HTC J One in red to hit Japan over weekend
CNATAIPEI--Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. will begin offering its HTC J One handset in Japan with a red case over the weekend, hoping to repeat the success of its red HTC J Butterfly flagship model.
August 25, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Japanese carrier KDDI announced earlier this month that it will start sales of the red HTC J One smartphone on Aug. 24.
The HTC J One is tailored specifically for KDDI, Japan's second largest telecom carrier.
Jack Tong, chairman of HTC's China operations who also serves as the company's North Asia president, said HTC has successfully expanded its brand awareness in Japan over the past year.
Citing internal HTC data, Tong said the company's brand awareness in Japan was only 4 percent when the HTC J Butterfly series of smartphones was introduced in the Japanese market in December 2012.
“Now our brand awareness in Japan has reached 50 percent,” he said.
The HTC J Butterfly overtook Apple's iPhone 5 as the top seller on KDDI's sales rankings for the week of Dec. 10-16, 2012.
It also moved into BCN Inc's top 10 list of mobile devices in Japan, fell off when it was plagued by component shortages, and then returned to the list in mid-April.
Noting that HTC has worked well with KDDI, Tong said the company expects to build a strong foothold in Japan through partnership with KDDI and further increase its brand awareness and customer recognition.
HTC, meanwhile, is making other moves to get its business back on track after warning recently that it could post an operating loss in the third quarter of this year, which would be its first quarterly loss since it became a listed company in 2002.
It has announced a plan to issue 15 million employee stock option certificates, equal to 15 million common shares, as part of efforts to retain talent and boost employee morale following the recent exodus of several top executives and a plunge in its share price.
HTC shares have fallen from a closing price of NT$301 on April 30 to NT$155 on Friday, hurt by a slowdown in sales after peaking in May. The company saw sales fall 29 percent month-on-month and 37 percent year-on-year to NT$15.7 billion in July.
HTC has also said it plans to release more mid-tier smartphone models in the second half of the year to help improve sales.
A United Evening News (UEN) said Thursday that one of the new models could be known as the HTC Zara.
Citing foreign technology websites, the report said HTC Zara will come with a 1.2 GHz dual core Qualcomm processor with 1GB memory and 8GB storage.
The Android 4.3-powered smartphone with an 8-megapixel camera is scheduled for release in Q4, the report said.
Pierre Ferragu, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein market research firm, rekindled speculation among foreign brokers that HTC may be an acquisition target of Chinese companies like Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo.
The Chinese companies are aggressively seeking to expand their shares of the global mobile market, and HTC, with a rich R&D talent pool and patent portfolio, could be a good acquisition bet, Ferragu said, according to the UEN report.
But local market analysts ruled out the possibility, saying it even refuses to spin-off its manufacturing operation, much less entertain merger or acquisition bids, they said.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said recently it remained reserved about HTC's business outlook because the life cycle of new smartphone models has become increasingly shorter.
Nevertheless, some analysts gave a more upbeat forecast, saying the company is striving to expand market shares in several major markets, including the United States, China, U.K., Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and Russia.