We will continue to invest in India: HTC on reports of shutting operations
After reports that HTC is shutting down its India operations, the company on Thursday said it will continue to invest in the country and will also launch phones in the future.
"The HTC brand is well received globally and 2018 will be a year for strong, accelerated execution of our strategy. We are laser-focused on creating and delivering more disruptive technologies and building our brand through the innovative, high quality products that our customers expect. Being an important market to HTC, we will continue to invest in India in the right segments and at the right time. We value our customer distribution partners and will have a bright future together. As an innovator leader, we shall continue to look for talents in strategic areas for further growth," said the company in a note.
"The technologies of virtual and augmented reality as well as artificial intelligence and high speed connectivity will converge with humanity to unleash our imagination and change our world. As 5G arrives, it will open up endless new possibilities with ubiquitous connections. Smartphones will be the first step in 5G for consumers, while VR, AR and AI will be the killer applications, and no other company is better positioned to deliver on this vision than HTC. This vision, that we call VIVE Reality, will completely revamp industries and improve lives," it added.
HTC's free fall
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that HTC was cutting a fifth of its global workforce after being hit by consecutive financial losses and declining smartphone sales.
The company was reportedly laying off some 1,500 manufacturing workers at its home turf, in an apparent attempt to "realign" resources, CNBC reported.
It has now reportedly laid off senior management in India. The company signed a $1.1 billion deal with Google in September last year that saw 2,000 HTC employees join the technology giant.
HTC, known for its flagship phone series called "One", manufactured Google's Pixel. The deal was part of Google's aim to boost its hardware business.
In June, HTC launched HTC Desire 12 and HTC Desire 12+ smartphones in India for ₹15,800 and ₹19,790, respectively.
Failure to evolve
The news of Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC shutting its India operations was on the cards as the company -- once the darling of Indian users -- could not cope up with the changing dynamics of the market amid rapid growth of Chinese players, experts said.
According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), it is more of a failure on the part of HTC to judge the competition as well as grasp the market realities.
A 2017 survey by CMR found that Samsung, Apple and HTC were rated by consumers as the most successful mobile brands in the first decade of smartphones in India. Nearly 78% of those surveyed named HTC as one of the most iconic brands in the country.
"HTC as innovative it was in technology could not match it with innovations in the business model or execution. The brand was either too late to adopt or didn't participate at all. This was the main reason for HTC to chart out a different trajectory against the market movements," said Faisal Kawoosa, Head-New Initiatives at CMR, in a statement.
Chinese brands like Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo have gained a lion's share of the Indian smartphone market, leaving HTC way behind.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group at CMR, there are some key lessons for other smartphone brands emerging from HTC's India exit.
"While smartphone innovation, and the constant battle for 'latest specs' is centric to a brand success, it is critical that it goes hand in hand with consumer as well as market understanding and underlying market realities," Ram said.
"HTC's most recent mid-range smartphone launch, the HTC Desire 12+, failed in getting its pricing right. At around ₹20,000, it did not offer a compelling reason for consumers to opt for it as other mobile handset brands offer far more, at far lesser prices," he noted.
"HTC which earlier had competition with brands like Sony or LG suddenly found itself surrounded by Chinese players and could not evolve to meet the growing needs of the users amid changing mobile landscape in India," Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, said.
(with inputs from IANS)