game-changer not just for mobile phones. Its integration with other frontier technologies moves the connected world towards more enhanced user experiences, more connected devices and new services.
As early as 2015, OPPO established a communications standard and has accumulated a wealth of experience in the development of 5G standards, as well as hardware and software construction. Here is a list of FIVE world’s first 5G technologies commercially launched in the telecommunications sector, developed and innovated by OPPO:
1. World’s First 5G video call using 3D structured light technology: In May 2018, OPPO demonstrated the world’s first 5G video call using structured light technology, allowing 3D images to be displayed. This was transmitted via 5G NR (New Radio) terminal prototypes from Qualcomm Technologies and eventually displayed on a remote display screen.
2. World’s first 5G WeChat multiplayer video call: In November 2018, OPPO made the world’s first 5G WeChat multiplayer video call. The 5G WeChat video call was based on a 5G prototype of OPPO’s commercially available model and ran smoothly for more than 17 minutes in a 5G environment with 100-megabit bandwidth.
3. World’s first 5G smartphone with the Qualcomm 5G chip: Last year, OPPO became the first company in the world to launch a 5G smartphone powered by then the new Qualcomm 5G chip, bringing an upgraded 5G experience to users. The new Qualcomm 5G chip was the first that integrates 5G baseband and the 5G modem into the processors.
4. World’s first travelling 5G powered smart hotel – In July 2019, OPPO launched OPPO 5G Hotel – the world’s first travelling, 5G powered smart hotel – following the launch of OPPO Reno 5G smartphone. Presented to the world in Australia, OPPO 5G Hotel is a 40ft shipping container which has been transformed into a luxury one-bedroom suite, complete with the latest technology and smart home features.
5. First commercial 5G smartphone in Europe: In May 2019, OPPO Reno 5G became the first commercial 5G smartphone available in the European market, when it went on sale in Switzerland. A few months later, OPPO launched the phone in the GCC, making the brand’s 5G debut in the region. OPPO Reno 5G combines the next-generation connectivity of 5G with the power of OPPO’s Reno series for a superior experience.
Ethan Xue, President of OPPO in the Middle East and Africa, said, “OPPO has been an advocate and pioneer of 5G commercialisation with a host of innovative devices and applications that leverage the power of 5G. Bringing a wealth of technologies powered by 5G to the mid-range category, our newest Reno4 Pro 5G smartphone is the most recent milestone on our 5G journey that we initiated five years ago. The convergence of 5G and other technologies continues to present new services and experiences, which we believe every user should be able to experience. As we enter the new era of ‘the integration of all things,’ OPPO’s 5G phones aim to provide all users with more choice, more value and more convergent experiences.”
In addition to 5G smartphones, OPPO’s portfolio includes OPPO 5G CPE, OPPO Watch, OPPO Enco wireless headphones and other intelligent devices, which are oriented towards the 5G era, creating an integrated personal technology experience for users.
Last year, OPPO announced a three-year investment plan of $7bn allocated for R&D, to develop core technologies including 5G/6G, AI, AR, big data and other frontier technologies. To date, OPPO has deployed its 5G standard patents in over 20 countries and regions around the world. According to leading Japanese research institute, NGB Corporation, OPPO is among the top ten companies with the greatest number of declared 5G patent families.
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OPPO is a leading global technology brand since 2004, dedicated to providing products that seamlessly combines art and innovative technology.
OPPO is on a mission to building a multiple-access smart device ecosystem for the era of intelligent connectivity. The smartphone devices have simply been a gateway for OPPO to deliver a diverse portfolio of smart and frontier technologies in hardware, software and system. In 2019, OPPO launched a $7 Billion US Dollar three-year investment plan in R&D to develop core technologies furthering design through technology.
OPPO is firmly pursuing the creation of the best technology products and technological artistry for global users. Based on the brand elements of leading, young and beautiful, OPPO dedicates to the mission of letting the extraordinary users enjoy the beauty of technology.
For the last 10 years, OPPO has focused on manufacturing smartphones with camera capabilities that are second to none. OPPO launched the first mobile phone, the Smile Phone, in 2008, which marked the launch of the brand’s epic journey in exploring and pioneering extraordinary technology. Over the years, OPPO has built a tradition of being number one, which became a reality through inventing the world’s first rotating camera smartphone way back in 2013, launching the world’s then thinnest smartphone in 2014, being the first to introduce 5X Zoom “Periscope” camera technology and developing the first 5G commercial smartphone in Europe.
Today, OPPO was ranked as the number five smartphone brand globally. OPPO brings the aesthetics of technology of global consumers through the ColorOS system Experience, and Internet service like OPPO Cloud and OPPO+.
OPPO’s business covers 40 countries with over six research institutes and four R&D centres across the world, from San Francisco to Shenzhen. OPPO also opened an International Design Centre headquartered in London, driving cutting edge technology that will shape the future not only for smartphones but for intelligent connectivity.
About OPPO MEA
OPPO started its journey in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region in 2015 after setting up its regional office in Egypt. Following the immense success of the brand’s sales centre in Cairo in the first year, OPPO accelerated its expansion plan across the MEA region and inaugurated its country operations in the UAE in 2019. Now OPPO is physically present in more than 13 markets across the region, including Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the Levant.
To empower its presence in the region in line with its product localisation strategy, OPPO further invested in MENA and set up its very own factory in Algeria in 2017, thus, becoming the first Chinese brand to build a manufacturing premises in North Africa. Based on insights of local consumers in each country, OPPO has evolved the progress of product localisation, taking into consideration several perspectives towards each market, including product localisation, to further meet the core needs of users; marketing localisation, to better communicate with local young customers; and talent localisation, to understand local consumers further and provide an optimum customer service.
Within the last year, OPPO has started to adjust its product line in the Middle East region specifically. This has included the launch of its flagship OPPO Find X Series and the introduction of the OPPO Reno Series. OPPO will continue to evolve its local product line to offer more premium series to consumers in the region.
A forward-thinking international technology company, OPPO strives to be a sustainable company that contributes to a better world and have enacted positive change in every way possible through activating local community initiatives and humanitarian, charity campaigns.
Nokia awarded contract to build 4G network on the moon
Nokia has been awarded a contract to establish a 4G network on the moon. The contract is one of several that NASA is awarding to companies as it plans a return to the moon.
The $14.1 million contract was given to Nokia’s US subsidiary and is a small part of the $370 million total awarded to companies such as SpaceX. The cellular service will allow astronauts, rovers, lunar landers, and habitats to communicate with one another according to Jim Reuter, the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Space.
The 4G network that Nokia will build will be miles superior to the form of communication that was used during the early missions to the moon.
This is not Nokia’s first attempt to launch an LTE network on the moon. It planned to do so in 2018 in collaboration with PTScientists, a German space firm, and Vodafone UK to launch an LTE network at the site of the Apollo 17 landing but the plan never came to fruition.
Stripe acquires Nigeria’s Paystack for $200M+ to expand into the African continent
When Stripe announced earlier this year that it had picked up another $600 million in funding, it said one big reason for the funding was to expand its API-based payments services into more geographies. Today the company is coming good on that plan in the form of some M&A.
Stripe is acquiring Paystack, a startup out of Lagos, Nigeria that, like Stripe, provides a quick way to integrate payments services into an online or offline transaction by way of an API. (We and others have referred to it in the past as “the Stripe of Africa.”)
Paystack currently has around 60,000 customers, including small businesses, larger corporates, fintechs, educational institutions and online betting companies, and the plan will be for it to continue operating independently, the companies said.
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but sources close to it confirm that it’s over $200 million. That makes this the biggest startup acquisition to date to come out of Nigeria, as well as Stripe’s biggest acquisition to date anywhere. (Sendwave, acquired by WorldRemit in a $500 million deal in August, is based out of Kenya.)
It’s also a notable shift in Stripe’s strategy as it continues to mature: Typically, it has only acquired smaller companies to expand its technology stack, rather than its global footprint.
The deal underscores two interesting points about Stripe, now valued at $36 billion and regularly tipped as an IPO candidate. (Note: It has never commented on those plans up to now.) First is how it is doubling down on geographic expansion: Even before this news, it had added 17 countries to its platform in the last 18 months, along with progressive feature expansion. And second is how Stripe is putting a bet on the emerging markets of Africa specifically in the future of its own growth.
“There is enormous opportunity,” said Patrick Collison, Stripe’s co-founder and CEO, in an interview with TechCrunch. “In absolute numbers, Africa may be smaller right now than other regions, but online commerce will grow about 30% every year. And even with wider global declines, online shoppers are growing twice as fast. Stripe thinks on a longer time horizon than others because we are an infrastructure company. We are thinking of what the world will look like in 2040-2050.”
For Paystack, the deal will give the company a lot more fuel (that is, investment) to build out further in Nigeria and expand to other markets, CEO Shola Akinlade said in an interview.
“Paystack was not for sale when Stripe approached us,” said Akinlade, who co-founded the company with Ezra Olubi (who is the CTO). “For us, it’s about the mission. I’m driven by the mission to accelerate payments on the continent, and I am convinced that Stripe will help us get there faster. It is a very natural move.”
Paystack had been on Stripe’s radar for some time prior to acquiring it. Like its U.S. counterpart, the Nigerian startup went through Y Combinator — that was in 2016, and it was actually the first-ever startup out of Nigeria to get into the world-famous incubator. Then, in 2018, Stripe led an $8 million funding round for Paystack, with others participating, including Visa and Tencent. (And for the record, Akinlade said that Visa and Tencent had not approached it for acquisition. Both have been regular investors in startups on the continent.)
In the last several years, Stripe has made a number of investments into startups building technology or businesses in areas where Stripe has yet to move. This year, those investments have included backing an investment in universal checkout service Fast, and backing the Philippines-based payment platform PayMongo.
Collison said that while acquiring Paystack after investing in it was a big move for the company, people also shouldn’t read too much into it in terms of Stripe’s bigger acquisition policy.
“When we invest in startups we’re not trying to tie them up with complicated strategic investments,” Collison said. “We try to understand the broader ecosystem, and keep our eyes pointed outwards and see where we can help.”
That is to say, there are no plans to acquire other regional companies or other operations simply to expand Stripe’s footprint, with the interest in Paystack being about how well they’d built the company, not just where they are located.
“A lot of companies have been, let’s say, heavily influenced by Stripe,” Collison said, raising his eyebrows a little. “But with Paystack, clearly they’ve put a lot of original thinking into how to do things better. There are some details of Stripe that we consider mistakes, but we can see that Paystack ‘gets it,’ it’s clear from the site and from the product sensibilities, and that has nothing to do with them being in Africa or African.”
Stripe, with its business firmly in the world of digital transactions, already has a strong line in the detection and prevention of fraud and other financial crimes. It has developed an extensive platform of fraud protection tools, but even with that, incidents can slip through the cracks. Just last month, Stripe was ordered to pay $120,000 in a case in Massachusetts after failing to protect users in a $15 million cryptocurrency scam.
Now, bringing on a business from Nigeria could give the company a different kind of risk exposure. Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, but it is also one of the more corrupt on the continent, according to research from Transparency International.
And related to that, it also has a very contentious approach to law and order. Nigeria has been embroiled in protests in the last week with demonstrators calling for the disbanding of the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, after multiple accusations of brutality, including extrajudicial killings, extortion and torture. In fact, Stripe and Paystack postponed the original announcement in part because of the current situation in the country.
But while those troubles continue to be worked through (and hopefully eventually resolved, by way of government reform in response to demonstrators’ demands), Paystack’s acquisition is a notable foil to those themes. It points to how talented people in the region are identifying problems in the market and building technology to help fix them, as a way of improving how people can transact, and in turn, economic outcomes more generally.
The company got its start back when Akinlade, for fun (!) built a quick way of integrating a card transaction into a web page, and it was the simplicity of how it worked that spurred him and his co-founder to think of how to develop that into something others could use. That became the germination of the idea that eventually landed them at YC and in the scope of Stripe.
“We’re still very early in the Paystack payments ecosystem, which is super broken,” said Akinlade. The company today provides a payments API, and it makes revenue every time a transaction is made using it. He wouldn’t talk about what else is on Paystack’s radar, but when you consider Stripe’s own product trajectory as a template, there is a wide range of accounting, fraud, card, cash advance and other services to meet business needs that could be built around that to expand the business. “Most of what we will be building in Africa has not been built yet.”
Last month, at Disrupt, we interviewed another successful entrepreneur in the country, Tunde Kehinde, who wisely noted that more exits of promising startups — either by going public or getting acquired — will help lift up the whole ecosystem. In that regard, Stripe’s move is a vote of confidence not just for the potential of the region, but for those putting in the efforts to build tech and continue improving outcomes for everyone.
#EndSARS Twitter’s Jack Dorsey seeks support with Bitcoin
Billionaire boss of the leading social media platform Twitter, and payments company Square, Jack Dorsey, has joined in support of the #EndSARS protest that has overtaken Nigeria.
A few hours ago, Dorsey took to his Twitter handle to solicit support for Nigerian protesters seeking an end to Police brutality and calling for reforms.
He tweeted, “Donate via Bitcoin to help #EndSARS,” while also retweeting a tweet from the Feminist Coalition informing people of the modes by which contributions can be made.
Twitter CEO has been a longstanding Bitcoin supporter. In the past, he has said Bitcoin is “probably the best” native currency of the internet due to it being “consensus-driven” and “built by everyone.”
Recall, some days ago, Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) led by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey on October 8th disclosed that it purchased, 4,709 bitcoins at an estimated worth of $50 million.
Square added it invested in cryptos because it saw it as a tool for economic enhancement via participation in the future of payment systems, which aligns with Square’s objectives.
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