Taiwanese mobile phone major HTC appears to be winding up its marketing operations in India almost a year after it had suspended its local manufacturing. HTC spokespersons seemed to indicate that the company may continue to sell its phones via online stores and may even stage a comeback later.
The indications for this have been coming since some time. Back in Taiwan, HTC has already laid off a third of its workforce just recently as reported even in this column. In India, 3 top executives have confirmed that they have put in their papers. These include the Country Head, Sales Head and Product Head, a clear signal that HTC is shutting shop in the country.
The office may be run with a skeletal staff numbering 10 or less. The rest have been asked to leave. But there appear to be some issues the company may face before it can walk away.
The company had commercial agreements with distributors in the country for their mobile phones and they are now claiming that HTC owes them money plus the fate of the stocks in transit has also not been resolved. The amount may run into a few crores according to reports. Link Telecom and MPS Telecom were the nationwide distributors. On HTC’s part, the company claims it is aware there are a few issues but it is committed to resolving the, amicably and won’t be a factor in the normal running of the business.
Two things emerging out of reports are that HTC will continue selling its virtual reality products in India and that if and when it makes a comeback, it will be only in the online avatar and no offline sales will be attempted.
But officially, HTC claims it is in the process of regrouping itself as an international player in the smartphone and other products and is currently going through a tough phase. Once it has put its house in order globally, it will definitely take a relook at India since such a huge market for mobile phones cannot be ignored for long.
Though HTC did launch a couple of its new devices in the country as recently as last month, it has not been able to impress the buyers to pick up its products and its overall share in the market is less than 1%. It has to be noted that HTC tried its hand in the premium segment here but that market is now in the hands of Samsung, Apple and some of the Chinese smartphone makers.