HTC is on a roll in Australia, with some saying that it is them, and not Samsung, who will be the biggest threat to the Apple iPhone this year.When Anthony Petts, the face of phone company HTC in Australia, and the man credited with turning the company’s operations around after the Taiwanese company moved to market their own brand of Smartphones, as opposed to making phones for others, quit just before Xmas, some said HTC would struggle holding their relationships with carriers such as Vodafone, Optus and Telstra.
Under Petts, who is now with Motorola, HTC was able to expand their operations in Australia after several managers quit the company claiming that they were unable to work with HTC’s Taiwanese management.
John Featherstone, the former Managing Director of HTC who went public with his contempt for HTC, is today flogging memory cards for SanDisk in Melbourne.
What was fortuitous for Petts, was that HTC had already made a decision to move away from making Windows phones to delivering their own brand of Smartphone on the Google Android platform.
The move paid off with the company today set to hit a market value of close to $100 Billion by 2014.
Competing against Petts when he first joined HTC was Ben Hodgson, the new Country Manager for HTC Australia and New Zealand. At the time he was selling the Windows based iMate phone, which eventually became a victim to HTC Android and Windows based phones.
Hodgson, who made his first public appearance last week at the Telstra launch of the new HTC HD7, Windows Phone 7 Smartphone, appeared nervous at first, but after a short while showing attendees the new offering he quickly got into his stride claiming that HTC was set to go places in 2011.
“We are in a great position to move forward. A big benefit is the excellent, design of our offerings and the good relationship that HTC has with both Google and Microsoft. This helps in our battle with Apple” he said.
Globally HTC is on a roll after moving from making brands for other vendors to making brands for themselves.
Last week Goldman Sachs said in a research report that the company is set to become a $100 Billion dollar company during the next few years.
Goldman Sachs analyst Robert Chen said: “HTC has a very unique business model and ecosystem strategy” that helps it expand business quickly”.
“This reflects its superior position, which allows it to benefit from the broadband convergence trend, significant growth potential in emerging markets, as well as its leading product roadmap and branding campaign that continue to increase its preference among global consumers,”.
Goldman Sachs forecast the company would ship 200 million smartphones and 30 million tablet computers each year over the next three to five years.
The company is set to introduce a new tablet called The Flyer shortly, however no carriers in Australia are admitting to ranging the device.
One of the strategies that Petts initiated was based on delivering different phones to different carriers. He also moved low cost HTC phones such as the Legend into retailers such as Harvey Norman.
HTC won’t say what their revenues are in Australia however they do admit that Australia is one of their “best performing” regions in the world based on our population size.
During the past 12 months HTC shares have jumped 186.87 percent. The company’s market value is now valued at more than 33.6 times what it was in 2004.
Yesterday executives at HTC in Taiwan admitted that HTC could face some manufacturing hurdles following the earthquake in Japan due to a shortage of components. However this is not expected to have an impact on supply into the Australian market.
What is a worry for HTC is the proposed acquisition of T Mobile by AT &T. In the past T Mobile has been a big partner of HTC and has used their devices to spearhead growth. AT &T is a big supporter of the Apple iPhone and for a while was the exclusive seller of the iPhone in the US market.
In Australia Hodgson, who has quickly built a new marketing and sales team around him is convinced that HTC can grow share.
Andrew Vollard, Director of Mobile at Telstra said “HTC is a great brand, they are innovative and have delivered models that have appealed to consumers in Australia”.
David Thodey, the CEO of Telstra, said after meeting HTC senior management in Las Vegas: “HTC is a very smart company. We are going to work with them closely to grow our share of the mobile market in Australia. They have some great products and they are a threat to Apple”.