HTC to ‘improve marketing’ and focus on mid-tier phones

HTC has said improvements to marketing and a reinvigorated focus on mid-tier smartphones will help its return to profit in 2014.

A still-frame from HTC’s 2013 brand campaign starring Robert Downey Jr.

The Taiwanese smartphone maker forecast a wider than expected net loss of between 860 million Taiwanese dollars (NT$) and NT$3.11 for the first quarter of 2014, with revenues also set to shrink in the three months to 31 March as it faces intense competition from the likes of Samsung, Apple and LG.

However, the company believes it will be in a stronger position at the end of the year as it plans to strengthen its “mid and affordable” product portfolio, according to HTC’s chief financial officer Chialin Chang who was speaking on the company’s earning call this morning (10 February).

Chang also said the company is preparing an “exciting marketing campaign” which will help it “communicate better” with consumers than its activity in 2013.

Speaking to Reuters ahead of the earnings call, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said the company “didn’t do well” in marketing last year and added it would need to launch a “very aggressive campaign” to broaden its audience beyond young, tech savvy consumers.

Last year HTC launched a $1bn brand campaign starring Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr, but it does not appear to have resonated with consumers.

HTC faces a sizeable challenge in returning to its dominant position just two years ago, where it had a 10 per cent share of the global smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics. It now has just a 2 per cent share.

HTC posted a net profit if NT$310m in its fourth quarter, which was largely driven by asset sales. The company posted its first net loss, of NT$3bn, in the previous quarter.

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