HTC to triple store numbers in China

HTC's retail outlets in China will increase from 650 to 2,000

Taiwanese smartphone vendor HTC plans on tripling its retail outlets in mainland China by the end of the year, bringing store numbers from 650 to 2,000.

HTC CFO Winston Yung mentioned the company's China expansion plans on Monday during an analyst conference, according to HTC spokeswoman Annie Lu.

Like other handset manufacturers, HTC has been working to penetrate China's vast market, which has more than 900 million mobile phone users, according to government statistics.

In July of last year, the company introduced its first HTC-branded devices to mainland China. Last month, the company also partnered with one of the country's most popular Twitter-like services to launch a smartphone specifically built for the microblog platform.

HTC, however, still has a tiny presence in China's smartphone market compared with other top handset makers. The Taiwanese company had a 2 percent share of the market in this year's first quarter, according to research firm IDC. This placed the company ninth among handset vendors in the country.

HTC had previously sold smartphones in China using the Dopod brand name. But Dopod struggled to gain the popularity HTC reached in other markets, said Joey Yen, an IDC analyst.

The Taiwanese company will not only have to contend with popular smartphone makers such as Apple, Samsung and Motorola, but also with cheaper counterfeit handsets widely sold in China, she added. Expanding the company's retail channels, however, will give HTC a better chance to attract consumers to its products.

"They have a big opportunity," Yen added. "They are still behind the competition, but they have the potential for more fast growth."

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