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Premium smartphone maker HTC will focus on improving its brand perception in India for getting a "fair share" in the high-end mobile phone segment that is dominated by Samsung and Apple at present. "Our brand in India is still solid good. We have lot of things to improve upon (there)," Chialin Chang, the President of smartphone and connected devices, HTC, said. "Number one issue that we want to address in India is how do we get market share that we deserve in the very top end, Rs 50,000 and above," he said during a media briefing here yesterday. He said that by premium brand he means a brand which delivers as per its promise, good design, durability, security users experience, services and continues to involve consumers with experience. "One thing we are lucky that young Indian consumers like our design. I noticed this in the historical data," he said. As per a CyberMedia Research mobile brand perception report released in February, when customers were asked about names of successful premium smartphones brands, "almost all respondents (97 per cent) recalled Samsung. Apple and HTC secured 85 per cent and 78 per cent recall respectively." "HTC's overall market share in the first quarter of 2017 was around 0.26 per cent. HTC's market share in above Rs 50,000 price band in Q1, 2017 was 1.82 per cent," the report by CyberMedia Research said. Chang said that India is very open market and the company is not encountering any problem in doing business. However, it is a challenge for the company to get mindshare of premium phone buyers. "So far we are not encountering anything that is challenging for us there (India). I think as a whole India is a very open market. Just imagine it is flooded with all the Chinese brands.
If India is not open how can you get that many Chinese brand in there. "Challenge for us is, I think, India market will evolve. How do we capture the premium in this market and create a halo in this environment would be quiet important," Chang said. He said that there has been issues in distribution network of the company with competitors offering more margin to channel partners. "If you ask me personally, because of the flurry of competition, and channels requiring different margin and competition offering lot more, that we see is creating a tougher competitive environment. "We recognise that. We actually have global pricing same. It is all the mark up getting earned in that country that is why you see retail price difference," Chang said. The company on Tuesday launched its new flagship smartphone HTC U11 which can be operated without pressing buttons. HTC is selling high-end model of HTC U11 with 6GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage in Taiwan for 21,900 new Taiwanese dollars or around Rs 47,000 a unit. However, as per a company official, HTC plans to sell the device in Europe for around 750 euros or about Rs 54,000 a unit. The company is yet to decide on the smartphone's price for the Indian market. Chang said that HTC has been doing good business in Rs 20,000-25,000 price range segment. "We used to do decent around Rs 15,000 price range. Now with all the competition, people who buy device for around 15,000 now look at specifications first. "That creates some challenges. I know a competitor phone selling just because they have 20 megapixel in the front. That consumer would gradually come to know what is good for them or not. India market is very key for us," Chang said. In India, the company plans to launch new Desire series 4G VoLTE smartphones in the price band of Rs 10,000-30,000 but won't sell any device below Rs 10,000 a unit.
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