Taiwanese hi tech company considers Czech Republic for European service base

Photo: Kristýna Maková

Innovative Taiwanese mobile, tablet, and camera maker HTC is focused on setting up its Europe-wide service centre in the Czech Republic with around 1,000 hi-tech jobs hanging on a final decision.

Photo: Kristýna Maková
Taiwan-based mobile, tablets, and camera manufacturer HTC is reported to be eyeing up locations in the Czech Republic where it would like to establish a service centre for the whole of Europe.

Top bosses at HTC have already been in the country prospecting locations. Sites in South Moravia, Moravia-Silesia, and in the Olomouc region are reported to be the frontrunners for a centre which could employ around 1,000 and result in hundreds of millions of crowns in investment.

The deal is not sealed so far, so the Czech government and incoming investment promotor CzechInvest are cautious about playing it up. But without mentioning any specific firm, CzechInvest’s Karel Kučera has said that talks with a significant investor are now centred on possible cooperation with local small and medium sized companies, partnerships with universities and sub-contractors. It’s not about whether, but more about when and where the investment will be made, he added, saying that a final agreement might be concluded within the first half of 2015.

The vibes from a recent trip of Czech lower house lawmakers to Taiwan also pointed fairly clearly that HTC is serious about a Czech expansion. Deputy chairman of the lower house, Petr Gazdík, described how the whole top management of HTC turned out for a meeting with the Czech delegation, a fairly exceptional occurrence for such a significant worldwide company.

HTC was established in 1997 and before producing under its own brand name was mainly a behind the scenes designer and manufacturer for some of the world’s biggest mobile phone companies. Since, 2007 it has branched out into making its own products under its own label with the aim of becoming an international brand and taking credit itself for the many innovations it was coming up with. Around a third of the company’s workforce is involved in research and development.

The Taiwanese company has targeted the top premium end of the smart phone market, offering use of both Android and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Last year, HTC was around 11th in the worldwide mobile sales market with a share of around 2.0 percent. Whereas Samsung and Apple, in number one and two spots in the market with 33.9 percent and 15.5 percent of sales respectively, are far and away out in front of the rest of the competition, there is little separating the third placed manufacturer and the rest.

But HTC, which employs almost 18,000 worldwide, is also looking to expand outside the fiercely competitive mobile market, one where new entrant Chinese companies such as Xiaomi have made a rapid impact. One of its particular hopes is the RE camera, which has already take a market lead in some highly advanced markets such as Hong Kong.