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With its finances slipping further and further, HTC’s 2016 flagship, the 10, needs to be a One, at least in terms of the ideal market share ranking the phone would ideally propel its maker to. Indeed the media has praised the device, heralding it as a welcome return-to-form for the Taiwanese OEM and serving to right the perceived “wrongs” of last year’s M9. If one report out of China is any indication of what is yet to come, the results are unfortunately going to keep more than a few up at night.

According to Focus Taiwan, “preorder sales data [is] showing a lack of interest in the new device in the China market.” Specifically, two major Chinese e-commerce venues were examined, TMall and Jingong Mall. The results? “[sic] On April 25. Eleven days into the preorder sale, only 251 units of the HTC 10 have been ordered.”

Curiously the issue here, at least according to the sources Focus Taiwan spoke with, indicated that the issue is not so much the maker or the hardware in and of themselves, but rather what’s inside it:

Market sources said that Chinese consumers are irritated by a move by HTC to use a lower grade of specifications for the HTC 10 offered in the China market than the version provided in other markets around the world.

Although HTC has priced the HTC 10 in China at 3,799 Chinese yuan (US$584) or about NT$19,000, which is lower than the NT$24,900 set in the Taiwan market, Chinese consumers still did not want to buy the pricing strategies.

The problem is quite apparent when the internals are considered. Whereas the standard configuration of the HTC 10 makes use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, the company’s latest and greatest mobile computing processor, the Chinese configuration is apparently only receiving a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC in order to provide the lower price point for the market.

Focus Taiwan has sought a response from HTC regarding the alarmingly low pre-sale data however as of the time of publishing – both its article and this one – no statement has yet been provided.

A proper concern or a sideline setback?

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While some might seek to immediately peg the HTC 10 as a flop based on the idea contained in the headline of this piece, it is important to consider several aspects, namely that (1) the report involves just two online storefronts and only pre-orders at that, and (2) the hardware is different from what the majority of the world will receive and (3) the data is from April 25th making it over a week old.

There is still some general cause for concern however, as HTC depends on far more than just a single market – such as that in the United States – to contribute to its profit picture. While some may feel the 10 will indeed be a smash success and catapult the company back to a healthy market situation, there is a very real possibility it will be another “wolf in sheep’s clothing” so to speak, not unlike what the LG G4 turned out to be for LG Electronics last year. This is to say that, while it may seem like there is great energy and interest going into the product’s launch and release, the actual results could be damaging to the overall fiscal picture due to a poor reception.

Had the HTC 10 launched perhaps back in 2014 or even 2015, the potential of its success would have been that much higher, but with Samsung now exerting dominance or increased control over the market in multiple territories, including the USA, it stands to potentially lessen the impact HTC’s high end offering can have on the global smartphone market. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are proving to be difficult products for competitors to topple, including Apple.

Wrap Up

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Now that HTC has officially begun to ship the 10 to pre-orders in the USA, a more complete picture of the product’s pending performance will soon be within reach. Until then however, it is impossible to say one way or another just how the device will fare, though at least based on this report, the potential for smooth sales in China don’t appear to be a presumptive prospect.

What do you think? Will the HTC 10 ultimately bomb, or does the Taiwanese company have a true winner on its hands?