HTC’s struggles continue, as Taiwan’s once star mobile company announced earlier this week that it experienced a loss in the third quarter, its second net loss this year.
HTC saw a loss of US$138 million (TW$4.48 billion), according to the official report.
It hasn’t been a good year for what was once the top smartphone maker by volume.
In August, HTC reported that it would cut over 2,000 jobs, following a second-quarter loss. Then, in September, the company was dropped from Taiwan’s Top 50 index, a list of companies boasting the most valued stock.
Though, once among the world’s biggest smartphone stars, HTC has been struggling since mainland Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Huawei entered the market. It is also facing stiff competition from giants Samsung and Apple.
Facts and figures
Figures compiled by digital data aggregator comScore indicate that Apple had the lead in 2013. It had 39 per cent of the market against Samsung’s 22 per cent and HTC’s share of 8.9 per cent.
In 2015, comScore’s figures place Apple at a 41.9 per cent share, followed by Samsung with 29.3 per cent, with HTC coming in third at just 4.1 per cent.
HTC’s failure does not stem from its inability to produce quality devices to compete with Apple or Korean products, according to a Business Insider profile in 2003.
“A better device won’t sell if no one knows about it,” it said, pointing out that HTC did not jump on board popular carriers in the US, nor did it do much to market itself.
The company is facing the squeeze from next door: Sales for HTC are lagging in mainland China, and the low-cost handsets coming out of the mainland are appealing to Western markets.
Social media insight provider Lamplight Analytics, based in Hong Kong, conducted an analysis on the desirability of Chinese smartphone brands among American consumers, scouring millions of social media accounts on US-based sites and found that “as mature as the market in the US is, there is an appetite for feature-rich, affordable smartphones.”
Lamplight COO Fergus Clarke said that research found that Zhuhai-based Meizu has been generating the most positive buzz recently.
What the future could hold
There is hope at the end of the tunnel if HTC expands its options, which could include virtual reality.
HTC is partnering with games company Valve on a new virtual-reality headset, the HTC Vive.
HTC stated in a press release that it’s the first device to offer a “full room scale 360- degree” experience, which features “high-quality graphics, 90 frames per second video and incredible audio fidelity.”
The HTC Vive was unveiled at the annual World Mobile Congress in Barcelona in March 2015 and has been well-received.