HTC clings on, aims to claw back smartphone marketshare

Ailing firm HTC wants to regain its position as a global smartphone maker with a place in the top three, Q4 profit notwithstanding.

htc q4 results rally speech peter chou ceo forecast sales

Ailing firm HTC wants to regain its position in the global smartphone marketplace by clawing back marketshare, although a look at the balance sheet may make this dream seem unrealistic.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, HTC's CEO Peter Chou admitted that 2012 had been a difficult year as competitors including Apple and Samsung had proved "too strong," but remained optimistic by saying that "2013 will be better."

Whether the worst is over for the firm remains to be seen, but it might not only be shareholders that consider this dubious, but the company's own staff as well. The Taiwanese firm gave its employees a rallying speech in late december, according to the WSJ -- but the "morale boosting" event has not encouraged everyone.

According to the publication, HTC's management team, including Chou, Chairwoman Cher Wang, Chief Financial Officer Chia-lin Chang and Chief Engineering Officer David Chen gave motivational speeches at the event in order to try and pump up several thousand members of HTC staff at the “morale boosting” event in late December.

Chou reportedly told the congregation that "HTC wants to regain its global top 3 position this year," and invited his staff to "shout some slogans." However, an anonymous employee told the publication:

"To be frank, most of us still don't know how HTC can make a comeback this year as the top managers didn't tell us any solid plan or direction."

In other words, rally the troops but keep the details of company recovery a secret. Furthermore, after being impacted by the legal settlement with Apple in November, HTC may not be seen as a competitive force anymore -- something that its Q4 results implies, but is still no doubt embarrassing for a firm that used to be well-respected with sought-after products in the smartphone industry.

"While it was good to end the high-cost legal battle with Apple, I think it is humiliating for HTC in a way. Apple doesn’t think HTC is a viable competitor anymore,“ said another employee to the WSJ.

The Taiwanese firm's profits have slumped in recent years, and the company have recently missed forecasts for its fourth quarter. In 2012, profits continued to slide quarter-on-quarter as HTC reported Q3 profits of $2.39 billion. Year-on-year, the company has seen profits drop 79 percent, and now in Q4, net profit has plunged 91 percent from a year ago as Samsung and Apple continue to wipe the floor with the smartphone marker.

HTC reported unaudited Q4 net profit of T$1 billion ($34.48 million) on Monday, a fall from NT$11.02 billion ($379.5 million) in the fourth quarter of 2011.