HTC shares fall as first quarter profit tumbles 70%

Models holding HTC phones
Image caption The firm has been launching new phones in a bid to increase its market share amid growing competition

Shares of smartphone maker HTC fell on the Taiwan Stock Exchange after the company reported a sharp drop in its profit for the first quarter.

Its shares dipped as much as 6.8% to 545 New Taiwan dollars.

On Friday, the firm said net profit for the first three months of year fell 70% from a year earlier to NT$4.46bn ($151m; £95m).

The numbers come as the firm faces increasing competition from rivals such as Samsung and Apple.

HTC also reported a 35% drop in revenue for the period. Analysts said the weak results had raised concerns about the impact of increasing competition on the firm's future growth.

"They have been ambushed by very strong competition in a very short period of time," Andrew Milroy of Frost & Sullivan told the BBC.

"They are in the middle of a really fast-paced market and they haven't responded quite as well to the competition."

'Make a comeback'

HTC, which used to be a contract electronics manufacturer, started making phones under its own brand just five years ago.

The firm made rapid progress and was one of the early market leaders in the Android sector. It gained valuable share in key markets such as the US, and at one time was the world's third-largest mobile phone maker.

However, the company failed to hold on to its dominant position and has been losing ground to other Android phone makers, as well as Apple's iPhone.

The firm is launching a new series of phones, dubbed HTC One, in a bid to regain its market share.

Analysts said that even though the company had suffered a setback, it had a good chance to bounce back.

"They are in the right sector. The Android market is growing and they have the expertise to be able to make a comeback," said Frost & Sullivan's Mr Milroy.

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