Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC announced yesterday that the brand will be closing its South African office, and as a result, will no longer operate a fully-staffed office in the region. The company revealed that it will return to a distributor model, and appointed Ingram Micro Mobility to distribute the devices locally.
The local arm of international company Ingram Micro Mobility said that they will support South Africa with any products that HTC releases and looks forward to supporting users of the HTC One smartphone.
“The HTC One has received incredibly strong reviews both locally and internationally, and we’re looking forward to assisting HTC with the loyal support base HTC phones have in South Africa with the HTC One range,” said Bradley Lapin, Ingram Micro Southern Africa MD.
HTC is not the first company that has decided to depart from the South African market - Motorola Mobile following the same route late last year. In a smartphone market where Samsung holds 51% market share on the continent (and dominates the South African landscape), manufacturers are feeling the pinch from all sides – especially brands such as HTC, LG, Motorola and, to a lesser extent, BlackBerry.
“As a continent, Africa requires a very significant commitment in terms of local offices and resources in order to build out a presence and logistical capabilities across so many countries. Samsung, with its broad range of consumer electronic products and unwavering ambition has been able to achieve just that, in the same vein as Nokia did before it,” commented Simon Baker, program manager for mobile handsets at IDC Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA) on smartphones in Africa.
Earlier this month HTC also reported their first net loss for the third quarter since rejuvenating themselves in 2002. Consolidated revenues for the quarter were $1.6-billion, which was lower than expected, and down 29.3% from the previous quarter.
However, despite not having a South African office, HTC is confidant about their local operations and added that the One mini will still be made available.
“HTC continues to focus on the HTC One, which has won a myriad of local and international awards. However, we’re also excited to announce that the HTC One mini will be launched in South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing the acclaimed features of the One to more people than ever before in a more compact handset,” said Phil Blair, HTC president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor