HTC raises wages in April

Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. has decided to raise wages in a bid to retain its employees despite posting steady losses.

HTC did not disclose details on the wage hike, but it did say all raises would be merit-based and retroactive to January.

Local media reported earlier this week that HTC had raised wages for employees in its virtual reality operation by up to 10 percent, starting from April, to benefit an estimated 1,000 workers in the division.

HTC responded, however, that the latest pay hike was not limited to the VR department.

The company is trying to build a strong presence in the VR market to create an alternative revenue stream to supplement declining smartphone sales, selling VR headsets since April 2016.

But the business has accounted for only a small fraction of the company's sales and done little to stem its continued losses.

The company's consolidated sales in March were down 46.66 percent from a year earlier to NT$2.77 billion (US$95.19 million), which analysts attributed to the inability of its flagship U12 model to drum up buying interest.

HTC is hoping the next premium model it unveils, the U12+, which is expected to come out in early May, will make more of an impact and boost sales, analysts said.

In the first quarter, HTC had consolidated sales of NT$8.79 billion, down 39.52 percent from a year earlier.

That came after HTC posted a net loss of NT$9.8 billion and a loss per share of NT$11.93 in the fourth quarter of 2017, the 11th consecutive quarter in which it reported a loss.

For 2017 as a whole, the company reported a net loss of NT$16.91 billion and a loss per share of NT$20.58, the highest since it listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in March 2002.

HTC has been hurt by intense competition in the global smartphone market, not only for high-end phones but also in the low- to mid-range segment.

The proceeds from HTC's US$1.1 billion sale of its smartphone ODM assets to Google in the first quarter are expected to bolster the Taiwanese company's bottom line in 2018.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel