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Taiwanese mobile maker HTC aims for Middle East growth

Taiwanese mobile phone manufacturer HTC is aiming to boost its Middle East and Africa business by 50 per cent this year as it shifts its attention to the emerging economies.

The Taiwanese mobile phone manufacturer HTC is aiming to boost its regional business by half this year as it shifts its attention to the emerging economies.

"Two years ago HTC's focus was on global markets," said Jon French, the vice president for Middle East and Africa. "There was a lot of noise about our success in the US and major European markets. We're keen to replicate that in the Middle East and Africa."

The company has opened an office for the Middle East and Africa (Mena) region based out of Dubai and is looking at further openings in Saudi Arabia and possibly South Africa this year.

"The prime markets for HTC at the moment are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the North African countries and South Africa. There's also been interest from markets such as the Levant," said Mr French.

HTC has been struggling since last year, when it was unseated by Samsung as the prime manufacturer of Android phones. There is speculation that the company will be launching a new range of products to help capture back its global market share.

The company had previously released its phones in the Mena region months after launching them globally, and priced them higher than in other markets.

"HTC seems to have more focus with a dedicated team for Mena. Their market share is in the single digits [in the UAE] but when they're active they've done well," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer at Jacky's Electronics.

The Middle East tends to be a retail market, in which most consumers pay for their phones outright, rather than operators offering handsets at subsidised rates.

"It is very different to Europe and that's the great positive here. You are paying for your phone and it's about the value of the device," said Mr French.



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