Carl Pei, who co-founded the smartphone giant OnePlus in his 20s, has left the company, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.
Pei played an instrumental role in designing the OnePlus smartphone lineup over the years, including the recently launched OnePlus Nord, which has been the company’s biggest hit to date. Outside Shenzhen, China, where OnePlus is headquartered, Pei has also been the face of the Chinese firm, appearing at trade conferences, interacting with loyal customers and giving interviews to the media.
In the early years of OnePlus, Pei devised various marketing strategies for best positioning the company’s products and creating hype about them. In 2014 and 2015, when OnePlus struggled with scaling its inventories, the company sold its phones through invites and several other clever marketing techniques, including one in which people were required to destroy their current phones to buy a new OnePlus smartphone.
Also in the early years of the company, Pei lived almost exclusively in low-cost hotels in China and India to better understand the market and easily travel to new cities. OnePlus is now one of the most successful premium smartphone makers in India and several other markets.
“We didn’t have proper product management. What we lacked in experience, we made up in hours,” he said in an earlier interview. He talked more about the company’s early days and the state of the smartphone market at Disrupt 2019.
Once he publicly asked Samsung to hire him so that he could learn more about