OPPO, the 5th largest smartphone maker in the world, opened a research center in Yokohama one year ago.

Interview with Mr. Cho, the head of OPPO’s Yokohama Research Center.

Q. Can you give us an overview of the work you’re doing in Yokohama?

While OPPO’s Japanese sales offices are located in Tokyo, in Yokohama we are conducting research specializing in digital camera technologies. We’ve opened 6 research centers worldwide so far: four of which are located within China, with the remaining two in Silicon Valley and Yokohama respectively. Japan is a global leader in camera technologies and related skills, which plays a large part in our opening a research center here. In Yokohama, OPPO is collaborating with multiple Japanese businesses that focus on camera sensor technologies and materials.

Q. Why did you choose Yokohama specifically to be the base of your research in Japan?

Firstly, Haneda Airport is extremely easy to access; we can get to or from the airport in only 30 minutes. Yokohama also makes it easy to connect and cooperate with businesses that specialize in camera sensor technologies. Despite being only about 30 minutes from Tokyo station and the heart of Tokyo itself, the rent for an office in Yokohama is cheaper than in Tokyo, so it’s also a cost-efficient choice. In addition, our research center’s location on the waterfront in the Minato Mirai business district feels very open with a great ambiance, which has helped create an enjoyable, convenient work environment.

When we were discussing possible locations for a research center, many at OPPO weren’t too familiar with any Japanese cities beyond Shinagawa, which is a frequent destination for business trips from China. But I’d previously lived in Japan for an extended period and already knew how wonderful Yokohama is, so I was very glad when it was chosen.

Q. How has your research progressed in the year since the Yokohama research center was opened?

We currently have around 10 members working here in Yokohama. Since opening this research center about a year ago, our research has gone very smoothly. Over the next several years we are looking increase our staff and bring on new researchers, so this summer we’ve set up plans to relocate nearby to an even larger space within the Minato Mirai district. OPPO’s hope is that we can continue and strengthen our connections with the City of Yokohama and its universities and top technology corporations in the future.

Interviewed on March 4, 2019