HTC's Q1 profit sinks to record low

HTC reported the weak earnings after delaying the launch of its newest smartphone

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC reported a major decline in its first quarter profit, after the company was forced to push back the launch of its newest flagship phone to April.

HTC on Monday said its net profit for the quarter reached NT$85 million (US$2.84 million), its lowest for the quarter according to online financial records stretching back to 2005. The weak earnings mark a considerable dive from past first quarters when the company's net profit consistently exceeded 1 billion Taiwanese dollars. Last year, for example, the net profit for the first quarter reached NT$4.47 billion.

HTC's revenue, at NT$ 42.8 billion, also came in under company projections of NT$50 billion to $60 billion.

Since late 2011, HTC has struggled to maintain earnings as it has faced heated competition from rivals such as Apple and Samsung. The company has sought to bounce back by promoting a new flagship smartphone brand, called the "One" series, while also increasing product marketing.

It's latest flagship phone, the HTC One, was expected to go on sale in March, just in time for this year's first quarter. But the company later postponed the global roll-out to April, with analysts pointing to a shortage in high-end components as the culprit for the delay.

The late release of HTC's newest flagship phone further puts pressure on the Taiwanese company when Samsung's newest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, is slated to also arrive in April. Given Samsung's larger marketing budget and bigger name recognition, analysts expect the close release dates could take smartphone sales away from HTC.

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Michael Kan

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