The best new smartphones released each year generally come with huge marketing campaigns to match, but OnePlus took a different approach. The Chinese startup recently revealed that it has managed to sell more than 500,000 devices so far with a marketing budget of just $300.
The OnePlus One mostly spread through word of mouth and social media sites, where the company teased the device before making an official announcement. The small amount of money it did have for marketing apparently went into Facebook ads, though company co-founder Carl Pei attributes its success to early adopters and fans. “We found that we’ve now reached a critical mass of users,” he told Forbes. “They are helping us spread the word organically.”
OnePlus One sales might be even greater if not for the company’s complex invitation process, though Pei sees that as an advantage as well. An open order system could lead to peak sales early on; instead he says that interest for the device just keeps growing. On that note, OnePlus hopes to sell 1 million handsets by the end of 2014, though that may require opening up a few more pre-order windows this year.