HTC: Our competitors were 'too strong' last year

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.

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