GENXT Pvt Ltd
HTC recently announced its market foray into Nepal with the launch of five Desire series phones. The entry of the Taiwanese smartphone brand comes at a time when many major global and regional handset brands are present in the Nepali market. Partnering with Genxt Pvt Ltd, the company has plans to fully establish the brand in the country. New Business Age talked to Pawan Bhimsaria, Managing Director of GENXT about the current market scenario, expansion plans and upcoming products of HTC. Excerpts:
What took it so long for a globally established smartphone brand like HTC to enter the Nepali market?
HTC has long looked for a right partner for the market here. When you buy a phone, both sales and services and after sales are important. Until the infrastructures are ready, it will be very difficult for brands to launch their products. So HTC waited and launched its phones in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar before coming to Nepal. As the sole authorised distributor, Genxt is the perfect partner for the Taiwanese handset maker as we have both sales and services ready.
How do you assess the Nepali smartphone market?
The smartphone market is excellent and there are already lots of players. There is a high demand for entry level smartphones that nowadays come with a variety of features. On the other side there is also the demand for mid-end and high-end phones. These segments are for customers who want to invest in the latest technologies to meet their various computing needs and to enhance their productivity levels. These segments comprise handsets ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000. The price range of the recently launched HTC phones is Rs 22,000-Rs 34,000. We will be introducing new phones of the higher price category in the near future. We are confident HTC will do really well in the Nepali market. We will also have more innovative products like VR (virtual reality) headgears.
What do you hope from the Nepali market which is already crowded with other international brands?
HTC is well known for quality products here. Many users here have already been using HTC handsets for a long time. I believe that HTC will become a preferred smartphone brand here. We will inform the customers about our products and tell them how the features of our phones will help them in their daily lives. We are targeting a 5-7 percent share of the smartphone market.
We will be partnering with the mobile network service providers here. HTC is already in partnership with Axiata in other South Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, we will not engage in unhealthy market competition.
Can you tell us about some of the key features of HTC phones?
We provide our customers with many options across many segments. For some people, the camera is everything. For some the design of the device matters and some others look into the power of the processor, speed of the device, storage and battery capacity, audio quality and so on. HTC handsets are the best in every technological aspect. The phones come with attractive designs and have quality hardware and software. We also have a 100 GB cloud space for storing photos and other contents.
What are your marketing plans? How are you expanding your dealer network?
We want to establish HTC as a major brand in Nepal. We will keep on launching new products. We will be actively engaging with our partners including the media for the promotion and other agencies for digital marketing and outdoor activities. We are expanding our dealer network in the Kathmandu valley. Distributors for other major cities including Biratnagar, Pokhara, Birgung and Narayanghat have just been appointed. We have plans to cover the whole country.
How is HTC performing globally?
HTC is doing very well in markets across the world. India, for instance, is a very important market for HTC. 500,000 to 700,000 HTC phones are sold there monthly. Likewise, unit sales are also very high in markets such as US, China, Singapore, and Australia. The brand is also gaining fast momentum in Europe. I am quite sure that HTC will really perform well in the Nepali market.
The next big thing for HTC will be the launching of Google Nexus 7. HTC and Google are putting all their efforts behind the upcoming handset.
HTC was once considered as the ‘Rolex of smartphones’. Don’t you think its reputation has gone down a bit in recent years?
The reputation of HTC is as good as before. There are no problems on the product side. Customers who are using HTC phones have no complaints regarding the quality of the products and service. It somewhat lagged behind in the marketing and promotion side over the past few years. However, the Taiwanese brand in recent years has strongly stepped up in terms of marketing and promotion.
What new HTC products are in the pipeline for future launches?
We are thinking of launching a budget phone priced at around Rs 10,000. We also have plans to launch flagships models. Similarly, we are also looking to introduce VR headgears as Nepalis are quite open when it comes to adopting new technologies.