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HTC to close Seoul office on sluggish sales

All Headlines 10:39 July 30, 2012

By Lee Minji

SEOUL, July 30 (Yonhap) -- Taiwanese handset maker HTC Corp. is set to pull out of South Korea following fruitless attempts to stay afloat in the local market dominated by the world's top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co., market watchers said Monday.

On Friday, HTC officially announced its plan to close its Seoul office, a move that comes just a few months after its local unit head ended a brief six-month stint due largely to sluggish sales.

"Today's decision to close our office in Korea is a decisive action by HTC to streamline and optimize our organization and improve efficiencies after several years of aggressive growth," the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in a July 27 statement. The company did not disclose a date for the shutdown.

A company spokeswoman in Seoul said HTC will strive to ensure its mobile phone users are not adversely affected.

"Although concrete plans are undecided, we'll make sure the move does not affect customer service," she said, adding the company does not have imminent plans for a new release.

Market watchers attributed the planned exit to homegrown players Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics Inc. and Patench Co., who are cementing their market dominance with smartphones that run on the long-term evolution network.

HTC, which last released a new model in the local market in late 2011, holds less than 1 percent of the market share here, according to industry data.

mil@yna.co.kr
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