HTC executives reveal plans for 2014 following a difficult year for the Taiwanese manufacturer
HTC has revealed its plans for 2014, indicating that its strategy will focus around a successor to the HTC One smartphone, the firms’ first wearable technology device and a “renewed focus on marketing.”
In an interview with Bloomberg, HTC CFO and head of global sales Chang Chialin states that he is optimistic the company’s fortunes can be turned around, saying that, “We feel positive and optimistic about 2014 when compared to 2013”.
“2013 wasn’t a very good year for HTC,” Chang said. “We have to admit we took our eyes somewhat off the ball in making sure we have a robust portfolio in the mid- and affordable end, which we’re fixing now.”
There has been much recent speculation surrounding the release of a successor to HTC’s critically-acclaimed One smartphone, which was originally released in March 2013. The next iteration of the device, apparently codenamed the M8, is rumoured to feature a twin-sensor rear camera and larger screen than its predecessor. It may see the light of day during Mobile World Congress later this month, or in a separate event in March, according to various reports.
According to recent Gartner reports, HTC’s global share of the smartphone market declined to 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2013 (from a peak of 10.3 percent in the third quarter of 2011), so new smartphone offerings are paramount for the company.
Company chairman Cher Wang confirmed that a wearable HTC device will be available by this year’s Christmas shopping season after years of development and technical challenges.
“Many years ago we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems,” she told Bloomberg. “These are customer-centric problems.”
The company’s focus on marketing has been one of its recent hallmarks, as last year it recruited actor Robert Downey Jr. to star in its television advertisements for the small matter of $12 million. Although this failed to translate into high sales for its devices, the company is set to continue its strong marketing push this year.
“To tell the truth, we never think marketing is that important — this is really not very good,” Wang told Bloomberg. “There’s a lot of ways to reach the audience right now.”
HTC had a topsy-turvy 2013, with the company recording both highs and lows as it strove to keep up with major competitors such as Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market.
Last month, the Taiwanese company announced it had recorded fourth quarter net income of T$310 million (£6 million), a major decline compared to the same period a year ago, when it recorded a net profit of over T$1 billion. The news led shares in the company to fall by 4 percent to around T$133, valuing the company overall at around $4 billion.
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