Cher Wang at the launch of HTC One A9 in New Tork in October. (CNA file photo)
Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) Cher Wang (王雪紅), chairwoman of smartphone vendor HTC Corp. (宏達電), said Thursday that her company's brand will never disappear but will continue to have a presence in the market.
Wang made the comments in rebuttal of a prediction by Reuters Breakingnews columnist Robyn Mak that HTC will be among the several smartphone brands that will head for extinction in 2016.
According to Mak, the global smartphone growth rate has fallen below 10 percent this year. The columnist said that while Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. between them account for the largest share of the global high-end smartphone market, some Chinese brands, such as Xiaomi, have been catering to first-time buyers.
As a result, "loss-making brands, from HTC to Sony, might be forced to conclude that the game is over," Mak said.
Speaking to the press, Wang said that the global smartphone market is expected to continue to grow as technology continues to evolve, adding that she has faith that the market still has potential for further development.
HTC also released a statement, saying that the company is well- prepared to take on the competition in the global smartphone market by launching more flagship models to target niche markets.
The statement said that 2016 will be an exciting year for HTC.
The company plans to launch its next flagship model -- the HTC One M10 -- next year to penetrate the high-end market. In addition to the flagship model, the smartphone brand will continue to aim at the low-end and midrange model markets, indicating that the company will not bow out of the market.
In addition to its continued efforts in smartphone development, HTC said that it has expanded its reach into the virtual reality (VR) business by unveiling its first VR headset -- the HTC Vive -- with preorders for the new device scheduled to start in February before the gadget hits store shelves in April.
Echoing the statement, Wang said that HTC has taken the lead over its peers in technology, not only in smartphone development but also in the VR business.
Meanwhile, HTC has been working with sports brand Under Armour and both are expected to launch smart bracelets in the first quarter of next year.
The Breakingnews columnist, however, appeared more pessimistic. "The loss- making HTC is already on life-support as its US$1.3 billion cash pile dwindles," Mak said, citing market analysts as saying that HTC's market share is expected to stay flat at around 1 percent in 2016.
In the first nine months of this year, HTC incurred NT$14.68 (US$0.44) in loss per share, compared with NT$1.23 in earnings per share over the same period of last year.
After the extinction forecast surfaced, shares of HTC fell 2.6 percent to close at NT$74.20 Thursday, underperforming the local main board, where the weighted index ended up 0.1 percent.
(By Esme Jiang and Frances Huang)