HTC takes new route with SA strategy

2014-07-22 12:02 - Duncan Alfreds, Fin24
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The HTC One (M8) is available in South Africa and is marketed as a premium smartphone. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Cape Town – After a number of missteps, mobile phone manufacturer HTC is determined to take the fight to its competitors with a new strategy for South Africa.

The company has won awards for the One flagship, including being named "Best New Mobile Device" by the GSM Association at the World Mobile Congress.

However, in SA those accolades have not materialised into sales and many potential customers were not able to find the device on the shelves.

But that is set to change as the company pushes ahead with the One (M8).

"You ask what’s different about HTC now in South Africa. Instead of partnering with a local distributor, they’re partnering with a global partner," Douglas Jewson, country manager for HTC told Fin24.

Store level presence

He said that the partnership with Brightstar Corporation would give the mobile phone player a faster turnaround time to gain market share in SA.

"There's a vested interest from Brightstar because they offer the backend performance package, after sales service, assisting with the field force, training at store level, running incentives, marketing campaigns," said Jewson.

One of the problems with previous HTC models, including the One (M7), OneX and Windows powered smartphones was the lack of presence at store level and many sales people were often unaware of the brand.

However, by partnering with Brightstar, which will handle the logistics of distribution, HTC believes that it can finally put the One and follow-up devices in the mind of consumers.

Competitors spend large amounts of money on marketing and have established distribution channels for their smartphones, while HTC has some way to go to create awareness of its brand in SA.

Jewson said that Brightstar is incentivised to build the HTC brand in SA.

"If you come to an existing company that's got the infrastructure and got the scalability in place, you can come into the market, partner with these guys, they bring the product to market; they get a small percentage of the revenue in terms of their profitability – makes sense for them."


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