HTC aims to span pricing tiers

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC is refocusing on providing devices across more price tiers and will strive to improve its marketing efforts, the company told as it seeks to turn its fortunes around.

Dawinderpal Sahota

March 26, 2014

3 Min Read
HTC aims to span pricing tiers
HTC has explained to how it intends to turn around its fortunes in 2014

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC is refocusing on providing devices across more price tiers and will strive to improve its marketing efforts, the company told as it seeks to turn its fortunes around.

The manufacturer posted its first ever loss in October last year; a net loss of NT$3bn ($100m) for 3Q13. It followed that performance with a modest net profit of NT$310m in 4Q13.

The firm said it has learned from mistakes made last year. Speaking at the launch of the flagship smartphone the HTC One M8, Peter Frølund, managing director of HTC’s Nordic region, said when it introduced the HTC One in 2013 it was too focused on this one handset.

“There was a tendency in 2013 to say HTC is all about the HTC One,” said Frølund. “In Barcelona at Mobile World Congress we launched another flagship phone; our mid-tier phone, the HTC Desire 816 and more recently we launched the Desire 310, and that sits even further down the price tier. We believe we need to be relevant across more price tiers and we failed to deliver on that in 2013.”

He added that feedback from the mobile operator community also prompted HTC to act as operators have also told the firm that they want devices that span more price tiers.

“I think what operators want from us is two things: they want us to innovate and to support them when they invest in new technology, such as 4G,” he said. “But they also want us to offer devices in different price tiers.”

“Because people are different we want to have more products, whether they are differentiated by price tier or by screen size, because we believe people have different needs and different wishes for their smartphones, and we are taking that feedback from operators and changing that. We believe that by addressing those price tiers and by continuing to be the thought leader in the space, the numbers [of device we sell] will follow.”

Another reason that has been cited by analysts for HTC’s underwhelming financial performance of late has been the vastly successful marketing plays of its rivals Samsung and Apple. Frølund admits that there have been shortcomings in HTC’s marketing strategy and insists that this is another thing the firm hopes to put right in 2014.

“We can’t compete with our rivals in terms of marketing budget, but we feel we can definitely compete by having the best product, and that’s a good starting point,” he said.

“From a marketing point of view you will see us do more in 2014 than we did last year. And you will also see us being probably a little bit clearer in our communications. We need to be a bit critical of ourselves, we tried to do a bit too much last year; we talked about the new features we introduced but all our customers and store staff were talking about the design. We did begin to change that in 2013, but what you will see from us in 2014 is that we’ll be talking about design, full stop.”

And Frølund also dropped a hint that HTC expects to act on another criticism that has been levied at the firm by analysts; the fact that it only produces handsets, whereas its competitors also produce tablets and often other consumer electronics, such as TVs, music players and laptops.

“We see ourselves as the smartphone specialist and we believe that by really focusing, we can come out with something that is super-compelling in the smartphone segment,” he stated. “That said, our chairlady made a few comments a short time ago suggesting that you will see us do more in 2014, but exactly what, that’s not something that we can share at this point.”

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