Smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) has reported another quarterly net loss in the third quarter of the year, although its gross margin continued to improve.
In a statement on Tuesday, HTC said that it reported a net loss of NT$770 million (US$27.63 million) in the July-to-September period, higher than the NT$550 million net loss a quarter earlier.
Hurt by its struggling smartphone business, HTC has run a net loss every quarter since the second quarter of 2015, except for the first quarter of 2018, when an asset sale helped it post a quarterly net profit.
Photo courtesy of HTC Corp via CNA
Its losses per share in the third quarter rose for the first time in five quarters to NT$0.94, from NT$0.68 in the second quarter, as it continued to encounter stiff competition in the global smartphone market.
However, HTC’s gross margin — the difference between revenue and cost of goods sold — continued to climb in the third quarter to 31.6 percent from 29.9 percent in the second quarter.
In addition, HTC’s operating loss fell to NT$880 million in the third quarter from NT$1.05 billion in the second quarter, helped by a slightly improved operating margin — the difference between sales, the cost of goods sold and operating expenses — of minus-65.8 percent, compared with minus-77.8 percent in the second quarter.
Analysts said that the improving gross margin largely reflected HTC’s efforts to diversify its product mix and develop its virtual reality business to take pressure off its lackluster smartphone sales.
In September alone, HTC posted consolidated sales of NT$601 million, up 64 percent from a year earlier.
It was the company’s second-highest monthly sales figure for the year, behind its NT$664 million in June.
The increase in September sales came after the company unveiled the HTC Vive Pro 2 virtual reality (VR) headset.
Still, HTC’s consolidated sales for the third quarter fell by 0.7 percent from a quarter earlier to NT$1.34 billion.
HTC, which launched its first VR headset — the HTC Vive — in 2015, has seen rising demand for its VR gadgets amid a booming stay-at-home economy.
The latest VR gadget from HTC — the Vive Flow — went on sale in Taiwan on Monday.
The lightweight, compact immersive glasses, weighing no more than 189g, have an expansive 100° field of view, 3.2K resolution, a 75 Hertz refresh rate and full 3D spatial audio that can also connect to external Bluetooth earphones, the company said.
Analysts have said that the portable Vive Flow is HTC’s attempt to embrace the so-called “metaverse” concept talked up by Facebook Inc chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg since July.
The metaverse — a term coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 book Snow Crash — refers to a digital world where people can move between devices and communicate in a virtual environment.
Charles Huang (黃昭穎), general manager for the HTC Vive in the Asia-Pacific region, said that the Vive Flow is expected to go on sale in other countries later in the fourth quarter or in the first quarter of next year.
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