HTC Corp’s (宏達電) smartphone shipments are this year expected to underperform Asustek Computer Inc’s (華碩) for the second consecutive year, which hardly makes HTC a major smartphone brand in the global market, analysts said.
Market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) last week forecast that Asustek’s smartphone shipments would grow 34 percent annually to 21.5 million this year, while HTC’s shipments could drop 27 percent year-on-year to 13 million units.
“We project shipments of HTC’s flagship model M10 will only be about 1 million this year… It is highly unlikely that HTC will be able to regain its past glory as a major brand in the market,” TrendForce analyst Avril Wu (吳雅婷) said in a report released on Thursday.
Asustek has become the leading Taiwanese smartphone brand, mainly because of its low-priced, high-performance handsets, Wu said.
The company’s strategy to switch most of its smartphone processors from Intel Corp’s chips to Qualcomm Inc’s, which are more efficient and generate less heat, also drive demand for Asustek smartphones, Wu said.
With tough competition from Asustek and Chinese vendors, such as Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀移動), HTC’s handset shipments are expected to fall from last year’s 18 million units, she said.
The 13 million units Wu expects HTC will ship include the Taiwanese company’s additional Nexus smartphone production in the second half of this year for Google.
HTC does not disclose its smartphone shipment numbers.
Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) forecast that HTC would ship a total of 17.7 million smartphones this year, representing a 7.8 percent annual decline from an estimated 19.2 million units last year.
HTC’s smartphone business has not improved, contrary to what the company told investors and shareholders recently, said a Yuanta analyst who declined to be named, citing HTC’s disappointing sales in April and May.
HTC global sales division head Chang Chia-lin (張嘉臨) last month told shareholders that sales of M10 smartphones this year is much better than last year’s sales of the M9 handset.
At that time, Chang said the robust sales of the M10, which hit the market at the beginning of April, had also helped boost demand for the firm’s other handset models by about 20 percent.
However, the Yuanta analyst said Chang’s optimism over the smartphone sales was not reflected in the April-to-May sales figures, which plunged 48.58 percent to NT$12.5 billion (US$388 million) from last year’s NT$24.31 billion.
“Excluding the sales contribution from HTC’s VR headset that also hit the market in April, the scale of annual decline of the company’s smartphone revenues would be more than 48.58 percent,” the analyst said.
That suggests that sales of M10 and HTC’s other smartphones were not as good as the company said, he added.
In light of poor revenues in April and May, the analyst said HTC’s guidance of a smartphone business turnaround in the second half of this year would be difficult, because sales of the M10 is likely to dissipate following its launch in April.
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