Mon, Jun 25, 2012 - Page 14 News List

HTC closures in US, Brazil are part of restructuring drive

NUMBERS GAME:The firm, which recently launched its much-hyped One handset model, says ‘operational efficiency’ is driving the shut-downs

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwanese smartphone vendor HTC Corp (宏達電) said on Saturday that its customer services operation in Brazil will remain unaffected by its plans to close its office in the emerging market.

“To improve operational efficiency, HTC’s Brazil office is undergoing an organizational restructuring. Our company will continue to offer after-sales services and existing customer services will remain unchanged,” HTC said in an e-mailed statement.

“The decision will not affect operations in markets outside Brazil,” the company said.

According to the Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico, HTC recently sent a statement via e-mail to its 30 employees in Sao Paulo that the office would be closed.

The lay-off plan was triggered by HTC’s shrinking market share in the Latin American nation, where it is facing increasing competition from rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co, LG Electronics Inc and Nokia Oyj, the newspaper said.

Research firm International Data Corp forecasts that India and Brazil will enter the top five markets for smartphone shipments in 2016, up from ninth and 11th places respectively, last year.

With the shift from feature phones to smartphones well underway in Brazil, smartphone prices have dropped to less than US$300 and carriers have introduced prepaid data plans, the research firm said.

Separately, HTC also confirmed it was closing a research and development office in North Carolina, affecting about 50 people, MSNBC reported on Friday on its Web site.

The closure will “help HTC maintain its competitive edge and ability to deliver quality innovations for consumers,” MSNBC quoted the firm as saying.

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