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HTC Profits Down 90% Due To Stiff Competition In Q4

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HTC Corp (TPE:2498), the Taiwanese mobile phone maker, has reported a 91 percent slump in its profits as it suffers tough competition from rival smartphone makers Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94).

HTC Profits Down 90% Due To Stiff Competition In Q4

HTC’s unaudited net profit in the fourth quarter was NT$1bn ($34.5m), down over 90 percent from the NT$11bn the company made one year ago, this was below analysts’ expectations. Its revenue for the fourth quarter was reported at NT$60bn, also down from NT$101.42bn the previous year.

Analysts have commented that the firms suffering profits were a result of it failing to launch big products throughout the period – the fourth quarter in a row that saw HTC Corp (TPE:2498)’s profits fall sharply. Profits for the third quarter were down by 80 percent.

In contrast, rival smartphone makers Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) have launched two of the largest mobile products this year: the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy.

Despite rumours of a new flagship model from HTC Corp (TPE:2498), the M7, the company has so far failed to come forth with a strong product offering capable of going toe-to-toe with the markets biggest contenders.

“The first three months of this year will be better than the fourth quarter [of 2012], which was really bad, but HTC’s earnings might not have bottomed [out] in 2012 if its flagship M7 sales disappoint this year,” said Birdy Lu of Daiwa Capital Markets.

“The new phone could have a first-mover advantage for one or two months before Samsung launches its Galaxy S4 in April, but in the long run, it’s difficult to beat Samsung’s phones,” said Lu.

Sarah Mishkin on the FT blog commented that the problems HTC was suffering echoed those at companies such as Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) and Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM), mobile companies which “have struggled to reinvent themselves as consumers continue to snap up iPhones and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) Galaxy devices.”

Despite HTC Corp (TPE:2498)’s shares rising slightly by 0.35 percent on Monday, they have fallen hard over the past year from a high of $661 in late February to $288 today.

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