HTC to develop products for China with help of local retailer

HTC and Suning have entered in a partnership to sell the company's phones

HTC is hoping to expand its presence in China by partnering with one of the nation's largest retailers to sell its phones, and even help with product development, the Taiwanese handset maker said on Wednesday.

A day after unveiling its new One M8 flagship smartphone, HTC announced its strategic partnership with Suning, one of China's largest electronics retailers. The deal means that Suning will prominently display HTC phones in over 1,600 stores.

In addition, HTC wants to tap into Suning's consumer data to develop products that can meet local market needs. The two companies will work together to launch exclusive products.

HTC has been lately shifting its attention to mainland China. Once a fast growing company, HTC has seen its earnings slide as rival phones have overshadowed sales of its own critically acclaimed devices.

But HTC is facing a Chinese handset market already crowded with competition. Samsung leads as the nation's biggest smartphone vendor, followed by rivals Lenovo, Huawei Technologies and other domestic handset makers.

HTC, however is optimistic about its latest partnership in China, the company said in an email. The handset maker hopes to sell 5 million product units over the next three years, by leveraging Suning's retail channels.

Alongside the One M8, HTC will also release a mid-tier phone for China next month called the V3. The Taiwanese company is increasingly developing more lower-end phones, as a way to regain market share. In October, HTC released several midrange phones for China priced between 1500 yuan (US$244) and 2000 yuan.

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Michael Kan

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