HTC’s 2016 has been incredibly costly so far

9 May 2016

Amid the release of its flagship HTC 10 smartphone and Vive VR system, Taiwanese tech giant HTC has revealed a 64pc drop in revenues in Q1.

This time last year, HTC looked to be turning a corner. After a steep demise throughout the 2010s, a new focus on few flagship devices, rather than many, saw it make a marginal profit in Q1 of 2015.

The One M8’s success in 2014 led into this, with great things expected of the One M9 last April. However, decent results faded away throughout 2015, with the start to 2016 grim indeed.

Posting revenues of €400m in Q1, the drop off of 64pc is astounding. Profits dropped even more (78pc), with the company posting a loss of around €130m.

Admittedly, the two major revenue drivers for the year – the M10 and the Vive – are not included in these figures, but it means the company’s base has dropped ever more.

HTC Earnings

“We have been working hard to lay the groundwork over the past year, streamlining processes and optimising resources to enable us to develop the best products in the most effective way,” said HTC chair Cher Wang when announcing the results.

The company has been fighting off its consistent demise in various ways, but VR has come to the fore.The company is putting as many eggs as possible into this nascent industry,  notably revealing a VR accelerator for start-ups last month.

A forecast by Strategy Analytics last month predicted nearly €1bn in revenues generated in VR this year, shared between Oculus, Sony and HTC. This is a huge chunk of spend and, should HTC’s Vive steal a decent share of this expected market, then things could turn around.

However, if it doesn’t it’s not clear exactly where the former phone giant can go, other than backwards.

Main image of HTC branding at MWC last year via Pieter Beens/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic