China gets exclusive HTC phones launched alongside rebranding

Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC will soon roll out its first own-branded handsets in China, among them two models designed exclusively for China Mobile. 

Scheduled to release later this year, the new handsets will be a high-end, Windows Mobile-based smartphone and a mid-priced Android-based device, both featuring touchscreens.

HTC will also launch several of its best-known – and best-selling – devices in China for the first time, among them the HTC Tianxi, HTC Tianyi, HTC Desire and HTC Wildfire, with the latter two models being released via an exclusivity contract with China Unicom.

The vendor has sold phones in China previously, but under the brand name Dopod. The branding switch has come about for various reasons, including the need to provide more post-sale services, and HTC’s desire to establish itself as an internationally recognised smartphone brand.

HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou points out that brand recognition is already surprisingly strong in China, noting that HTC could even hold second place (to Nokia) in the Chinese smartphone market due to the number of HTC phones imported into the country. He estimates that 8 per cent of China’s smartphone users recognise the HTC brand, although it has never been used there in any official capacity.

Chou however doubts that HTC’s global sales will be substantially affected by China in the next year, with 80 per cent of the firm’s global revenue generated by the US and Europe. This year, the company is likely to double its 2009 sales figures of 12 million phones.

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