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June 27, 2017

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HTC vies for 4G windfall on both side of strait

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Following China Mobile's (CM, 中國移動) partners' conference next year, the market is anticipating HTC (宏達電), along with a number of Taiwanese companies to capitalize on immense projected revenue prospects spurred on by the forthcoming fourth-generation (4G) broadband network on both sides of the strait.

In its partners' conference last year, CM announced the company's plans to sell in excess of 190 million to 220 million handsets this year. Most notably, CM stated that sales of handsets equipped with connectivity to the company's latest time division long-term-evolution mobile (TD-LTE) broadband network would reach the 100-million-unit benchmark.

Currently, CM offers its subscribers eight handset models equipped with TD-LTE connectivity from manufacturers including Samsung, Sony, HTC and five mainland Chinese brands. HTC is expected to see rising sales from the China market as the 4G network continues to proliferate in the region.

According to investment analysts, HTC is poised to take advantage of Apple's lagging progress in producing iPhone 5S and 5C variants that are compatible with China's TD-LTE networks. While Apple's handsets remains incompatible with China's network, HTC's TD-LTE-capable One Max handsets have generated stellar reviews in the mainland market since its launch late last year, garnering encouraging sales figures among China's big three telecoms carriers.

In addition, CM last year also hinted at plans to release branded handsets in collaboration with major smartphone brand names.

Foreign institutional investors, however, maintain a more conservative outlook on HTC's prospects in the China market, estimating the windfall in sales at about 3 million additional handset units, instead of the 10 million units projected by market commentators.

Meanwhile, in an effort to reverse expanding losses incurred in 2013, HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) late last year stated that she intends to increase the company's hold on China's high-end smartphone market to 20 percent by the end of this year.

For the Taiwan market, the company stated it intends to recreate the stellar sales results of the HTC One and Butterfly S flagship handset models, unseating Samsung from the leading position in sales. According to the company, telecoms carriers are expected to increase handset procurement volumes dramatically this year, and offer steeper contract subsidies on handset purchases, offering more favorable terms to subscribers compared to the previous 3G era. Over 50 percent of handset procurements by telecoms carriers are expected to be have 4G connectivity, said HTC.

Topology Research Institute (TRI, 拓樸產業研究所) stated that HTC currently holds an estimated 5 percent of the China smartphone market. In meeting its 20-percent market share goal in the China market, the institute advised HTC to increase efforts toward optimizing its brand name marketing, distribution and supply chain management. According to Topology, HTC must ensure full coverage on both the high- and lower-end smartphone users of China to in hopes of garnering maximum market share amid heightened competition from rivaling manufacturers.

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