HTC said its focus for 2017 is on profitability rather than growing volume, as it continues to more tightly target its business.
In a conference call, Chialin Chang, smartphone and connected devices chief, said the company is looking to bring “six to seven” products to market this year, as it looks to “dramatically” reduce its portfolio.
This means it will also reduce its exposure to certain smartphone segments. “We are going to get out of the entry level part, which I think is ultra-competitive, and we’re not necessarily going to benefit from a profitability perspective here,” the executive said.
Much of its remaining focus will be on the mid-tier rather than flagships, with products debuted throughout the year.
“Every quarter we have something unique in terms of a hero product, not necessarily at a flagship level price tier, so our proposition will be more clear,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, Chang would not be drawn on HTC’s virtual reality activities, including the timeframes for it becoming a meaningful part of the business.
“We were happy where we were, ending 2016 in terms of VR sales, and as I said before, we are selling the product with a profit,” he said. With regard to the coming year, among HTC’s focus areas (with partners) will be “nourishing” the VR content ecosystem in order to improve the appeal to consumers.
“We hope to continue the momentum for 2017 for the VR business. Of course we want it to be a meaningful part of the overall business in terms of the revenue and bottom line performance. But obviously VR is something new, and we see a lot of potential, so we are building for the future,” the executive continued.
The company again declined to comment on its work with partners, such as its work with Google on the Pixel smartphones – which HTC will not even confirm. Its only statement is that it looks to do this business “in a profitable way”.
In the fourth quarter, HTC reported a loss of TWD3.1 billion ($100.7 million), compared with a prior year loss of TWD3.4 billion, on revenue of TWD22.2 billion, down from TWD25.7 billion.