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As doomsday looms closer for HTC, billionaire co-founder takes over to turn the tide

Posted: , by Victor H.

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As doomsday looms closer for HTC, billionaire co-founder takes over to turn the tide

HTC’s stock has tanked to what looks like the absolute bottom: the company trades close to the 120-something Taiwan dollars rock bottom it hit in October, and analysts across the board don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. 

As doomsday seems to loom closer for HTC, though, one woman has stepped up to weather the storm.

We’re speaking about Cher Wang, of course. The daughter of a Taiwanese petrochemical mogul, 55-year old Wang has always held a commanding position at HTC, but only recently has she started taking over the steering wheel. Once the richest woman in Taiwan, Wang has comparatively modest fortunes now, after HTC's prime. As of chief executive Peter Chou, the public face of HTC, he will not be stepping down after this change, nor is he losing his formal title in the company, but in fact, his responsibilities are now limited to making great products, not so much on the operations daily grind.

“I think we are on the right track,” Chou said. “Now Cher is 100 percent focused on marketing, customer service, so I don’t have to worry. I have a lot more time driving the product, quality, supply.”

And it is indeed marketing, or lack thereof, that most analysts blame HTC’s downfall on. The company has received mostly positive reviews for its last year’s HTC One, and this year’s successor, the One (M8) is also universally praised for its outstanding design (many, us included, are disappointed by the camera, but overall, it’s a great phone). However, HTC just could not get the sales it needs - within the first two months of availability of its flagships, it sold just 5 million units, while Samsung with the Galaxy S4 scored sales of 20 million in the same period.

Cher Wang has taken over HTC's marketing

Cher Wang has taken over HTC's marketing

That’s where Cher Wang comes in. “We just have to communicate well with our customers,” Wang said. “I believe if we can communicate better, we will do better.” Not much more in terms of change is needed, according to Wang, who got her Master’s degree in economics at University of California, Berkeley.

With first quarter sales slumping 23% from the previous year, one thing that everyone clearly sees right now is a mountain for HTC to climb ahead. We would not write it off that easily, though. With market cap of $4.5 billion and a strong presence on the hugely important US market, HTC’s volatile stock could also turn out to be a dream come true for investors willing to take the risk.

HTC's stock has dropped to bottom low levels on the Taipei exchange

HTC's stock has dropped to bottom low levels on the Taipei exchange

source: Bloomberg

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posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:31 16

1. apple4never (Posts: 1064; Member since: 08 May 2013)

R.I.P HTC u did make some good phones but not enough, have fun with Blackberry on the other side

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:38 11

3. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

I really hope they are not taking the path of Blackberry... It would be sad to see the company who made the G1 to disappear XD

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:41 2

4. apple4never (Posts: 1064; Member since: 08 May 2013)

id be sad too but i think it isnt gonna end well for htc

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 16:02 5

47. Rager722 (Posts: 319; Member since: 30 Jan 2013)

Shut up troll.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 19:40 1

53. apple4never (Posts: 1064; Member since: 08 May 2013)

shut up fanboy

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:51 26

7. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)

LOL...You're pretending like you're the god that can control when the manufacturer must go down. How funny...
But unfortunately, you're wrong. HTC and Blackberry is here to stay. Try thinking on the positive side.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:02 19

10. wildhammer (Posts: 56; Member since: 16 Mar 2014)


posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:04 5

11. skyline88 (Posts: 458; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

bye-bye, good night and sweet dream

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:20 17

15. Kuroki (Posts: 88; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)

what are you going to do, capslock him to death?

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:28 1

27. apple4never (Posts: 1064; Member since: 08 May 2013)

they have potential and i said they made some good phones, every company has the potential to be great but only a few are truly great, look at samsung and dare i say it apple

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:32 2

28. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

I really think @apple4never tried to say was the HTC's sale just isn't doing well enough to pull itself out of red they have been seeing. Everyone knows they do make good phones, but the general consumers don't. They tend to go with what's popular out there like Apple and Samsung. Now LG is on the rise. However, I don't see HTC to throw in the towel anytime soon. They are going to stay and fight to the end.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:43

30. apple4never (Posts: 1064; Member since: 08 May 2013)

finally someone got it !!!!!!!!!!!

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 12:28 1

36. wildhammer (Posts: 56; Member since: 16 Mar 2014)

I hope the new desire fones make an impact.....

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 14:10 1

43. jdoee100 (Posts: 334; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

HTC makes good phones, but Samsung makes better phones. Many people are saying marketing this and that. But, look at HTC's last quarter market share in Taiwan(HTC's home country), they weren't just behind Apple and Samsung, they were behind Sony as well(Sony is not really known for marketing). HTC's marketing is only a part of the problem, not the problem. At this point, HTC needs more than better marketing.

posted on 22 Apr 2014, 07:07 1

60. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

I can't agree with you there. HTC One M7 was voted the smartphone of the year. People who follows the latest new phones know that HTC makes great phone. However, the Sense 4 and before that was in the older HTC left a bad taste in general public's mouths and not a lot of people are going back to them just yet. Beside, Sony is a hot brand in Taiwan and it's just the way it is. It's hard for HTC to compete with Sony in their home country. It's just like Ford is being beat by Toyota and Honda in the U.S. Well... Ford had their share of making bad cars in the past... no wonder people don't really buy their cars now.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:49 1

31. omaianu (unregistered)

They will NOT disappear. The M8 has sold very well and will continue to sell better. HTC will also be making the Nexus devices for Google. Things will turn around.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 17:27

49. LionStone (Posts: 743; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)

Been hearing that for the last 4 years! Not happening... One thing about being on the bottom is there's only going UP from there!

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:33 10

2. Galen20K (Posts: 541; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)

Considering how tremendously build and running htc's current devices are, Marketing is definitely the area where they've been lacking and hurting them for years. Finally they're taking Public image and spreading the word seriously, wish they had years ago.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:06 2

12. skyline88 (Posts: 458; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

brilliant marketing but with hopeless camera, nonSENSE UI and thick bezel? good luck.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:27 8

17. true1984 (Posts: 823; Member since: 23 May 2012)

what? sorry to tell you this but other than stock, sense is the best ui out there

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:41 8

22. Galen20K (Posts: 541; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)

Absolutely everything about the m8 is Quality, Sense UI Screams and is the absolutely best skin out there. Heck even the photo's although 4MP, still have brilliant color temperature. Of course I can't convince some Samsung fans who prefer the laggy TouchWiz UI, terrible build/asthetics, and just terrible design. Good luck with all of that, I'll stick with the Brilliant htc design.

posted on 22 Apr 2014, 23:54

63. verty (Posts: 122; Member since: 07 May 2012)

Deceive yourself for as long as you like. When you grow up and are ready to play with the bigboyz you can come out of the sheets.

posted on 22 Apr 2014, 00:05

57. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Yes so tremendous that people can go through 6 handsets and still have a rattling volume rocker or a dead pixel or both.


Believe it or not, the HTC One S and X, HTC 8x, and M7 had even more deal breaking issues.

This is like their best effort and they still can't even do a perfect handset in one shot like LG, Samsung, and Apple can.

That is their problem.

posted on 22 Apr 2014, 12:41

61. true1984 (Posts: 823; Member since: 23 May 2012)

peter chou must have beat you up when you were a kid or something...

posted on 22 Apr 2014, 15:28

62. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Nothing like that. If I can buy a Samsung flagship handset or tablet and have it come out perfect out of the box in the first shot 4/4 times. Apple 3/3 and LG 2/3 times. You know that is the norm.

And if I can go 0/7 with HTC flagships.... well there is a simple explanation and it isn't coincidence. Mathematically that would be virtually impossible.

The only logical conclusion is that HTC is garbage and nowhere near the level of quality their fans say they are.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:43 3

5. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

Boot CEO, Camera is a let down, again.
Clearly too thick to see the forest for the trees.
That's like third or fourth bad screw up since the OneX, which should be reborn as a new flagship.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:44 2

6. nomalice (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Apr 2014)

Bye Bye HTC, go back to the drawing board, rework your pricing strategy, selling different processors for same phone models in two different countries is unethical , also using lower cost processors but pricing phones at premium rates will not work in India, customers want more value for money and please no more ultra mega cams, rework the regular cams in your phone !!!

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 13:21

39. iushnt (Posts: 1709; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)

as far as i know, exynos is expensive to make for samsung than SD

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:57 1

8. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)

they should have put 8mp camera thats simple...

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 09:57

9. ryq24 (Posts: 725; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Htc could start by coming out with affordable mid range phone with micro sd card slot .

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:29

18. true1984 (Posts: 823; Member since: 23 May 2012)

they do but they dont release them in the US. the desire 816 would do great here

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:34 1

29. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

The HTC Desire 816 is simply a mid range beast!! I don't know why they don't widely sell that phone in the world...

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:06 2

13. doubler86 (Posts: 320; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)

2 mistakes were their downfall, Marketing and Ultrapixels

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:10 3

14. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2071; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

How can this happen? HTC uses ANDROID in its phones. It's gotta be successful!

posted on 22 Apr 2014, 01:41 1

58. galahad (Posts: 26; Member since: 28 Mar 2014)

yeah! android is a savior right.,

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:21 6

16. xperian (Posts: 326; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)

HCT makes really great phones, too bad Samsung sells too much crappy phones and doesn't leave a chance for those who really deserve

posted on 23 Apr 2014, 00:04

64. verty (Posts: 122; Member since: 07 May 2012)

See delusion!!!!! Self delusion it is. Apple intimidates HTC. What Peter Cho fails to realize is that what works for apple only works for apple. Making a phone without sd card. Unremoveable batteries. Dictating to your customers....what arrogance!!! Ultra pixels that are detested by the majority. Which if they listened to customers should have been ditched a longtime ago.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:32 1

19. LeBrownJames (Posts: 201; Member since: 17 Mar 2014)

Even RDJ couldn't save them. Ultrapixel was the final nail in the coffin.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:38 4

20. supratik1993 (Posts: 13; Member since: 16 Mar 2014)

why do people even buy samsung phones...... they are worthless.....

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 13:23 1

40. iushnt (Posts: 1709; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)

why do u think?

posted on 22 Apr 2014, 01:47

59. galahad (Posts: 26; Member since: 28 Mar 2014)

my friends regret buying a plastic junk.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:39 2

21. newbey123 (Posts: 581; Member since: 19 Mar 2012)

The only problem with HTC is they don't advertise and bombard consumers with their product like lesser quality products do. They are finally learnging that they have to advertise. Consumers won't know you have the superior product if they don't know about you. Good job HTC.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 13:01

38. skinny95black (Posts: 113; Member since: 06 Jan 2013)

Also the prices are too big beside they don't cut down the prices so fast like others why would i buy a high priced phone from a company that I don't know a thing about it look at Motorola and 1+1 they did it right and now the moto g is the highest selling smartphone for Motorola they should learn from others

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:44 3

23. droid_does_more (banned) (Posts: 29; Member since: 25 Jan 2010)

Marketing? Yes. Definitely. HTC has gotten bad at marketing. They need to hire whoever did the marketing for the OG EVO.

Camera and bezels? Those are subjective and would not have impacted sales like this. Only the techies and Geeks care about bezels & all you need is a passable camera for the average consumer.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 10:50 4

24. bubbadoes (Posts: 986; Member since: 03 May 2012)

any fool who thinks its over for HTC is dead wrong!!! If this happens, then I guess we would have to live with Samsung for life and be stuck with all the cheap junk they produce-taking into fact that LG, Motorola are just hanging on also. Don't even mention ios and Windows..I'm talking straight Android here.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:15 4

25. Beijendorf (Posts: 340; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)

To those who think a few bad years is going to stop HTC: Their wallet can currently support current losses for another decade before they have to declare bankruptcy.

As for the article itself, yes they certainly need to improve some areas, not least of all listening to customers (Not one single person praised placing a 4 MP camera in last years device, yet here we are, a year later...) and marketing.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:21

26. MarkArigayo (Posts: 240; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)

Vaya con dios HTC. Your decision on pricing made you failed. If only you lowered your price tag by 40% then it will be another story.

Premium build is useless when UltraPixel still remains. Thick bezels and sky-high price level make things even worse.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 11:55 1

32. true1984 (Posts: 823; Member since: 23 May 2012)

it costs less than the s4

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 12:06 1

33. ILikeBubbles (Posts: 525; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)

truly depressing to me that HTC is taking a backseat to Samsung... as much as Samsung makes incredibly decent phones, i've never liked them as much as HTC. HTC has always had the lead (in my opinion) on design. i may never have liked Sense but i would take Sense over TouchWiz any day ever.

PLUS!!! for me, if HTC is out of the game who am i going to look at when i get a smartphone now?? :/ i'm not going to defect to samsung and as much as i would like to like LG they just havn't put out anything in my interest yet.. but Verizon doesn't support the Nexus... please please please HTC don't let this happen!!

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 12:07 1

34. toyboyz (Posts: 181; Member since: 22 Jan 2010)

HTC isn't going anywhere people! psh..!

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 12:21 1

35. Roeshak (Posts: 36; Member since: 17 Apr 2013)

The idea that HTC's problem is marketing is just a very lazy excuse. They've been putting out devices that are weaker than the competition for some time. Htc m7 and m8 included.
Ask yourselves this, how many of you who picked other brands were not aware of the HTC offerings before you did so.
I saw a htc commercial the other day and it was 40 seconds of look how premium and well built our phone is. Nothing on the specs or features. Samsung and Sony on the other hand shout from the rooftops what features they have to offer. In other words they tell you just how much their devices could do for you. That's far more compelling and inspiring than 40 seconds of shiny aluminum. The truth is htc has not much to market. Their ads are as weak as their devices.
If they want to turn their fortunes around, they need to go back to basics and start offering features. Apple already has the trendy look at my pretty phone market cornered. It's a pointless venture for htc.
They can start with gathering all their 4mp ultrapixel nonsense cameras into a big pile, dousing it in petrol and setting fire to those jokers. That would be a great starting point instead of insulting the intelligence of consumers with a 4mp camera would you believe. 4mp in this day and age? Idiotic company run by a fool!

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 13:44

42. true1984 (Posts: 823; Member since: 23 May 2012)

umm... if you dont know about the features then that is marketing. the fact that their commercials dont tell you anything about the phone is the reason why you dont know anything about them. thhats what marketing is supposed to do, since the one has a lot of features other than the metal build

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 12:41 1

37. trexnkrumpets (Posts: 45; Member since: 15 Jan 2013)

HTC. Should be on top. But Plain and Simple: They're missing their Trump Card. Like Samsung manages to advertise their gimmicky features as Needed, and Apple's Devices with synchronizing capabilities, If HTC had a successful background to consumers like their competition, they'd probably be doing great. But Who knows HTC besides Phones? Not I. Better slap on the Heavy duty marketing gloves HTC. Ram this phone down people's throats. Cover restocking fees, whatever.Just get it in their hands. (Being a Mobile Manager, 3 out of 4 people that I run into in the same field, own an HTC One.) Why? Because it's one of if not The best dang device out there. And we know it. But do most consumers? nope. Not a dang bit. BUT the only people I ever see switching out from HTC typically are the people with HTC's "Legacy" Devices.(ie; evo/3d/desire/etc.) Anyways. The main issue I would say for HTC is this; I have yet to see anyone outwardly approach a sales rep bringing up an HTC feature they've seen advertised. The competition on the other hand. "Siri, Svoice, sync capabilities, SBeam, Fprint Scanners, etc. etc." are already in their minds.The average consumer's already been sold. That's where HTC's problem is. Sold before they walk into the store. Because Sales Reps 9 times out of 10, are not going to coerce that person out of an easier sale. (I'm sure everyone has experienced the stores, where sales are the #1 priority, and the faster they get you the phone and out the door, the better.) Granted, that store/sale's attitude isn't always the best. But unfortunately that's how it works in more than a few locations. Therein lies; Where is your Trump Card HTC?>_

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 13:24

41. deewinc (Posts: 272; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)

Is that a stock market index or a seismograph recording o_O

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 14:16

44. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)

HTC lost most of the informed word of mouth advertising when they tried to use marketing -- i.e. "UltraPixel" -- to make up for some bad choices in the design of their phones. 4MP was dead before the M7 came out and it is insulting to the customer that HTC would try and fool them again by putting the same 4MP junk on the M8. And even worse, HTC made their phone taller to put some secondary lame camera on top of the 4MP camera. No amount of money can fix dumb decisions like this. The M8 could have used the 13MP Sony sensor like the OnePlus and it would have been "the phone" without any "fatal flaw" of the 4MP camera, as many of the reviews mentioned.

Then there is the issue of not having an SD card on the M7 which cost them tons of sales. Or all the dumb advertising they did spend money on.

One could go on. HTC is a company that is "almost brilliant" but will never quite make it. HTC has proven time and time again that they cannot do the simple obvious thing -- make a phone without strategic flaws that kill reviews, word of mouth, and sales.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 15:28

46. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1163; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

Ill give you a hint. They made the ultrapixel a gimmick because 4mp is cheaper to produce. It shoulda been a higher megapixel count retaining the 2micro mm size for each individual pixel, but they are low on budget. Lol. Such sad

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 16:31

48. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)

To me, the saddest thing is that HTC tried to use the same trick twice, because they have a warehouse full of 4MP sensors. After a year of bad camera reviews, they put out a phone with the same low quality 4MP sensor. Nothing quite says "FU" more clearly to the customer than something like this.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 23:23

55. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)

It is not the same sensor I think

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 15:20

45. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1163; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

I blame htc for not making a phone that competes with samsung galaxy Y years ago,
Htc continues to decline like BB.

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 18:54

50. EclipseGSX (Posts: 1717; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

Time to gamble and buy cheap stock

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