Wed, Jul 25, 2018 - Page 12 News List

HTC ‘fading away’ from Indian market, report says

Staff writer, with CNA in NEW DELHI

Smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電), which introduced the Android operating system to India, is now “fading away” from the world’s second-largest smartphone market, tech Web site Quartz India said on Monday.

Quartz India said in a report that HTC has laid off about 80 employees in India, including country head Faisal Siddiqui, sales head Vijay Balachandran and product head R. Nayyar, adding that it now has only 10 employees left.

“Android may rule 90 percent of the Indian smartphone market today, but the firm that introduced Indians to the operating system a decade ago has almost disappeared,” the Web site said in the report titled “The phone maker that introduced Android to India is fading away.”

The report came after HTC on July 2 announced that it would lay off 1,500 employees, or about one-quarter of its global payroll, by the end of September to optimize its resources through a “strategic adjustment of its workforce.”

Android smartphones have been welcomed by Indian consumers since HTC first introduced an Android-powered smartphone in India in 2009, Quartz India said.

Citing a CyberMedia Research survey conducted in February last year, the report said that HTC had the third-highest brand recall among Indian consumers, but data compiled by Counterpoint Research at the end of March found that HTC’s market share in India had fallen to almost zero.

“It has been an amazing journey we’ve taken to arrive here. We have an incredibly bright future ahead,” HTC said in a statement following the layoff of the 80 employees in India. “It will require us, as an organization, to be resilient and completely focused on the tasks at hand.”

HTC said it would continue to invest in India in the “right segment and in the right time,” the report said, adding that the firm would continue to extend its reach in virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

However, Quartz India expressed doubts about HTC’s strategy in India.

The Web site quoted market research firm International Data Corp senior analyst Jaipal Singh as saying that HTC did not have a good understanding of the Indian market.

“The Indian market is very dynamic and very competitive now. So if you want to be in India, you have to be aggressive,” Singh was quoted as saying. “Xiaomi Corp [小米] is very aggressive. Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp [歐珀] and Vivo Communication Technology Co [維沃] are going all-out to market their devices.”

However, “HTC has not been able to read the market. It has remained silent for a very long time. We haven’t heard much about its campaigns,” he was quoted as saying.

Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are three of the major Chinese smartphone brands.

Sanjay, a veteran sales manager at a smartphone store in New Delhi, told reporters that he had no clue why HTC, which has impressed Indian consumers, has not launched any large-scale marketing campaigns in the Indian city in a long time.

Over the past few months, no HTC phones have been put on sale at the store, Sanjay said.

In the first six months of this year, HTC’s consolidated sales totaled NT$15.56 billion (US$506.5 million), down 49.25 percent from the same period last year.

In the first quarter, HTC posted net profit of NT$21.1 billion, compared with a net loss of NT$9.8 billion in the prior quarter, with earnings per share of NT$25.70.

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