Fubon Securities Co (富邦證券) yesterday retained its rating for HTC Corp (宏達電) shares of “add” with a target price of NT$170, saying the Taiwanese smartphone vendor would get a boost from its “aggressive” move to expand its product lineup, including 4G handsets for Chinese telecoms.
While most foreign brokerages, including Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank AG and CIMB Securities Ltd (聯昌證券), retained their ratings of “underperform” or “sell” after HTC’s earnings announcement on Nov. 5, Fubon remained upbeat about the Taoyuan-based company.
Commenting on HTC’s newly launched mid-tier smartphones, Fubon analyst Ange Wu (吳淵傑) said HTC is aware of the sluggish demand in the high-end smartphone market and is therefore diversifying its product portfolio to include mid-end models to meet consumer demand.
In addition, Wu said HTC had demonstrated its product design capability to competitors such as Samsung Electronics Co and Sony Corp as it had adopted chipsets made by various companies, including Qualcomm Inc, Broadcom Corp, ST-Ericsson and Spreadtrum Communications Inc (展訊通信), in its new products.
“As such [HTC’s choice of different platforms], we take it as a remarkable milestone that HTC has continuously consolidated its smartphone design advantages, not only in software, but also its hardware capabilities,” Wu said in a report released yesterday.
What is more important is that HTC is designing new smartphones that run on MediaTek Inc’s (聯發科) TD-LTE 4G chips for China Mobile Ltd (中國移動) which are scheduled to be released next quarter at the earliest, Wu said.
“The development lead time of applying the MediaTek platform could be shortened compared with other solutions such as Qualcomm’s chipsets, especially as MediaTek can speed up type approval, field test and operator test certification processes in China,” Wu added.
While HTC declined to confirm if it would use MediaTek’s chipsets to manufacture a new customized smartphone model co-branded with China Mobile, Wu said that HTC had obtained China Mobile’s customization approval for its new lineup of smartphones and would launch the products by the end of this quarter.
“In our view, this cooperation [between HTC and China Mobile] will benefit HTC’s sales momentum in China, particularly through the use of China Mobile’s sales channels,” Wu said.
“On the other hand, HTC’s strength in high and mid-end smartphones is also likely to threaten Samsung and boost its [HTC’s] share of the Chinese market,” he added.
Compared with Apple Inc, HTC is able to penetrate the Chinese market faster as the company has already launched the new One Max which supports China’s TD-LTE technology, Wu said.
China Mobile is scheduled to launch TD-LTE services in the middle of next month in China after it obtained a 4G license from Beijing, Wu said.