HTC Releases Q4 Results, Sees Revenue Drop 28%; Will Turn To Cheaper Smartphones To Reverse Sagging Finances

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HTC
HTC sold one in every 10 smartphones around the world two years ago, but in 2013, its worldwide market share dropped to only 2 percent.

HTC (TPE:2498) suffered yet another decline in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013, and the beleaguered company said it would turn to cheaper smartphones in 2014 to reverse the slump.

According to the Taiwanese tech firm’s Q4 financial numbers, released Monday, the last quarter of 2013 returned only NT$42.9 billion ($1.4 billion), compared to NT$60 billion (nearly $2 billion) earned during the same period a year ago -- a drop of more than 28 percent. The company forecast even lower revenue -- between NT$34 billion and NT$36 billion -- for the first quarter of 2014.

“We will continue to stay focused on making the best smartphone and building a compelling mid-range portfolio. Meanwhile, we are going to communicate better with consumers,” Peter Chou, HTC’s CEO, said in a statement on Monday. Reiterating comments from Cher Wang, HTC’s co-founder and chairwoman, to Reuters, Chou added that it is time for the company to expand its range of cheaper products.

Wang had told Reuters last week: “The problem with us last year was we only concentrated on our flagship. We missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market.” 

According to Chialin Chang, HTC's ‎chief financial officer, the company now plans to sell products in the $150 to $300 price range in both emerging and developed markets. The company's high-end phones, in comparison, retail for more than $600.

However, the company also said that it would not enter the “very, very low-end market,” but would soon announce a new flagship phone, likely the next-generation version of the HTC One. 

On HTC’s China website, only two of the company’s phones are available for under $150 while 21 phones retail for more than $500, The Verge reported, citing International Data Corporation.

Nearly two years ago, HTC supplied one in every 10 smartphones sold around the world. But, in 2013, the company’s worldwide smartphone market share dropped to only 2 percent, according to Neil Mawston, an analyst at Strategy Analytics.

“If they can get one or two new models to sell reasonably well, they could return in the second quarter to the level they were at a year earlier,” Dale Gai, an analyst at Barclays, told The Wall Street Journal. “That's still low compared to previous years, but it's a different landscape now.”

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