HTC chairperson assures public on company’s future

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 - Page 13

HTC Corp (宏達電) chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) yesterday denied speculation that the smartphone vendor might replace its top executive because of the company’s lackluster performance in recent years.

Chief executive officer Peter Chou (周永明) “has done a great job,” Wang said, adding that there are no plans to remove him.

She stressed that everyone in the company, including herself, must come down to earth and continue moving forward to cope with the challenges in the smartphone market.

“HTC has many innovative products and will continue to work to introduce our excellent products to everyone in the world,” Wang said while attending the Asia-Pacific Cities Summit in Greater Kaohsiung.

Her remarks came ahead of Apple Inc’s launch of a new high-end phone, likely called the 5S, and a lower-cost iPhone, dubbed the 5C, during an invitation-only special event at Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley today.

It was also Wang’s first meeting with media after the company made headlines earlier this month, when some employees were detained by prosecutors on suspicion of having leaked of trade secrets.

The company’s shares have continued to trend lower since the end of last month due to the company’s disappointing sales and the possible technology leak allegedly involving three employees, including HTC research department vice general manager Chien Chih-lin (簡志霖) and department director Wu Chien-hung (吳建弘).

Legal sources said the three allegedly set up their own companies in Taiwan and China and are likely to work with Chinese smartphone vendors to develop new models using technology they stole from HTC.

Commenting on the incident, Wang said the technology theft is a criminal act committed by individual employees and she added that the theft will not lead to losses for HTC or impact the company’s operations, thanks to the company’s “strict management system.”

HTC will continue to work to expand its presence in the Chinese market, she said.

In view of Microsoft Corp’s recent acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone business, Wang said she has no plan to sell the company or any of the company’s factories, because “HTC is important to Taiwan and to the world.”

Shares of HTC closed down 3.82 percent to NT$126 yesterday. The stock has fallen 58.07 percent so far this year and pulled back more than 90 percent from a high of NT$1,300 in April last year.