HTC Corp (宏達電), the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker, yesterday debuted a new ad in a bid to rebuild its brand image after ending prolonged patent disputes with Apple Inc and posting record-low sales last year.
In the 63-second ad, HTC employees hold up signs bearing messages encouraging Taiwanese and the company not to give up, but to continue pursuing their dreams despite the challenges they face.
“The world is so big that it is too early to tell who is the winner at this moment. We, HTC employees, always believe in the power of dreams and will continue to move forward,” the signs read.
“In 2013, we hope HTC can work together with everyone to move forward. We are very optimistic about the future and would like to share with everyone HTC workers’ attitudes on believing in dreams,” HTC chief executive officer Peter Chou (周永明) told reporters at a press conference in Taipei.
Chou said that although the global economy faced many challenges over the past year, Taiwanese enterprises, including HTC, never surrendered, but instead dedicated themselves to finding solutions to tackle problems, keeping Taiwan’s economy competitive and sustainable in all kinds of challenging situations.
“HTC sees challenges as positive forces. We choose to be more proactive and ambitious when facing hurdles. Though many people cast their doubts on HTC in 2012, we knew our condition was not so bad and instead chose to turn challenges into positive power to keep pursuing our dreams. We believe we will receive higher-than-estimated returns for our efforts,” he added.
HTC said its new ad will be broadcast on major television channels and has been uploaded to its official YouTube channel.
HTC’s new chief marketing officer, Benjamin Ho (何永生), who assumed office today, attended yesterday’s press conference, but did not make any remarks.
Ho’s appearance at the event marks the beginning of the Taoyuan-based company’s “Marketing 2.0” era, during which Ho is expected to carry out a worldwide marketing and branding project; to refocus the company’s efforts around marketing and mass-market brand outreach initiatives.
In the third quarter of last year, HTC’s market share slipped to the fifth spot at 4 percent from 10.3 percent a year ago, following Samsung Electronics Co at 31.3 percent, Apple at 15 percent, Research In Motion at 4.3 percent and ZTE Corp (中興) at 4.2 percent, research firm International Data Corp said.
HTC said during an investors’ conference call on Oct. 26 that it planned to continue marketing investment in a bid to increase its brand awareness in developed and emerging countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and to regain share in the smartphone market.
On Friday, HTC’s shares closed up 1.52 percent at NT$300.5 in Taipei trading, after domestic telecoms carriers reported that sales of HTC’s new high-end smartphone model, the Butterfly, were better than forecast.
In April 2011, HTC’s shares climbed as high as NT$1,300 — the highest mark on record — with market capitalization reaching up to NTS$1.06 trillion (US$36.5 billion).
However, due to worse-than-expected sales of its flagship model, the HTC One X, in the first half of last year and the negative impact of patent litigation with Apple, the company’s shares plunged to NT$194 in November, with market capitalization shrinking to NT$160 billion.
HTC did not make any forecasts about sales for the new year, nor did it comment on the International Consumer Electronics Show, which is to be held from Jan. 8 to Jan. 11 in Las Vegas, or its new products to be exhibited in the event.
Jeff Pu (蒲得宇), an equity research analyst at Taipei-based Fubon Securities (富邦證券), forecast HTC’s shipments this year would increase by 25.8 percent to 39 million units from 31 million units last year.
“HTC’s focus on maintaining a high marketing budget to keep its brand awareness is the right step,” Pu said in Fubon’s report, dated Dec. 17.
Pu said by telephone that he is optimistic that the penetration rate of HTC’s high-end 8X Windows Phone and low-end T328 series models would continue to increase in the US and China respectively, as the company begins to adopt new marketing strategies.