Bloomberg reports that Oppo’s Zeku division was founded in 2019 and had about 200 patents in its Shanghai division. Like Apple, Oppo started making its own co-processors for imaging and other smartphone components, but hadn’t successfully launched its own SoC to escape relying on other companies for the main chip in the device.
Last year, the US imposed sweeping restrictions on chip sales to China and other countries in the wake of the war in Ukraine. Chinese phone makers, including Oppo, should be licensed to use chips built by US-based companies.
In January, media reports reported that the US had struck a deal with the Netherlands and Japan to further restrict exports of chip manufacturing technology. The move could cut Chinese companies off from suppliers like ASML – the world’s only maker of lithography machines needed to develop newer chips.
Oppo is a sister company to OnePlus and the two smartphone manufacturers share many of the same components. Switching to a bespoke internal chip like rivals Apple and Google with their A-series and Tensor chips could have expanded the capabilities of future devices from both companies.