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Meet the $299 Smartphone You Can Only Get By Invite

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A start-up Chinese smartphone maker is having a one-hour flash sale for customers to buy its $299 smartphone, which is normally available by invite only, but analysts said the stunt might not help it survive in the crowded mid-market. One Plus, which was founded in December 2013 and is part of the wider Chinese electronics company Oppo, released its One Plus One smartphone earlier this year. Fans who supported the device on the Shenzhen-based firm's forum were sent invites in order to purchase the smartphone. Those who bought it were then given three invites to give to friends. Carl Pei, director of One Plus' international arm, told CNBC that the reason behind the strategy is that the company sells the cheap Android-based devices at "breakeven" and does not want to manufacture more devices than it can sell. On October 27, One Plus is opening a one-hour window for customers to buy its model, in an attempt to broaden the appeal. The company offers a 16 gigabyte version at $299 or a 64 gigabyte model for $349.

IN-DEPTH

--- Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

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