It’s no secret that things aren’t going well for HTC, but a new report implies that things may be worse than we expected. While we’ve known for a while that HTC is skipping its typical flagship smartphone launch during the first half of 2019, a new report out of India claims that the company is currently in talks with Micromax, Lava and Karbonn regarding an HTC comeback in India.
But the talks aren’t exactly what you’d expect.
Rather than outsourcing the production of HTC smartphone to these brands (as HTC has done with its Desire phones the past few years), the company is considering a licensing agreement which would allow the company with the winning bid to build HTC-branded smartphone with HTC collecting royalties for each device sold.
“Since HTC used to operate in the Rs 10,000-plus segment, the brand will help the Indian smartphone makers re-enter this price segment, which is now the fastest-growing with intense competition among Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo,” said one of the executives.
Micromax, Lava and Karbonn produce good phones, but most of those devices are priced lower than Rs 10,000 (roughly $140 USD). By slapping the HTC brand of their phones, these companies would be able to charge a premium for their smartphone and better compete with the larger Chinese brands which are currently dominating the mid-range smartphone segment in India.
What’s unclear is if this will be a simple licensing agreement or if HTC will be contributing R&D and software as well. While the HTC brand has been considered a premium brand over the years, it’s mainly because of HTC’s unique design and the attention to detail form its R&D department. It’s hard to say if the HTC brand still holds enough weight to allow these Indian smartphone brands to compete directly with the Chinese brands which are dominating smartphone sales in India.
Hopefully, a brand licensing agreement like this won’t spell the end of true HTC smartphones.
Source: Brand Equity