By John Liu, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. announced yesterday that it will introduce budget 4G phones in a bid to make headway in the as yet untapped under-NT$5,000 market. HTC aims to bring new ideas and innovative designs to this particular market segment, said HTC North Asia President Jack Tong (���T�}) yesterday. With a 20-percent market share, HTC is considered the leader in the market for 5.5-inch smartphones priced in the NT$5,000 range, Tong said. As HTC plans to roll out more models across market segments, the company’s first-quarter sales in Taiwan will see double-digit growth, Tong said confidently. A survey found HTC has at least 30 percent market share in another three market segments. They are phones priced between NT$5,000-NT$10,000, NT$10,000-NT$15,000 and NT$15,000-NT$20,000. For the NT$20,000 and above phone market, Apple has grabbed most of the market share with its iPhone 6. Company Reports Doubled Revenues Thanks to an effective VIP service program, HTC’s revenues doubled in the fourth quarter from the previous one. The company has set the goal of doubling its sales in 2015 year-on-year. 2015 is a critical year for HTC, Tong said. Besides rolling out a full range of new phones, HTC will be very active in expanding storefronts. ��HTC everywhere�� is the goal, Tong said.
There are currently a total of 72 storefronts that sell HTC phones. (19 designated HTC stores in addition to telecom operators) HTC plans to expand the number to 100 this year. The company is banking on more consumers switching to a 4G network and a quicker purchase cycle. Given these developments, Tong predicted that HTC’s sales will grow quarter-by-quarter in 2015. Launched in September, the VIP service offers an extended warranty, discount accessories, fast phone repair and maintenance and invitations to special events, among others. Up to 4,500 HTC customers have attended HTC-sponsored musical concerts as part of the VIP program, HTC said, adding that it will sponsor more events down the road. The company believes the VIP program was a major draw for last year’s high revenues. High Popularity of Select Models The high popularity of some HTC phones is another contributor. The HTC One M8 edged out the iPhone 6 Plus to be crowned ��Phone of the Year�� in 2014 by Taiwan’s technology site ePrice. In addition, the HTC Desire 820 Dual Sim was selected as the ��best value�� phone, while HTC Desire Eye was picked ��the best phone for a selfie.�� HTC introduced the HTC RE (priced at NT$4,990) to Taiwanese consumers in December and the phone has received great feedback so far. The discount price will be available until Feb. 28 at designated HTC stores, the company said. The recently unveiled red HTC RE is the first of its kind in the world. The phone is directed toward those who are shopping for the coming Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year.