HTC boasts of U.S. smartphone growth

HTC is brimming with confidence about its growth. the Taiwanese company's chief executive said the firm is outpacing its rivals in the U.S. smartphone market.

HTC CEO Peter Chou said the company will increase the number of smartphones it sells in the U.S. market this year compared with last year, when it sold between 5.5 million and 6 million units. However, he did not provide specific growth predictions. "It looks like the growth in the U.S market is faster than others," Chou said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The company has blossomed from a little-known player into one of the top smartphone brands in the market, which Chou attributed to strong carrier support, particularly from Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA. "They [Verizon and T-Mobile] started treating us as their first-tier suppliers last year," Chou said. "It was difficult for us [to boost our sales] without their support. But their endorsements became a strong momentum" for growth, he added. The company experienced a "180-degree change" with Verizon last year, Chou said, after the company began gaining steam in the market. Verizon carries the HTC Android-powered Droid Eris, as well as other Windows Mobile smartphones, and plans to support the HTC-built Nexus One.

HTC also is making deeper inroads with other carriers. For example, Sprint Nextel's new flagship product, the HTC-built Evo 4G, is the carrier's first WiMAX phone.

HTC is the world's fourth-largest smartphone maker, according to IDC, after Nokia, Research In Motion and Apple. Chou said the company aims to have the No. 3 spot by 2012.

In a separate news conference, Chou also noted HTC's legal dispute with Apple over patents is not hampering its operations. "It's part of business," he said. "We need to face it and everyone can talk it through." HTC has vowed to aggressively defend itself, but has not released its formal legal response yet.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article

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