HTC is trying hard to stop the decline it’s been facing since its fortunes peaked, back in 2011. From a global market share of about ten percent and a good slice of the crucial American market, the Taiwanese company dropped to less than four percent in 2012. Profits and market valuation plummeted to a small fraction of what they used to be, and many rushed to write off HTC as a dying company.
But Peter Chou, HTC’s charismatic chief executive officer, thinks otherwise. This week, Chou denied that he has any plans to step down from HTC, and stated that he’s ready to do whatever it takes to make a turnaround happen.
At a shareholder meeting today, Peter Chou reiterated his commitment to turning HTC around and even laid out some very optimistic goals for the future. In Chou’s vision, 10-15% of the global market share is a realistic target for HTC:
We managed to maintain a 4-percent global smartphone market share last year and we are determined to do our best to expand the percentage to 10 to 15 percent in the future.
Peter Chou, HTC
Chou went on to ask shareholders for more time for the company to stage a comeback, though he acknowledged that HTC has its work cut out for it. So how does HTC plan to beat Samsung and Apple? Through heavy investment in research and development and an emphasis on marketing.
We will redouble our efforts this year to further enhance our brand recognition and loyalty around the world
Peter Chou, HTC
Now, skeptics may point out that HTC has been singing this tune for a while now, with little palpable results. But some encouraging signs exist – even if HTC hasn’t managed to sell five million units of the One, as one executive reportedly told WSJ, the aluminum device has been received with enthusiasm by critics and users alike, and is said to be selling well.
As for marketing, the company did become more visible in the past few months. It brazenly hijacked the launch of the Galaxy S4 in New York to show off the One, and is now reportedly tapping into the celeb power of Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr., who will endorse the brand in a $12 million deal.
Will HTC manage to ever get to 15 percent global market share? It’s hard to tell, but it’s certainly not impossible. The mobile market is fickly – just two years ago, HTC was flying high, and here it is today, struggling to survive.
Are the fortunes turning up again for HTC? We can only hope so.