Thu, Aug 08, 2019 - Page 10 News List

HTC shares plunge amid UK sales stoppage report

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) would not comment on a Monday BBC report that it has stopped selling its latest models in the British market amid patent disputes there, but investors have reacted negatively to the news.

The news, combined with a nearly 70 percent month-on-month plunge in sales for last month, yesterday sent HTC shares tumbling 7.95 percent to NT$33 in Taipei trading.

HTC said the company takes intellectual property rights seriously and has launched an investigation into the charges.

"We are proactively investigating an infringement claim by a third party with respect to a single handset model. Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily stopped sales of other HTC smartphones in the U.K. while we verify that all handsets have the required workaround," HTC said in a statement.

"We will take the necessary steps to resume sales in due course," the statement said.

However, the company did not directly comment on the BBC report and its Web site in the UK and several distribution channels, such as Carphone Warehouse Ltd, Telefonica UK Ltd and EE Ltd, showed its products as being “out of stock.”

The models HTC has stopped offering in the UK include the Desire 12, the Desire 12+, U12 Life, U12+ and U11, but those models remain available in other countries, the BBC said.

HTC has long been involved in a patent dispute with IPcom GmbH & Co KG, a Germany-based intellectual property licensing company, over a wireless technology developed for car phones, the broadcaster said.

Although its latest smartphone models have been pulled from the UK, HTC continues to sell its 5G router and virtual-reality headsets there, it added.

On Tuesday, HTC reported consolidated sales of NT$440 million (US$13.97 million) for last month, down 69.8 percent from June and down 68.52 percent from a year earlier.

The figure was the lowest since HTC listed on the local stock market in March 2002.

Analysts said that HTC has been unable to find a niche for its products in the fiercely competitive global smartphone market, and that its virtual-reality business has not been able to make up for the slumping handset sales.

In the first seven months of this year, HTC’s consolidated sales totaled NT$6.19 billion, down 63.5 percent from a year earlier.

This story has been updated since it was first published.

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