HTC Won’t Join the Battle for the Bottom

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HTC is based in China, so some might be tempted to think it’s going to join the bare-knuckles brawl going on for market share in mainland China. The company’s CEO says that’s not the case.

HTCEven though the company’s headquarters are in Taiwan, CEO Peter Chou made it clear in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that his company’s focus is on the the mid-range and high-end models that do better in Europe and America, not the bare-bones devices that sell well in China, even if it will soon be the world’s biggest market for smartphones.

Chou said that HTC doesn’t want to make the kind of compromises that are necessary to create a really entry-level handset. “We don’t want to destroy our brand image. We insist on using better materials to make better products that offer premium experience.”

HTC introduced three new models this spring, with the least expensive of them being the One V. This model can be found for as little as $300 without a carrier subsidy, but the company isn’t going to go below that.  “We won’t have good products at that price level,” said Chou.

Even if it did, super-cheap handsets created for emerging markets are generally not available in the developed world.

We’re in a Tight Spot!

Chou’s comments are bold, given his company’s current situation. At the beginning of last fall, it was the top-selling maker of Android smartphones in the U.S. Then it was supplanted by Samsung with its very popular Galaxy S II, and since then, HTC has had three straight quarters of declining profits.

The company has said it wants to increase its sales in emerging markets, but Chou’s comments show that its real focus is on turning things around with its more powerful offerings, like the HTC One X.

HTC is one of just a handful of companies that makes smartphones with a range of operating systems, even if that range isn’t very wide. It makes handsets with Google’s Android as well as ones with Microsoft Windows Phone. At present, the company has stepped out of the tablet market.  

Be sure to read Brighthand‘s review of AT&T’s HTC One X.

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