Wed, Jan 27, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Brand awareness to help HTC

‘BRAND YEAR’ The company will expand its portfolio by introducing mid-range phones, with Asia and Europe expected to be its principal fast-growing markets

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

HTC Corp (宏達電), the leading maker of smartphones running on Windows Mobile and Android platforms, said yesterday it expected to post sales of between NT$32 billion (US$1 billion) to NT$34 billion this quarter, on the back of growing brand awareness and the introduction of mid-range models.

The figure is up from NT$31.6 billion in the same period a year ago.

First-quarter shipments of own-brand phones were also expected to rise 30 percent from the ­previous year, CEO Peter Chou (周永明) said at an investor teleconference.

The company intends to “increase scale growth to raise brand awareness and reach out to the masses,” he said.

That could mean that HTC, which has been successful in launching high-end smartphones such as the HD2 and the co-branded Nexus One with Google Inc, will expand its product portfolio by introducing mid-range phones to cater to the general public and boost sales, he said.

As the company has already gained a strong foothold in the US, with major telecom partners ­selling its models, Europe and Asia will be the two fast-growing markets, he said.

HTC has designated this is its “brand year” as it aggressively positions itself as a global consumer smartphone brand.

“HTC is still lagging behind other big brands that established themselves in the market long before we did,” Chou said.

The company debuted is Nexus One with great fanfare in the US this month, but technical glitches have dampened user enthusiasm.

HTC said the Nexus One demonstrates HTC’s Android leadership and strategic partnership with Google on mobile Internet by significantly raising HTC’s brand awareness as well as that of the Android platform.

Meanwhile, HTC said it was considering launch its own applications store, but Chou said the time was not proper to provide details.

During the conference call, analysts were skeptical of HTC’s readiness to launch its own apps store, adding that brand awareness, phone scales and revenues would have to be taken into account.

Acer Inc (宏碁), the world’s ­second-largest PC maker and a newcomer in the smartphone sector, said on Monday it would unveil an apps store by the middle of this year with hundreds of ­downloadable software available.

Motorola Inc is also poised to debut its SHOP4APPS, an ­Android-based application store for Android-handset owners in China during the Lunar New Year.

HTC reported a 21 percent drop in net profits last year to NT$22.61 billion, while total revenues were down 5.2 percent to NT$144.49 billion.

The company shipped a total of 11.7 million phones last year, down from 12 million in 2008. Average selling price per unit dropped to NT$11,661 from NT$12,085.

Its shares closed down 1.9 percent to NT$359.50 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, compared with a 3.5 percent drop of the TAIEX.

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