Chastened HTC turns to cheaper smartphones in search for profit

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htclBy Michael Gold and Sinead Carew

TAIPEI/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Smarting from growing losses, Taiwanese phone maker HTC Corp says it will expand its range of cheaper products as it fixes off-target marketing for its premium smartphones.

The company that has long prided itself as a purveyor of upscale, feature-loaded products says it needs to sell more mid-tier and affordable smartphones after losing out in 2013. Muscled off-track by fast-growing Chinese rivals like Xiaomi Inc as well as giants like Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc, HTC is seeking to reverse a two-year sales slump matched by an 80 percent drop in its share price.

“The problem with us last year was we only concentrated on our flagship. We missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market,” said co-founder and Chairwoman Cher Wang, speaking to Reuters in New York last week alongside Chialin Chang, HTC’s ‚ÄéChief Financial Officer.

Speaking ahead of an HTC earnings guidance presentation expected later on Monday, Chang said HTC will sell products in the $150 to $300 retail price range for both emerging and developed markets, along with high-end phones which can sell for over $600. HTC won’t get into the “very, very low-end market”, Chang said, but will soon unveil a new flagship phone.