HTC: Our competitors were 'too strong' last year

HTC: Our competitors were 'too strong' last year

Summary: HTC CEO Peter Chou has admitted that the firm's marketing decisions were poor last year, but believes "2013 will not be too bad."

htc peter chou ceo 2012 poor marketing strong competition

HTC CEO Peter Chou has admitted that the firm had a bad year, but believes HTC has survived the worst of it.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, HTC's CEO said that the company's marketing efforts failed in 2012, and competitors proved to be "too strong" for the ailing firm.

The Taiwanese firm's profits have slumped in recent years. In 2012, profits continued to slide quarter-on-quarter as HTC reported Q3 profits of $2.39 billion. Year-on-year, the company has seen profits drop 79 percent.

Remaining optimistic, Chou feels that the worst is over for the company -- which has suffered due to intense competition from rival firms Apple and Samsung -- and 2013 might not be a blazing success either.

"2013 will not be too bad," Chou told the WSJ. "Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing. We haven’t done enough on the marketing front."

Probably not the most inspiring words HTC's shareholders could hear, but due to competition and admittedly dropping the ball on marketing, it might be the best the new CEO can hope for. However, considering the firm's financial figures, marketing may be the least of its worries.

Marketing is only one side of the coin when it boils down to tech firm profitability. Even though rival smartphone makers like Samsung and Apple have top marketing teams equipped with plenty of capital, it is also necessary to fire consumer interest and get them excited about new products -- which may mean HTC should be looking at an inherent change in strategy rather than simply throwing money at marketing efforts.

Chou might be on the same train of thought, as he noted:

"Although we don't have as much money to counter [Samsung and Apple], the most important thing is to have unique products that appeal to consumers," adding that he had personally learned to "act fast and be responsive to market changes" over the past year.

Given the ever-changing state of the smartphone market, flexibility is important in order to keep up with competitors, as well as cater for consumer demand -- something which could prove key to HTC's eventual success or failure, considering that it was less than three years ago that the Taiwanese handset was the top dog when it came down to Android-supporting smartphones. To this end, an overhaul of HTC's management team took place last year, including the hire of a new marketing executive from Motorola Asia Pacific.

Within the interview with WSJ, HTC's CEO declined to comment on specific plans to try and propel the firm back into healthy balance sheets. However, the firm has attempted to battle its decline by tapping into the Chinese market, as well as enjoying good sales results from its Butterfly series smartphone in Japan.

HTC will be releasing its preliminary Q4 reports on Monday.

Topics: HTC, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • Sense = bad

    I never liked sense on gingerbread. unless it got any better i'm not surprised HTC took a nosedive.
    • I actually liked Sense

      I've had an Incredible S phone for almost two years and when I bought a Nexus 7 tablet I found that pure Android was quite... boring. I just wished HTC would have kept its promise to upgrade my phone to ICS as was promised and then forgotten.

      I think Sense gives a smoothness to the interface, adds some nice feature like opening Mail application directly into combined view, fullscreen weather animation, etc.

      One thing I could say to HTC is: stop making a million different handsets which you can't maintain correctly and makes just a few but keep the promised upgrades.
    • Only techies dislike Sense

      The general public are happy with it. It's the marketing that sold the S3 to the people, not HTC Sense.
    • Having used Sense

      and Touchwiz on phones I've owned and played with Motoblur on a friend's phone I have to say I prefer Sense over the rest. Sense however was not part of what affected HTC. Between strong competition and an unwillingness to upgrade their devices (the HTC Thunderbolt being a prime example) HTC slipped which is unfortunate as their hardware is the best of the bunch.
  • For me to be interested in HTC again

    Start including removable batteries and microsd slots.

    HTC Sense is lovely but it's largely the same as it was back in 2010, compare that with Samsung's Galaxy S TouchWiz on the S4/Note 2 and you'll see a shed load of unique innovation.
  • HTC Poor Quality

    Our household now uses three Samsung phones. We were early adopters to the HTC EVO. Great phone but with major flaws. First gen had huge problem with MicroUSB port failures, so you couldn't charge your phone. Sprint and HTC refused to replace the phones calling it "abuse". Many others had the same problem. Then the second generation had a severe limitation on available RAM for apps. Adding a large memory card didn't solve the problem as many apps would not work from the card. So, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... find another phone manufacturer.
  • HTC Management is clueless!

    They invest in Beats Audio (the EQ tech is cool, the headphones suck) and they could have created an iPod touch alternative with a better camera and a tie in to Amazon MP3 but, they ignore that market segment.

    They then take their phones, lock the Hotspots so that it doesn't work correctly, and remove the SDCard slot.

    As a former owner of the Rezound, I loved the phone and hated the locked Hotspot (Even though I paid for Tethering with Verizon, the hotspot didn't work correctly. If not for this one issue I might be using an HTC phone today but, I use a Samsung because they didn't mess with that feature.
  • I have 4 HTC phones right now.

    And not one of them does the phone part well enough for me to buy another. Bluetooth stack crashes at least once a week. And all of these smart 'phones' treat the phone part as an annoyance not to be granted any priority. I am currently testing samsung devices for my next purchase.
  • Taiwan is Just Generally Bad with Marketing.

    I grew up in Taiwan, and I am not surprised at all. There is NO Taiwan company that is serious about marketing. None at all. Korea is different and way superior in this respect -- even though both countries make superb products.

    Taiwan is beautiful (it's why the Portuguese called it Formosa). But you wouldn't know it. The tourism bureau puts out the barest of advertisements, and when they do, they are low-budget affairs (tons of verbiage with maybe one or two photos). Nothing about conveying an image ... a brand... just factoids.

    Taiwanese are a hardworking, humble and frugal bunch. This translates to making good products... but subpar and cheap promotional efforts.