Just last month, British luxury smartphone maker Vertu announced that the company has reached an agreement with TCL to use latter’s technology for its smartphones. At the time, Vertu said that 30,000 handcrafted Vertu phones will be manufactured under TCL partnership but now the premium smartphone maker is reportedly shutting down.
Earlier this year, Turkish businessman Hakan Uzan acquired Vertu for a consideration of GBP 50 million (roughly Rs. 402.65 crores). As per a report by Financial Times, Uzan tried to repay the company’s debt worth GBP 138 million (roughly Rs. 1,154 crores) for GBP 1.9 million (roughly Rs. 15.9 crores) , points out Android Police. As the creditors rejected this offer, Vertu’s operations are going to shut down.
Notably, the concierge services for previous buyers are also being reportedly suspended. While 200 employees are being laid off due to this shutdown, Uzan has been said to be planning to make comeback later this year. As Uzan still has the design and technology licenses, we can see Vertu-branded smartphones produced from TCL factories, Android Police says.
It is not especially surprising that Vertu has been facing financial problems as it is hard to find customers who are ready to pay thousands of dollars but offer functionality that is equal to or even less than that offered by current flagship smartphones. Though the company used premium material including gold, titanium, and diamond among other things on their handsets, the impracticality of the price to value offered was always bound to catch up.
Vertu brand might be able to make a comeback later this year itself but it is likely that the company will change its model into something that might focus towards generating more revenue rather than staying restricted to a very limited audience.