HTC vows to close gap on Apple and Samsung in smartphone market race

By Danny Palmer
04 Jan 2013 View Comments
HTC One XL screen

Smartphone manufacturer HTC is confident it can turn its fortunes around after a poor 2012. Shares in the Taiwanese firm have dropped by as much as 80 per cent since 2010, as sales of devices such as the HTC Desire have suffered at the hands of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S III.

The increasing gap between HTC and rivals Samsung and Apple saw profits slump by 79 per cent in the third quarter of 2012. HTC is set to reveal its fourth quarter results on Monday, with CEO Peter Chou insisting the year ahead will be better for the company.

"The worst for HTC has probably passed. 2013 will not be too bad," he told The Wall Street Journal, adding the firm must become more innovative in order to re-establish a larger market share.

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Once the best-selling brand of Android smartphone, HTC devices now account for about 16 per cent of the Android market, some 30 percentage points behind Samsung. Analyst firm Gartner estimates that HTC's share of the global mobile market is now as little as two per cent. Chou blamed lacklustre marketing for his company's troubles, especially compared with high-profile campaigns for the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone.

"Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing. We haven't done enough on the marketing front," said Chou, who argued the distinctive nature of HTC smartphones will help boost the firm.

"Although we don't have as much money to counter [Samsung and Apple], the most important thing is to have unique products that appeal to consumers."

HTC launched smartphones running on Windows 8 in November last year, shortly after Microsoft released its latest operating system. Chou said the firm is learning to react more quickly to changes in the market.

"One thing I'd learned from last year is to act fast and be responsive to market changes," he said. "We are being more flexible now. We are constantly fine-tuning our sales plans and position in various markets."

The HTC CEO didn't provide any specific information on turnaround plans, but the firm and its shareholders will be hoping that Chou's predictions of a better 2013 do indeed turn out to be correct.

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