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HTC seeks to cash in on smartphone popularity

HTC aims to be the No 3 player in both South Asia's and Thailand's smartphone markets, targeting a double-digit share and growth rate this year.

HTC South Asia president Jack Yang said the smartphone market was rapidly growing throughout Asia, and there were huge opportunities for the Taiwanese company to cash in on this high demand.

Thailand's smartphone market in particular is growing very quickly, he said. Smartphones now account for more than 60 per cent of total mobile phones, a big jump in just a few years.

He said this country was in the top five of HTC's strategic markets in Asia.

"Our marketing budget, which actually we cannot disclose, is set to be bigger than last year. The smartphone market is continuously growing and the market is very dynamic. Users need more variety of products, in terms of features and design. There is room for us to tap in. We will be more aggressive here," Yang said.

The company has adjusted its strategy by offering more than just high-end products. It is also working closely with Total Access Communication (DTAC) for the phones' distribution.

"The HTC brand is strong in the high-tier market. We focus on developing and offering premium products for customers. Now, we will expand to the mid-tier market. We really focus on premium products in the mid-to-high-tier markets. But we also will be in the low-tier market as well. We want to be the best smartphone in each market, but we will not compete in the very low-end market. We have designed HTC's user interface to be consistent through low-, mid- and high-tier products," he said.

He added that Thailand's smartphone market was competitive but there were huge opportunities, especially in the mid-tier market, where smartphone prices are between Bt10,000 and Bt20,000, and in the high-tier market, where prices are more than Bt20,000.

"In Thailand, the huge market is the low to mid-tier, where users are moving from 2G to 3G networks.

"Based on my own personal opinion, we think we should have two models for each market tier, that is, we should have six models. But all of them need to be different in features and design."

HTC (Thailand) country manager Phonnarong Watthanaphotthitthorn said that by end of this month, it would launch the HTC Desire 310 for the low-tier market with a price between Bt4,000 and Bt5,000 and HTC Desire 816 for the mid-tier market. HTC One (M8) is its flagship product in the high-tier market.

"We will work exclusively with DTAC, as our strategic partner, to distribute HTC smartphones with the appropriate package plan for our customers," Phonnarong |said.


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