HTC to shut India operations, continue investments in VR

HTC denies report that it is closing up shop in India

Google bought part of HTC's smartphone division for $1.1 billion, and the deal closed earlier this year. The company is now laying off 1,500 employees, and its June sales were down 68% from past year.

The company denies that it is leaving the Indian smartphone market and claims that it is reducing headcount in the country to better reflect market conditions in India.

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC seems to have given up on the Indian market. The Economic Times report states that HTC India's top management, including country head Faisal Siddiqui, sales head Vijay Balachandran and product R Nayyar, have put in their papers, according to three unnamed senior executives. The report adds that HTC has asked most of its 70 to 80 employee team in India to leave, and cites executives at the firm to claim the company is also snapping all distribution agreements in the country after halting local manufacturing for nearly a year now.

The reason for keeping a small part of the team is because HTC is not completely dissolving its operations in India. The executives are cited to say that HTC only plans to sell virtual reality devices online in India moving forward, with operations said to be handled only by the Taiwan team. The Indian operation will be like an extremely small business.

The executive also pointed out that HTC would consider returning to the Indian market should its global business make a turnaround, but considering the company announced a sales decline of 62% in the most recent quarter, that's unlikely to be the case. As of now, the company is said to be quitting.

According to a Morgan Stanley report, India's mobile market is growing at 23% CAGR. Gadgets 360 also got the same response.

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The spokesperson added that the recent reduction in workforce in the India office is created to more appropriately reflect local and regional market conditions, and will help HTC advance more effectively into a new stage of growth and innovation. There are still more than ten employees in the India office providing full functionality.

Many distributors have alleged that HTC has not yet paid their dues and they plan to pursue legal action. HTC may face further woes on that front, with the manufacturer said to have delayed payments to its Indian distributors MPS Telecom and Link Telecom.

The HTC spokesperson said the company is aware of the potential disputes, but can't comment on the matter till it has full details.

The company confirmed that while many employees have been let go, "more than 10 employees" continue to remain with HTC. The company has also not launched the flagship HTC U12+ in the country yet.

Must Read: Unboxing The HTC U11+. The report added that HTC's Q1 2017 market share in the 50,000 rupees and higher (~$724) segment was 1.82 percent. Another report by Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) hinted that the country's mobile market crossed 5.7 Bn mobile phone users and 340 Mn smartphone users in 2017.


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