Fri, Sep 07, 2012 - Page 13 News List

HTC sales drop almost by half

FREEFALL:The smartphone maker is betting on the launch of its new smartphone next month to help it claw back a larger share of an Apple Inc-dominated market

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) yesterday reported that sales last month fell 47 percent from a year earlier and that accumulated sales in the first eight months of the year dropped 34.83 percent from the year before, a company release said.

HTC, the world’s No. 5 smartphone brand, said its sales last month reached NT$24.02 billion (US$802.3 million), compared with NT$45.32 billion a year ago.

On a monthly basis, sales were 4 percent less than the NT$25.03 billion it made in July, as the company’s One Series smartphones continued to face fierce competition from Apple Inc’s iPhone 4S and Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy S III.

During the first eight months of the year, revenue totaled NT$207.87 billion, down from NT$318.99 billion in the same period last year, the company’s data showed.

The latest figures came ahead of the Taoyuan-based company’s plan to unveil its new smartphone running on the latest Windows Phone operating system during a Sept. 19 event in New York.

Microsoft Corp expects its Windows platform could become an alternative for mobile users other than Apple’s iOS and Google Inc’s Android system, while HTC is pinning its hopes on new launches to drive up sales and win back a share of the market.

On Aug. 3, HTC said it would experience a weak third quarter, projecting sales between NT$70 billion and NT$80 billion in the quarter from July to the end of this month, which represents a decline of 12 percent to 23 percent from the previous quarter, or down 41 percent to 48 percent from a year earlier, because of falling product prices and a change in its product portfolio.

The company is also on schedule to introduce its HTC J smartphone — a handset that is popular in Japan that runs the Android 4.0 operating system and features a 4.3-inch touchscreen display — in Taiwan on Tuesday, one day before the expected launch of Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5 in San Francisco.

However, analysts have said HTC is likely to face competition from Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 and the iPhone 5 in the final quarter.

HTC’s falling sales have affected local supply-chain companies such as metal casing manufacturer Catcher Technology Co (可成科技).

On Wednesday, Catcher said its sales declined last month because of weak handset casing shipments. Catcher’s consolidated revenue was NT$2.71 billion last month, the lowest this year and down 12.4 percent from NT$3.1 billion in July. On an annual basis, the figure was 25.7 percent lower than NT$3.65 billion in August last year.

In the first eight months of the year, accumulated revenue totaled NT$24.11 billion, up 5 percent from NT$22.97 billion the year before, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Grand Cathay Securities Co (大華投顧) analyst Lisa Chen (陳玫芬) said she did not expect Catcher to fare well in the current quarter because the company’s handset clients, such as HTC and Nokia Oyj, are facing headwinds amid negative economic conditions and shrinking market shares.

“But we expect a better performance in the fourth quarter because of the shipments of Ultrabooks and ultra-like notebooks,” Chen said of Catcher’s sales outlook in a note issued yesterday.

Shares in HTC fell 1.17 percent to NT$254 in Taipei trading yesterday, ahead of the release of last month’s sales figures, while Catcher fell 6.31 percent at NT$141.

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