Thu, Nov 15, 2007 - Page 12 News List

HTC bullish on own-brand business

STAYING IN TOUCH High Tech Computer Corp said growth of its own-brand phones was ahead of schedule and would be boosted further by the new Android platform

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

High Tech Computer Corp (HTC, 宏達電), the world's biggest maker of handsets running Microsoft Corp's Windows operating system, expects own-brand revenues to grow 20 percent next year from this year, helped by a widening product lineup, a company executive said yesterday.

Brand business has become a major source of revenue for HTC, contributing 90 percent of third-quarter revenues of NT$29.11 billion, since the company launched its first brand-name mobile phone five quarters ago.

Europe is HTC's biggest brand name market, the company said.

"We feel the growth momentum for our brand business is quite good. Brand awareness is growing at a faster-than-expected pace," HTC chief executive Peter Chou (周永明) told reporters.

Chou made the remarks yesterday on the sidelines of the launch of the company's latest high-speed phone, the Touch Dual, for Taiwan's biggest telecom carrier, Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信). Chunghwa Telecom has purchased more than 100,000 HTC phones since June last year.

"Our brand business will grow in terms of revenue next year. The growth will be roughly 20 percent [from this year]," Chou said.

This revenue growth is expected to come partly from sales of phones running the Open Handset Alliance's Android operating system in the third quarter of next year.

Last week, HTC said it had partnered with 33 companies including Google Inc and telecom operator T-Mobile to found the Open Handset Alliance and develop open standards for mobile devices. HTC said this would allow it to reduce development costs and retail prices.

"We think this is a good opportunity to extend our product line to consumer-oriented and Internet-oriented products," Chou said.

Chou said he expected HTC to report increased annual growth in the first quarter of next year due to an improved product portfolio. The company reported NT$23.6 billion in revenues for the first quarter of this year.

Chou predicted unit sales from the company's Touch series of phones of between 1.5 million and 1.8 million by the end of the year. The first Touch phone debuted in the summer.

He also said HTC would be able to ward off competition from Apple Inc's popular iPhone once it debuted in Asia next quarter.

"We are not worried about the iPhone at all," Chou said.

This year, HTC expects to ship 11 million mobile phones, up 22 percent from the 9 million units shipped last year.

HTC shares were up by the 7-percent daily-limit at NT$642 yesterday, out-performing the broader market's 2.47-percent gain.

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