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HTC eyeing young talent for 4G development

TAIPEI -- HTC Corp. took part in a local job fair on Sunday to find more young employees who can help the Taiwanese smartphone maker strengthen its lineup of 4G-enabled handsets.

The Taoyuan-based company plans to hire about 1,000 employees worldwide this year, including 300 fresh graduates, and is looking for hardware engineers, software engineers, designers, operational engineers and product testing engineers.

While the number of the overall job openings is roughly the same as that of last year, HTC expects 10 percent of its new jobs for 2014 to be associated with 4G product development, said Crystal Liu, vice president of HTC's talent management division.

The approach breaks with the past, because HTC has generally nurtured employees with 4G specialties through internal training rather than hiring people from outside the company, Liu told CNA at the job fair organized by National Taiwan University.

“We're looking for fresh graduates who are rich in imagination and creativity, and those who can devote themselves to their work,” she said. “We want to find the best talent, people who can perfectly fit our company's DNA and culture to seek innovation.”

According to a person familiar with HTC's entry-level salaries, research engineers with a bachelor's degree will receive a monthly salary of between NT$38,000 (US$1,258) and NT$45,000, while those with a master's degree will be paid NT$45,000-NT$55,000 per month.

Both figures are higher than the industry average, the person said, asking not to be identified because the pay levels are considered confidential.

HTC's recruitment plans come at a time when the company hopes to become Taiwan's biggest manufacturer of 4G phones in the second half of this year, when the country is due to begin operation of its 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network.

To narrow the gap with leading players in the affordable 4G phone segment, HTC unveiled two new mid-tier Desire phones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February, using chipsets from its long-time partner Qualcomm Inc. and using its BoomSound and BlinkFeed features that are normally seen on its high-end models.

The phone vendor is also diversifying its chipset suppliers for lower-end 4G LTE phones as part of a strategy to reduce costs and win back market share.

The entry-level Desire 310 is the first HTC smartphone to use a chipset from Taiwan's MediaTek Inc., which is the leading chip supplier to Chinese smartphones.

But analysts at foreign brokerages are skeptical that HTC's strategy of adjusting its product portfolio will work because of concerns that the company will have trouble gaining traction in the fiercely competitive lower-end smartphone market.

UBS Securities estimated in a Feb. 6 research note that HTC's shipments could drop from last year's 21.9 million units to 20.2 million units this year, citing HTC's lack of scale.

HTC shares closed down 1.43 percent at NT$138 Friday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

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