Dan Amariei: The pandemic was very challenging, but I survived with OPPO
"I passed through the most difficult period of the pandemic with OPPO, which gave me a strong sense of security".
— Dan Amariei, Head of Retail, OPPO AED Romania
The streets of Bucharest were deserted, and all that could be heard was the whir of ambulance sirens whizzing past. At supermarkets, essential goods were all snapped up, and makeshift hospitals were quickly erected to treat the rising number of people with COVID-19. Across the city, residents were growing increasingly worried about the shortage of masks, sanitizers and food.
This is what Romania’s capital city looked like at the beginning of 2020 as COVID-19 took over the city. As the pandemic spread, severe recession and unemployment soon followed.
For Dan, who had just joined OPPO AED Romania at the end of 2019, ensuring his own health and safety became an everyday priority – but there was an even greater weight upon his shoulders.
When the pandemic first broke out, Dan was still a newcomer at OPPO, which was at the time a relatively new brand in the market that had yet to gain a firm foothold in Romania. At the beginning of his tenure, Dan was full of confidence, zealously recruiting new colleagues to form a team. All the preparations for the brand launch were complete, and Dan was determined to establish OPPO as a well-known brand in Romania. Then came the pandemic. Initially, it seemed like just a short-term issue. No one expected that government mandated lockdowns would soon throw everything into uncertainty.
All stores had to be shut down, offline activities had to be stopped, and the retail industry came to a sudden halt. Businesses could no longer operate normally and generate revenue as usual, and in order to reduce losses, the only option for many companies was to lay off employees. Dan also faced this same predicament – if he did lay off the team members he had personally interviewed, screened and recruited, then they would have to face unemployment amid a global pandemic, which had made it much more difficult to find a new job. Though layoffs may seem overly rational and ruthless, for most companies, it is the most realistic solution in such situations.
On the other hand, if Dan did not choose to lay off staff, then the newly formed company would be under tremendous financial pressure until the pandemic passed. At that time, however, no one had any idea when the pandemic would possibly come to an end.
Ultimately, Dan and OPPO chose to take a risk – and to believe in themselves and the team. During the lockdown period, Dan and his team worked from home, collaborated virtually through many online meetings, and outlined action plans for the business during and after the outbreak. At the same time, they also set up an avenue for online sales to minimize the pandemic’s impact on OPPO, which had just made its official entry into the Romanian market.
Throughout this time, Dan went above the call of duty to protect his employees. Dan's sister, who works at a hospital in Bucharest, said that Dan called her several times to consult her about pandemic prevention precautions to keep OPPO team members safe from the virus.
By June 2020, the severity of the pandemic had eased. The OPPO Romania conference, which had been repeatedly postponed, was finally held with great success. At the event, Dan acted as a brand spokesperson and introduced the OPPO Find X2 and Reno3 Pro to the audience. Since then, in less than two years, OPPO has jumped to the fourth place in the local smartphone market with an annual growth rate of 227%. Now, OPPO has an office space in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. The early trials and sudden challenges of the pandemic also helped Dan and the OPPO Romania team understand the true meaning of duty and perseverance.
Now, Dan aims to pass this spirit on to his son. “Raising a child is an enormous responsibility. It has made me more aware of the role that each of us plays in this world." As Dan said to us: "Be kind, be responsible and faithful to your duties. Be a good person and do good deeds. Those are the overarching goals that I have set for him."