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HTC wants a fresh start with new HQ

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HTC celebrated its 15th anniversary in style on Wednesday with the opening of a new state-of-the-art global headquarters on the outskirts of Taipei, but the firm remains mired in legal disputes with Apple and faces a tough battle to project its brand in the ultra-competitive smartphone space.

The Taiwanese handset giant cut the ribbon on its hi-tech, environmentally friendly HQ, which even features basketball, tennis and badminton courts on the top (17th) floor.

Google’s mobile SVP Andy Rubin and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs provided some media-friendly platitudes on the press release, while chairwoman Cher Wang claimed the firm’s goal was “to become one of the top brands in the world”.

CEO Peter Chou added: “The grand opening of Taipei Headquarters marks a whole new beginning. We will reposition ourselves and strive to push our limits to overcome challenges.”

The mobile manufacturer certainly needs all the help it can get, after several poor quarters.

Most recently it was force to cut Q2 estimates as the downturn in Europe continues to weaken demand, and on-going litigation from arch rival Apple has disrupted its sales strategy in the US.

The latest on this is that Apple has gone back to the ITC claiming HTC’s workaround for the original patent infringing technology is not good enough.

As if that wasn’t enough, reports circulated last week that the firm’s developers had been denied access to Windows 8, due to the fact it was not deemed a big enough player in the tablet market.

HTC’s new headquarters will apparently house 1,000 R&D staff and if the firm wants to claw market share back from the likes of Samsung and Apple, and insulate itself from more litigation, it will need them to produce some stunning designs.

On the plus side, the HTC One device garnered good reviews and the firm’s strategy of streamlining its portfolio and sharpening the brand is the right one.

Further good news came with the completed purchase of S3 Graphics, which will bolster HTC’s all- important collection of patents, however, reports have emerged that it will not able to use five patents it received from Google last year in order to sue Apple in the US.

Time will tell whether the new HQ will really signify a fresh start for the troubled handset maker. ®

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