HTC described as brand ‘fading away’ from India market

New Delhi, Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp., which introduced the Android operating system to India, is now "fading away" from the world's second largest smartphone market in the world, according to tech website Quartz India.

In a report Monday, Quartz India said HTC has laid off about 80 employees in India, including country head Faisal Siddiqui, sales head Vijay Balachandran, and product head R. Nayyar.

It now has only 10 employees left there.

"Android may rule 90 percent of the Indian smartphone market today, but the firm that introduced Indians to the operating system a decade ago has almost disappeared," the tech website said in the report titled "The phone maker that introduced Android to India is fading away."

The report came after HTC announced on July 2 that the company will lay off 1,500 employees, or about a quarter of its global payroll, by the end of September to optimize the company's resources through a "strategic adjustment of its workforce."

Quartz India said Android phones have been welcomed by Indian consumers since HTC first introduced an Android-powered smartphone in India in 2009.

Citing a survey conducted by CyberMedia Research in February 2017, the report said HTC had the third highest brand recall among Indian consumers, but data compiled by Counterpoint Research at the end of March 2018 found that HTC's market share in India had fallen to almost zero.

Following the layoff of the 80 employees in India, HTC said in a statement: "It has been an amazing journey we've taken to arrive here. We have an incredibly bright future ahead."

"It will require us, as an organization, to be resilient and completely focused on the tasks at hand," HTC said in the statement.

HTC said it will continue to invest in India in the "right segment and in the right time," according to the report, which said HTC will continue to extend its reach in virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

Quartz India expressed doubts, however, about HTC's strategy in India.

The tech website quoted Jaipal Singh, senior analyst at market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), as saying HTC did not have a good understanding of the Indian market.

"The Indian market is very dynamic and very competitive now. So if you want to be in India, you have to be aggressive," Singh said in the report.

"Xiaomi is very aggressive. Oppo and Vivo are going all out to market their devices. (But) HTC has not been able to read the market. It has remained silent for a very long time. We haven't heard much about its campaigns."

Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are three of the major Chinese smartphone brands.

Sanjay, a veteran sales manager of a phone store in New Delhi, told CNA he had no clue why HTC, which has impressed Indian consumers, has not launched any large scale marketing campaigns in the Indian city for a long time.

In recent months, Sanjay said, no HTC phones have been put up for sale in the retail store in New Delhi.

In the first six months of the year, HTC's consolidated sales were NT$15.56 billion (US$507 million), down 49.25 percent from a year earlier.

In the first quarter, HTC posted a net profit of NT$21.1 billion, compared with a net loss of NT$9.8 billion in the previous quarter, with earnings per share of NT$25.70.

However, the first quarter results, which ended 11 consecutive quarters of losses, were boosted by a deal in which the company sold its smartphone ODM assets to Google last year.

In 2017, HTC incurred a net loss of NT$16.91 billion and a loss per share of NT$20.58, the highest since it listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in March 2002.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel