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HTC eyes cheaper smartphone market in China

2012/04/17 22:28:15

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Taiwan's HTC Corp. launched several smartphones in China priced as low as 1,999 Chinese yuan (US$317) Tuesday in a bid to tap into the emerging mobile market.

The HTC launch in Beijing includes three smartphones in its customized New Desire series, which will go on sale from mid-April through three major Chinese telecom operators, according to a company statement.

The New Desire V, running on China Unicom's 3G WCDMA network, will start from 1,999 Chinese yuan before subsidies, while the New Desire VC will support China Telecom's CDMA 2000 frequency, for the same price tag.

Pricing for the New Desire VT, which will run on the country's home-grown TD-SCDMA network provided by China Mobile, was not disclosed.

"The China market has always been a critical part of HTC's global strategy. In addition to the HTC One series, we are introducing the New Desire series targeting Chinese consumers," said Ray Yam, president of HTC's China division.

"We believe HTC's future is closely connected with China and that HTC will continue to bring the best experience and the most innovative smartphones to the country as soon as possible," he added.

All the models in the New Desire series are equipped with a 4-inch display, a 1 GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera, according to the company.

Separately, HTC said its new "One" family will also hit store shelves in China this month, with price tags ranging from 2,688 to 5,688 yuan.

The Taoyuan-based manufacturer is hoping that the streamlined models and an increased retail presence will help it boost its market share in China, which stood at only about 2 percent last year, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.

Samsung, Nokia and Apple still have a strong lead in the high-end market, backed by brand premium and distribution strength, while local brands like ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo are strong in the sub-1,000 yuan segment, the analysts said.

Earlier this month, HTC reported first-quarter sales revenue of NT$67.8 billion, a drop of 33 percent from the fourth quarter of last year and down 35 percent from the same period of last year.

Its net income tumbled 70 percent year-on-year to NT$4.46 billion in the first three months of this year, while earnings per share dropped 71 percent to NT$5.35.

(By Jeffrey Wu)