Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 12 News List

HTC to launch its U-series smartphones in India

ON HOLD:HTC plans to launch its high-end smartphones, featuring curved glass and artificial intelligence assistant, in India, shifting its focus from low-cost handsets

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

HTC Corp (宏達電) is scheduled to launch its latest smartphones, the U Ultra and U Play, in India next month, as part of the firm’s efforts to increase its market share and average selling prices in India this year, a company executive said.

“Our business grew in the past two years in terms of shipments, average selling prices and revenue. We anticipate the same growth this year,” HTC South Asia president Faisal Siddiqui was quoted by BGR India as saying on Friday last week.

HTC unveiled two new high-end smartphone models at its Taipei headquarters last month which feature a curved glass design and are installed with an artificial intelligence assistant using machine learning to enhance the user experience.

The U Ultra, priced at NT$28,900 (US$934), and the U Play, priced at NT$13,900, are currently only available in Taiwan, but are to gradually expand sales to other markets this quarter.

HTC aims to increase handset prices in the Indian market by removing its focus on lower-priced smartphones that cost about 10,000 rupees (US$149), Siddiqui said.

All of HTC’s new smartphones will be available in India this year and some will be introduced there first, Siddiqui said, suggesting the importance of the market to the company.

The smartphone penetration rate in India was still less than 30 percent last year, which makes it one of the most attractive markets for global vendors while the overall smartphone industry slows, according to International Data Corp.

HTC did not disclose its market share or revenue contribution from India, but it is not listed in India’s top-five smartphone vendors, market researcher Canalys said.

Samsung Electronics Co took the largest share in India with 22 percent last quarter, ahead of Xiaomi Corp (小米) with 11 percent and both Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀) and Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) with 9 percent, Canalys said.

In related news, the Taiwanese company yesterday reported NT$4.66 billion in revenue for last month, the lowest sales performance over the same period in the company’s history.

The result plunged 27.98 percent from last year’s NT$6.47 billion and 27.18 percent from the prior month’s NT$6.4 billion, HTC’s filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed.

Market analysts said HTC’s weak revenue mainly reflected the influence of fewer working days last month due to the Lunar New Year holidays, but it also indicated the soft momentum from its existing handset models and its virtual reality product, the HTC Vive.

HTC’s high-priced U series handsets are expected to start contributing to revenue from this month, analysts said.

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