Tue, Feb 27, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Asustek to unveil new ZenFones today

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) is today to unveil the new generation of its ZenFone series during the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, as part of the company’s efforts to swing its smartphone business into the black this year.

It marks the fifth year since Asustek launched its first ZenFone in the first half of 2014.

The Taiwanese company’s smartphone business had booked quarterly profits in the past few years, but has not yet lingered in the black for an entire year.

“This year is critical for Asustek’s smartphone business. We intentionally moved the launch time of the ZenFone six months earlier compared with last year, hoping that the business could sustain the sales momentum throughout the year,” Asustek chief executive officer Jerry Shen (沈振來) told investors earlier this month.

Asustek is to introduce three models of the ZenFone 5 series today during the trade show’s international news conference, Shen said.

The series is to feature Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon processor, Asustek’s news conference invitation says.

The company plans to introduce six ZenFone models this year — three in the first half and the other three in the second half, Shen said.

The average selling price of the series this year is to range from NT$4,000 to NT$15,000 (US$136.82 to US$513.08), a more than two-fold jump compared with the first generation’s starting price of NT$4,000, he said.

With the higher average selling price and the planned launch schedules, Asustek management said it is likely that the smartphone business could turn profitable this year.

Asustek’s smartphone business last year accounted for 17 percent of the firm’s total revenue of NT$392.89 billion, company data showed.

Asustek on Feb. 9 reported net profit of NT$15.54 billion for last year, its lowest annual profit since 2010, a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed. Earnings per share were NT$20.9, compared with NT$25.9 in 2016.

Asustek shares fell 0.91 percent to close at NT$272 in Taipei trading yesterday, underperforming the TAIEX, which gained 0.39 percent.

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