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HTC eying 20% share of China's top-end market

2013/09/25 17:42:55

Taipei, Sept. 25 (CNA) Taiwan's HTC Corp. is aiming to grab a 20 percent share of China's high-end market by introducing two flagship smartphones, according to the company's chairwoman.

"There must be no problems," Cher Wang said, commenting on the 20 percent goal, in an interview that was published Tuesday on the Chinese news site Sina.

Wang did not give a timeframe but said she was confident of reaching the target mainly because of HTC's "double flagship" strategy in China.

The company is seeking to improve its brand image among customers in China with sales of its HTC One and HTC Butterfly series of smartphones in that market, she said.

Although the two series of phones are classified as HTC's top-of-the-line products, they are aimed at different market segments and will help boost HTC's business in China, Wang said.

The Taoyuan-based company has seen its smartphone market share in China decline from 8 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to 7.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to an Aug. 16 report by Avanti, a division of the research firm TrendForce.

But HTC's brand awareness among Chinese consumers improved steadily from 23 percent to 28.4 percent during that period, trailing behind only Apple Inc. (80.6 percent) and Samsung Electronics Co. (79.6 percent), the report said.

Some analysts expect HTC to be hurt by Microsoft Corp.'s recent acquisition of Finnish phone vendor Nokia Oyj's handset business, but Wang said the partnership between HTC and Microsoft on Windows phones remains intact.

"We have always maintained a good relationship with Microsoft and we were the first company to be informed of this deal," she said. "From Microsoft's perspective, they are hoping HTC will continue working with them. Let's wait and see how the cooperation develops."

On a Wall Street Journal report that HTC is developing a mobile-software system specifically for Chinese consumers, Wang said her company "has no such plans at the moment."

HTC warned in late July that it is likely to post its first net loss in the third quarter because of the impact of high inventory in the channel, higher cost structure and a lack of economy of scale.

The company has forecast its third-quarter revenue at between NT$50 billion (US$1.69 billion) and NT$60 billion, down 15-30 percent from NT$70.7 billion in the second quarter.

HTC shares closed down 3.57 percent at NT$135 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The stock has lost nearly 90 percent of its value since its peak in April 2011.

(By Jeffrey Wu)