Skip to main content

HTC cuts phone prices to boost sluggish sales

It turns out even Iron Man can't save HTC from quarterly losses. The Taiwanese smartphone maker has announced plans to cut handset prices in an effort to boost sluggish sales.

As reported by Bloomberg, HTC said during an investors' call that it will begin selling phones in a wider price range, though specific costs were not revealed.

The company will, however, avoid the "ultra low-end" market, chief financial officer Chia-Lin Chang told investors.

"Pricing pressure is always there and it's not new. To us, brand is important, price performance is important, while time-to-market is also important," he said. "We believe we can do well with a combination of those things. Different markets have different competitive natures as well."

Since posting its first-ever quarterly loss in early October, HTC hasn't been able to regain its footing, forecasting fourth-quarter revenue between $1.4 billion (£871 million) and $1.5 billion (£933.4 million) — below the $1.77 billion (£1.1 billion) estimated by Bloomberg analysts.

An HTC spokesman declined to comment.

The company's ongoing struggles continued this summer, when Chief Operating Officer Matthew Costello stepped down amidst slumping sales. Still with HTC, he reportedly moved to Europe to become an executive advisor. Costello became the seventh HTC exec to jump ship since the beginning of the year.

HTC hoped to turn things around, though, when it hired Robert Downey Jr. as a new pitchman, running a series of commercials featuring the actor announcing a new "Here's To Change" catchphrase. The two-year campaign cost HTC a reported $12 million (£7.4 million); so far, it doesn't seemed to have helped recoup much in the way of sales. It has, however, increased advertising awareness by 12 per cent and brand momentum by 15 per cent, according to the company.

The recent launch of HTC's 4.3in One Mini and 5.9in One Max might help during the holiday season, but competition from Apple and Samsung will likely continue to weigh down HTC.

HTC will at least get a small financial boost once it officially extricates itself from a stake in Beats Audio.