Oppo sure found out that this business isn’t as sustainable nor profitable as they would have hoped.
From the title alone, you might be thinking “Since when did Oppo create its own chipsets?” Well, in 2021, they started a venture that does exactly that. However, it’s not the type of chipset you’re thinking of. These chips, now known as MariSilicon, are intended to further improve their phones’ capabilities. It’s one of the main reasons why Oppo’s flagship phones performed very well. Aside from their brilliantly engineered software and hardware to match, the MariSilicon ISP chips found on the Find X series as well as some Reno units, made the phones produce professional-quality pictures.
In a report by South China Morning Post, the company is shutting down ZEKU, its chip design subsidiary in an unprecedented and sudden move. Employees were only informed on the day and were not given time to prepare in advance. The company cited “uncertainties” in the global economy and smartphone market and that the move was a “difficult decision to make”.
Two MariSilicon chips were made before the shutdown. These are the MariSilicon Y intended to enhance Bluetooth connectivity and MariSilicon X, a custom-made Image Signaling Processor (ISP) that, when mixed with Oppo’s flavour of camera software, creates realistic, noiseless, and high-quality images even at night. The chip also supports 4K@60fps video and real-time HDR. The Find X6 series is the latest and probably the last to have this implemented and they’re currently standing in fourth place in DXOMark’s camera tests.
The move will not affect any phone that already has these chips installed. Companies like Vivo and Xiaomi all made their own custom chips to differentiate themselves and outcompete each other. There may be no more new MariSilicon chips to be made.
With Oppo’s chip manufacturing in the shutters, the company can only rely so much on its sensors as well as software.