HTC is hurting. Their devices aren’t meeting expectations in Europe, the One X faced some legal issues in the United States that delayed sales, and Samsung has proven that they have better relationships with the operators than even Apple has with AT&T and Verizon. According to a report from DigiTimes, roughly 80% of HTC’s revenues currently come from Europe and the United States. They want to change that. Their goal is to have one third (33%) of their revenue coming from China by the end of this year. Should we interpret this as a sign that HTC has recognized that they’re simply not competitive enough in the West? Or should we think about this news another way, that HTC is thinking about their future? We’d like to remind you that something special happened in November 2011: China became the world’s largest smartphone market. They stole that title from the United States. Now yes, the kinds of smartphones that Americans buy are several times more expensive than the smartphones typically sold in China, but on the flip side there are more than 4x as many Chinese people in China than American people in America.
If HTC is serious about having China being responsible for a larger portion of their business, then we hope they know what they’re getting themselves into. Think about all the local brands in that market that release devices for a fraction of the cost of an equivalent Samsung or Nokia handset. And when it comes to the high end, Apple’s got that section of the market to themselves.
Where did HTC go wrong? Their devices are great, but they don’t have the distribution channels that the big boys have. That and at the end of the day they don’t really make anything themselves other than Sense UI. Their chips come from Qualcomm, their software is made by Google, so what sort of value are they adding?