Taipei, March 21 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC Corp. posted a net loss in 2019, hurt by stiff competition in the global market and the inability of its virtual reality business to make up for slumping smartphone sales.
The company’s fourth quarter gross margin, however, improved for the eighth consecutive quarter, the brand said.
In a statement released Friday, HTC reported a net loss of NT$9.36 billion (US$309 million), or a net loss per share of NT$11.43 in 2019 after running a net profit of NT$12.07 billion, or NT$14.72 in earnings per share, in 2018.
That result was deceiving, however, because the gains came from HTC’s US$1 billion sale of its smartphone ODM assets to Google Inc. rather than its core business.
Prior to 2018, the last time HTC ran a profit for the full year was in 2014.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, HTC posted a net loss of NT$2.37 billion, with a net loss per share of NT$2.87. It was the 17th loss in the past 18 quarters for the company.
Still, HTC’s gross margin for the fourth quarter rose 2.8 percentage points from a quarter earlier to 25.7 percent, with analysts largely attributing the improvement to a cut in operating costs.
HTC’s virtual reality business, which it launched in 2015 with the HTC Vive VR headset, again accounted for only a small fraction of the company’s sales and failed to offset the company’s slumping smartphone business.
Analysts said the company’s profitability remains squeezed by stiff competition in not only the high-end smartphone