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HTC touts availability of next phone

TAIPEI -- HTC (宏達電) Corp. declined to comment yesterday on a media report that it will roll out its newest flagship smartphone model faster than last year, but said it remains committed to better availability of the phone as planned.

The news site HTC Source reported March 8 that the all new HTC One will go on sale in 110 countries around the world two weeks after its official launch on March 25 in New York and London.

The Taiwanese company declined to comment directly on the report, but cited its Chief Financial Officer Chang Chia-lin (張嘉臨) as saying during an earnings conference call on Feb. 10 that the “readiness” period for this year's flagship phone will be “a lot shorter” than last year when the company rolled out its HTC One.

From a market perspective, however, the successor to the HTC One will go head to-head against Samsung Electronics Co.'s new flagship Galaxy S5, which will be available from April 11 in 150 countries.

Last year, HTC's initial shipments of the original HTC One were delayed in certain key markets, including the United States, by up to a month because of component shortages after the model's release in February 2013.

The unexpected delay dragged down the company's revenue in the first quarter of 2013 to NT$42.8 billion (US$1.4 billion), well short of its sales forecast of between NT$50 billion and NT$60 billion.

To ensure a better supply of new products this year, HTC CEO Peter Chou (周永明) last October transferred some of his operational duties to Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) so that he could focus on product development.

The decision was followed by the appointment of CFO Chang as HTC's new global sales chief in December, in the hope that he could help the struggling phone maker expand sales and enter new distribution channels.

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