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OnePlus has reportedly made severe staffing cuts in its European operations. While the tech brand has experienced massive growth in other markets over the past few years, it has also faced major headwinds across the continent in the same time which have led to previous rounds of layoffs.
Sources to Engadget say that layoffs were made to the Italian and Spanish teams last summer before they were done away with completely. The U.K. team went through widespread turnover as well. The latest cuts were made to units in France, Germany, the U.K., having been reduced from 20 members each to around 3. All of the above countries represent the top five economies in the European Union (including the U.K., when it was still a member country).
OnePlus said in a statement that it is performing typical "strategic restructuring in Europe," and is "even hiring" there as well. One source said redundancies have not affected crews in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands — seen as growth markets internally. Some staffers were even asked to relocate to Helsinki, which may replace London to become OnePlus's new European base.
There's likely not one standout reason why the company is coming across obstacles and underperforming in the major European markets. External economic factors include Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic, and substantially increased costs reportedly coming from Qualcomm with its 5G components. OnePlus itself, though, has also contributed to its own failings with moves that burned some consumers such as moving away from value flagship phones toward more premium devices. The company also hasn't been able to maintain longstanding network carriage agreements in the U.K. — it left a 3-year partnership with O2 last year to link with EE for its first 5G phone but that agreement has not appeared to carry through to this year's phones.
OnePlus has posted a more complete statement to its forums, indicating that the layoffs aren't quite as extensive as rumored. According to the company, a total of 20 total employees are affected by the company's restructuring in Europe:
As OnePlus enters its next phase of strategic growth, we have been evaluating our opportunities for long-term development and sustainability. We have decided to make some changes to the current organizational structure within Europe to better streamline our operations while continuing to meet the needs of our growing community. These changes only apply to Europe, which remains a key region for OnePlus where we are committed to bringing the best products and services to users as we have done since day one.
As part of our strategy, we are looking to capitalise on opportunities in the Nordic region and Benelux by hiring for new positions, relocating some existing European staff and further enhancing our capabilities in these strategic markets. At the same time, we are making organizational changes in some existing markets, specifically Germany, France and the UK.
We are doing everything we can to support the approximately 20 total employees in these three markets who will be affected by this restructuring, including offering redundancy packages per local regulations. We highly value the contributions of these staff members and will do our best to ensure a smooth transition through this process.