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New HTC One to debut in mainland China on April 24

TAIPEI -- Taiwan-based HTC Corp. confirmed yesterday that it will hold a press conference in Beijing April 24 to launch its latest flagship handset.

The company said that it sent an email invitation for the news event to Chinese media early this month, but declined to identify how many telecom operators will be partnering with it in selling the new HTC One phone.

No pricing or retail launch date was available.

The information came after the media in Hong Kong reported April 8 that HTC plans to unveil three customized versions of the phone for the top three telecom operators in China during the launch.

Unlike the standard model launched in other countries, the Chinese variants of the HTC One are designed with a removable back cover, dual-SIM ports and a micro-SD card slot for extra storage expansion, the reports said.

HTC said in early March that it had been in talks with the top three carriers in China to sell the HTC One there and that the phone will likely go on sale before a week-long holiday begins May 1.

The company noted that the 16GB model of the HTC One, costing NT$19,900 (US$664), will not be sold in China because it is a special version for Taiwan only.

Ben Ho, chief marketing officer of HTC, said March 25 at a local media briefing that HTC has developed about 14,000 distribution outlets in tier-one to tier-three Chinese cities and aims to increase the number to 15,000.

HTC's top marketer described the company's distribution approach in China as different from its strategy in other markets because it has to rely on its own marketing muscle rather than on cooperation with telecom operators.

The handset maker also faces an unusually competitive market because Chinese consumers appear to be more sensitive to pricing than elsewhere, Ho said.

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