Google completed a transaction which sees it taking on a number of staff from troubled Taiwan-based vendor HTC, stating as its hardware business enters its third year, “we remain committed to building and investing for the long run”.

In a blog post, Rick Osterloh, Google’s hardware SVP, said: “these new colleagues bring decades of experience achieving a series of firsts particularly in the smartphone industry – including bringing to market the first 3G smartphone in 2005, the first touch-centric phone in 2007, and the first all-metal unibody phone in 2013”.

Google already worked with the former HTC staffers on development of the Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones.

Osterloh also said the deal will see Taipei become the largest Google engineering site in the APAC region: “Today, we start digging in with our new teammates, guided by the mission to create radically helpful experiences for people around the world, by combining the best of Google’s AI, software and hardware.”

Google and HTC announced the deal in September 2017, stating the smartphone maker would receive $1.1 billion in cash, with Google also licensing HTC’s intellectual property. The smartphone pioneer struggled in recent years, as it faced increased competition from a number of international rivals.

It is investing in VR as a provider of future growth.