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.

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.


source: Bloomberg

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64 Comments

56. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

First things first. Fix your damn quality control issues. It is simply inexcusable that I can go through 7 HTC flagship handsets and find a major deal breaker in each one. That is just pathetic.

54. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

For all you haters, let's see what htc can do after all these changes

52. Killua

Posts: 270; Member since: Nov 25, 2013

It's because they only made phones that look good. So superficial. Oh, and dumbass Marketing too.

51. iqjumpuw

Posts: 62; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

This move is long overdue. The CEO should have put someone else in charge of the marketing a long time ago. It's not like HTC hasn't spent lots of money on marketing because they did. It's just that their marketing sucked. Robert Drowney Jr.? Gary Oldman? If you compare the HTC ads to the Samsung ads, you'll see a clear difference. HTC makes great phones and I want them to do well. More competition is always better for consumers but I don't know if they have the right people leading the company.

50. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1778; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Time to gamble and buy cheap stock

45. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

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

44. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

46. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 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

48. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

55. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

It is not the same sensor I think

41. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Is that a stock market index or a seismograph recording o_O

37. trexnkrumpets

Posts: 45; Member since: Jan 15, 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?>_

35. Roeshak

Posts: 38; Member since: Apr 17, 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!

42. true1984

Posts: 871; Member since: May 23, 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

34. toyboyz

Posts: 235; Member since: Jan 22, 2010

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

33. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 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!!

26. MarkArigayo

Posts: 240; Member since: Dec 18, 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.

32. true1984

Posts: 871; Member since: May 23, 2012

it costs less than the s4

25. Beijendorf unregistered

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.

24. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 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.

23. droid_does_more

Posts: 29; Member since: Jan 25, 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.

21. newbey123

Posts: 706; Member since: Mar 19, 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.

38. skinny95black

Posts: 113; Member since: Jan 06, 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

20. supratik1993

Posts: 13; Member since: Mar 16, 2014

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

40. iushnt

Posts: 3182; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

why do u think?

59. galahad

Posts: 26; Member since: Mar 28, 2014

my friends regret buying a plastic junk.

19. LeBrownJames

Posts: 201; Member since: Mar 17, 2014

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

16. xperian

Posts: 421; Member since: Apr 10, 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

64. verty

Posts: 132; Member since: May 07, 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.

14. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

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

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