HTC hopes to boost Saudi market share with M8 launch

Taiwanese firm behind the HTC One (M8) says Saudi market has ‘excellent growth potential’

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The Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC aims to strengthen its market share in Saudi Arabia with the launch of the HTC One (M8) handset, a top official said.

Nikitas Glykas, Vice President, HTC MEA, told Saudi Gazette on the sidelines of a recent launch event that HTC aims to grow its market share in the Saudi market, and this is achievable with HTC’s “reputation for being very reliable.”

He said “Saudi Arabia is presently one of our most important markets for smart phones and personal digital assistants because of its excellent growth potential. It is the biggest, Saudi consumers are very knowledgeable, and we believe that the Saudi consumers also know how to use smartphones through the various social networks.”

With the launch of the new smartphone, Glykas said HTC has major plans for the KSA market. “Over the coming period, we will be making significant investments on branding and promotion-related initiatives to create greater visibility for our brand and further build on our ‘connect’ with our growing customer base in the Kingdom,” he said.

He announced that through their Saudi partner STC, HTC is also planning to launch a unique pure gold version of the HTC One (M8) by the end of April or early next month. The device will first be available only in Saudi Arabia. “Two weeks later it will be available globally. We have not yet revealed the actual pricing. But it is very high,” said Glykas.

Other than the aesthetic changes, the phone’s specifications appear to the same as the regular phone. However, the gold version will include a couple of new functionalities and according to Glykas.

He also pointed out that through their partnership with Mobily, HTC will activate its partnership with UEFA Champions League: “Mobily will exclusively promote the UEFA activities in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Our aggressive marketing initiatives in Saudi have also been fuelled by the country’s rapidly increasing population, powerful economy and dramatic increase in adoption of internet and other IT-enabled technologies; which all represent immense growth opportunities for HTC,” he added.

HTC has high aspirations for the HTC One (M8) and hopes it will replicate the success of its predecessor, which is listed by the Taiwanese firm as one of its best-selling handsets ever. Featuring an evolved metal design and upgraded internal specifications, the HTC One (M8) certainly appears to have the chops to do this.

“It is going to be a breakthrough for us in the Saudi market with this new device and it is going to be a very positive year for us,” the vice president of HTC said.

HTC One M8 features a full metal body and number of innovations including dual rear facing camera for capturing the depth of the image and a 5MP front-facing camera as well as introducing a new version of its Android UI, Sense 6.

The M8 is the first phone to support a 128GB SD card. The current phones in the market support cards of up to 64GB.

The penetration of smartphones in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach 44.8 percent by 2015. With increasing demand for smart devices, demand for data services is likely to increase significantly in the coming years.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on April 7, 2014

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