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HTC introducing cheaper phones to turn around slumping finances

HTC introducing cheaper phones to turn around slumping finances

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HTC will increase the number of midrange phones it offers in 2014, and sell them for a cheaper price than its current models. Chang Chia-Lin, the Taiwanese company's chief financial officer, said HTC would sell products in the $150 to $300 price range in both existing and developing markets. The move, HTC hopes, will reverse the downturn in fortunes it has suffered that has seen its global market share fall to just 2 percent, its stock price drop 80 percent, and its profits fall 83 percent in the second quarter of 2013 from the previous year.

HTC co-founder and chairperson Cher Wang, speaking to Reuters, said that the Taiwanese manufacturer's "problem" in 2013 was "concentrating on [its] flagship." Only two of HTC's phones available in the company's Chinese store retail for under $150: the price point with the highest growth in the country according to IDC. Twenty-one phones retail for more than $500. Wang said that by focusing on high-cost models — even if they were well received— led HTC to miss "a huge chunk of the mid-tier markets" in 2013.

Cher Wang said HTC's problem was concentrating on its expensive flagship models

The new approach comes after the phone manufacturer already outlined plans to shift its focus to emerging markets last year. HTC previously planned to offer a cheaper smartphone in China for around ¥1,000 to ¥2,000 (about $165 to $330), in addition to releasing models in new markets such as Myanmar. But Chang said won't join the "very, very low-end market" currently occupied by growing companies such as Xiaomi and Huawei. HTC plans to announce a new flagship phone — a successor to the HTC One — soon, and is also planning to release a wearable device by 2014's holiday season.