HTC’s (financial) struggle is real. The Taiwanese tech firm endured another rough quarter of business after it posted a NT$3.4 billion ($101 million) net loss for Q4 2015. Total revenue came in at NT$25.7 billion ($766 million), which is up nearly 20 percent quarter-on-quarter but down a massive 46 percent year-on-year.
The phone maker booked a slender NT$0.47 billion (then $14.7 million) profit one year ago in Q4 2014, but this time around it is a third successive quarterly loss following on from a NT$4.5 billion ($139 million) loss in Q3 2015, when it stopped forecasting its own sales, and a NT$8.0 billion (US$252 million) loss in Q2.
In a brief press announcement, HTC made some unspecific positive noises about its newer products. Its Desire line saw “good momentum” and the HTC One A9 was “well received” in Asia, the U.S. and Europe, we’re told. On a call with analysts, Chialin Chang, CFO and President of Global Sales, was more frank, admitting that sales of HTC’s flagship HTC One M9 “fell short of expectation” in 2015.
“You will find [that] the product portfolio is streamlined and matched with the right cost of doing business,” Chang said when asked what HTC plans to do differently this year.
In a bid to find that “right cost”, HTC implemented a series of restructuring initiatives in the latter part of 2015, which included laying off 15 percent of staff, and some costs related to that are still being felt. Chang said that one further quarter of expenditure from restructuring will happen, so improved financial results aren’t expected until HTC’s Q2 2016, the company CFO added.
HTC is putting a lot of emphasis on virtual reality (including its upcoming Vive product) and the Internet of things. Chang voiced his optimism that efforts in VR and wearables — where it is working with Under Armour, and just launched its first product — “will be able to contribute to the bottom line in a meaningful way.” Aside from being ambiguous, it’s tough to know how VR will play out in the consumer space — and in terms of sales — because it is so nascent and unlike other products on the market. What is clear, however, is that 2015 was a disaster for HTC, and the company can’t afford a repeat this year.