HTC pins hopes on updated phone

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 February, 2014, 5:17am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 February, 2014, 2:39pm

HTC said an updated version of the One smartphone, its first wearable device, and a renewed focus on marketing will help turn the company around this year after two consecutive annual declines in revenue.

"We feel positive and optimistic about 2014 when compared to 2013," Chang Chia-lin, chief financial officer and head of global sales for the Taiwanese company, said on Wednesday. He declined to provide a forecast before an investor conference call scheduled for Monday.

Once the leading smartphone maker in the United States, HTC's sales dropped 30 per cent last year as product delays and a shrinking marketing budget caused it to lose share to LG Electronics and Lenovo. A wearable device would be available by the Christmas shopping season after years of development and technical challenges, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said.

"Many years ago we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems," she said. "These are customer-centric problems."

HTC shares fell 53 per cent last year, their third annual decline, while revenue dropped to NT$203.4 billion (HK$52.1 billion) and it reported its first annual net loss. Its sales and marketing budget dropped 20 per cent in 2012, and was 9 per cent lower in the first three quarters of last year.

Wang, who co-founded the company with chief executive Peter Chou and former chief executive H.T. Cho in 1997, said it planned to renew its marketing efforts after last year's well-received HTC One smartphone failed to boost revenue.

"To tell the truth, we never think marketing is that important - this is really not very good," Wang said.