HTC profits slump 90% on strong competition

Image caption HTC's new phones have not been as popular at those from rivals Apple and Samsung

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC has reported a slump in profits as it continues to suffer at the hands of rivals Apple and Samsung.

Unaudited net profit in the fourth quarter was T$1bn ($34m; £21m), down more than 90% on the T$11bn the firm made a year ago and below analysts' expectations. Revenue was T$60bn.

The firm suffered from launching no big products in the period, analysts said

This is the fourth quarter in a row that HTC profits have fallen sharply.

'Hard to beat'

This is in contrast to rivals Apple and Samsung, which have profited from the release of the iPhone 5 and Galaxy models.

Despite expectations for a flagship new model, codenamed M7, this year, analysts said HTC could struggle to catch its rivals.

"The first three months of this year will be better than the fourth quarter [of 2012], which was really bad, but HTC's earnings might not have bottomed [out] in 2012 if its flagship M7 sales disappoint this year," said Birdy Lu at Daiwa Capital Markets.

"The new phone could have a first-mover advantage for one or two months before Samsung launches its Galaxy S4 in April, but in the long run, it's difficult to beat Samsung's phones."

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