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HTC Corp. seeks change, bets on new devices and renewed focus on marketing

HTC Corp. announced there is an updated version of its first wearable device – the One smartphone, which is expected to help the company exit the vicious circle of two consecutive annual revenue declines, along with a renewed focus on marketing.

The Chief Financial Officer and Head of global sales of HTC – Chang Chialin, said in an interview for Bloomberg: “We feel positive and optimistic about 2014 when compared to 2013.” Chialin refused to provide a forecast before the companys investor conference call scheduled for February the 10th is held.

HTC Corp., once the leading smartphone manufacturer on the U.S. market, saw a 30% drop in sales last year due to product delays and narrowing marketing budget, causing it to lose ground to LG Electronics Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd.

The Chairman of the company – Cher Wang, said in an interview, cited by Bloomberg: “Many years ago we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems. These are customer-centric problems.” Wang explained that a wearable device will be available by 2014s Christmas shopping season after development process that took years of hard work and having faced technical challenges.

Ms. Wang, who is a co-founder of HTC Corp. together with the current Chief Executive Officer Peter Chou and his predecessor H.T. Cho, revealed that the company is making some plans of renewing its marketing efforts.

This decision has been also provoked by the fact that its One smartphone, which was well-received by the customers last year, proved insufficient to increase HTCs revenue. Ms. Wang said: “To tell the truth, we never think marketing is that important – this is really not very good. It’s really not only the budget increase, it’s the way how you spend the money. Is it smart? There’s a lot of ways to reach the audience right now.”

In 2013, HTC Corp. posted its shares third annual decline. The companys revenue decreased to 203.4 billion New Taiwan dollars (6.7 billion dollars) and its first annual net loss was reported. According to some data compiled by Bloomberg, the companys sales and marketing budget decreased 20% in 2012, and was 9% lower for the year through on September the 30th.

An eventual revenue increase in 2014 would be the companys first one since its 67%-climb in 2011. According to some analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg, HTC is forecast to post a 5%-decrease in its sales to 193 billion New Taiwan dollars. The net loss of the company is considered to shrink to 795 million New Taiwan dollars.

Dennis Chan, who works for Yuanta Financial holding Co. said in a telephone interview for Bloomberg: “It’s a good thing that they’re recognizing the importance of marketing. I need to be hearing some good pre-order volume for their flagship handset, which I am not hearing yet.”

HTC Corp.s shares settled Thursdays session at TWD 129.50 in Taiwan, up 0.39% on the day, the first increase in six days.

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