Taipei, May 5 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. continues to feel the pinch from stiff competition in the global smartphone market, reporting its lowest sales figures for April in more than 13 years.
In April, HTC posted NT$2.1 billion (US$70.71 million) in consolidated sales, down 24.18 percent from a month earlier and 55.47 percent from a year earlier.
The April figure was the lowest monthly sales for HTC since August 2004, when the company's revenue stood at NT$2.05 billion. It was the third consecutive month HTC has reported sales under NT$3 billion.
Market analysts said the weaker sales numbers reflect a product vacuum at HTC, which did not launch a new flagship product to boost buying interest in April, while its efforts to expand into the virtual reality business have failed to revive the company's fortunes.
HTC has intensified its efforts to expand into the virtual reality market selling a VR headset since April 2016, but analysts said this continues to account for only a small fraction of its sales and has had little impact on the company's continued losses.
In the first four months of this year, HTC's consolidated sales totaled NT$10.89 billion, down 43.42 percent from a year earlier.
Market analysts said a plan for HTC to unveil a new flagship model phone in May is likely to drum up buying interest, helping the company rake in more sales in the upcoming few months.
On Thursday, HTC sent an invitation to the press, saying it will unveil a new product on May 23, which prompted market speculation it will be the new flagship model -- the HTC U12+ -- and is likely to go on sale by the end of this month.
Market sources said the U12+ is expected to be equipped with a 6-inch edge to edge display with a ratio of 18:9, while the upcoming model is also expected to be powered by Qualcomm's advanced Snapdragon 845 processor and equipped with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB of internal storage, as well as a 3,420 mAh battery.
The smartphone is also likely to be equipped with a dual 12 and 16 megapixel lens camera on the back with a dual 8 megapixel lens camera on the front, which will make the device good for taking selfies.
HTC remains in the red, reporting a net loss of NT$9.8 billion and a loss per share of NT$11.93 in the fourth quarter of 2017, the 11th consecutive quarter in which it reported a loss.
For 2017 as a whole, the company posted a loss per share of NT$20.58, the highest since it listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in March 2002.
However, it is possible HTC could turn a profit this year after it booked US$1.1 billion in profit in the first quarter from a deal in which the company sold its smartphone ODM assets to Google Inc., analysts said.
The proceeds are expected to boost HTC's bottom line about NT$40 per share for 2018, analysts added.