HTC profits slide 79% as competition stiffens

image captionHTC has launched new phone models in a bid to regain its market share

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has reported a 79% drop in profits for the third quarter as it continues to lose ground to rivals Samsung and Apple.

Net profit was NT$3.9bn ($133m; £83m) during the July to September quarter, down from NT$18.68bn a year earlier.

This is in sharp contrast with Samsung, which has forecast record profits for the same period, led by strong sales of its Galaxy smartphones.

Analysts said HTC was unlikely to catch up with its rivals in the near term.

Robert Yen of Goldman Sachs said in a report that the firm's "strategy of reducing its number of models leaves it much in need of a hit model for 2013".

He said that until HTC can find one such model "we see margins posing a downside risk".

The firm's shares fell 7% on the Taiwan Stock Exchange to NT$267 after the results.

The company's stock has fallen 44% since the start of this year.

Regaining ground?

The firm was among the early pioneers of Android-based smartphones and enjoyed a considerable share in key markets such as the US.

However, it has been hurt by the success of Samsung's Galaxy range of smartphones as well as that of Apple's iPhone.

The two rivals have consistently launched new models, with Samsung unveiling the Galaxy S3 and Apple its iPhone5 earlier this year, which has helped them to extend their lead over HTC.

In an attempt to regain its marketshare, HTC has also launched new phone models, including two Windows Phone 8 handsets.

However, analysts said that the new launches were unlikely to have a significant impact on HTC's fortunes.

"The new models we saw in the past few weeks are not going to change the game," said Dennis Chan an analyst with Yuanta Securities in Taipei.

"It will be able to keep its market share, but we won't see much pick-up."

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