HTC recently rolled out its first HTC Vive VR headset and executives from the company are betting on the global VR market to surpass the smartphone demand in as little as four years.
Wang Tsung-ching, who is at the helm of the Chinese division of HTC Vive, notes that he expects to see sales of virtual reality gadgets skyrocketing until 2020, virtually leaving smartphone sales behind.
Only nine years have passed since the first iPhone entered the market, and Wang believes that the smartphone market is at its peak, with a decline being unavoidable. He went on to compare the present-day mobile landscape to the PC market. Admittedly, the PC market needed as much as 30 years to hit its peak.
However, the ever-faster evolution in technology puts the smartphone market into an accelerated life span. This is what makes Wang convinced that VR headsets are the next big thing.
A Gartner research report backs the HTC leader's views. Predictions over smartphone sales in the global market should rise by 7 percent this year, marking the first time when growth will happen in single-digit numbers.
It is common for leaders in the VR industry to boast about the upcoming revolution the headsets will deliver, and Wang's statement comes at an interesting time for his company.
HTC registered a pitfall during 2015, when experts from the industry heralded the demise of the company. The OEM got back on its feet only now with the release of the HTC 10, which was highly commended on most aspects. Some expressed concerns about the device being overpriced, but otherwise, the handset looks and feels like a solid competitor for existing flagship rivals.
The VR headset manufactured by HTC in partnership with gaming hub Valve established itself as a convincing alternative to other non-mobile VR ecosystems, namely Sony's PSVR and Oculus Rift. After a rough patch in the stock market in 2015, the HTC shares went up in the wake of the HTC Vive's strong initial sales.
Despite the hefty price tag of $799 per piece, the HTC Vive managed to sell like hotcakes. In fact, just 18 minutes after HTC opened up the preorder form for the headset, all preorders sold out. As a reminder, HTC Vive users should have at least a $1,000 PC so they can fully enjoy the revolutionary apps and games.
It might be that HTC will slowly shift its focus from mobile and virtual reality to the latter, exclusively. The scenario does not seem impossible, albeit it will take some time before HTC will pull the plug on its mobile division.
Earlier in 2016, rumors hinted that HTC could see a VR operations division split from its main enterprise. The organization stated that the rumor is false and assured investors that VR manufacturing remains under HTC's main roof in order to increase value for shareholders.
Following Wang's comments on the stellar future of VR, HTC's share price surged by 1.30 percent on April 25. HTC aims to reach the VR market in China and for that it will allow preorders for the Vive on TMall, one of the country's biggest e-commerce platforms.
Market analysts for the tech industry estimate that by 2020, the VR industry will grow into a business worth $110 billion.