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HTC: the most promising ICT brand in Taiwan

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2010 – the 1st grand year of:

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Core information:

Major updates: HTC expects business performance to bottom out in 1Q12 [Feb 7, 2012]

Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC expects its business operation in the first quarter of 2012 to bottom out due to a decreased average selling price along with the process of transitioning from old smartphone models to new ones, with consolidated revenues projected to decrease by 31.0-35.9% on quarter to NT$65.0-70.0 billion (US$2.19-2.36 billion) while gross margins and net operating margins are expected to slip to 25% and 7.5% respectively, according to company CFO Winston Yung at an online investor conference on February 6.

HTC expects sales to increase beginning in the second quarter of 2012 along with the launch of several new flagship smartphone models, with gross margins and net operating margins to rise to levels seen in the first three quarters of 2011, Yung indicated.

HTC has been faced with hot competition from Apple and Samsung Electronics in the US market and less competition in the Europe market, but has performed well in the Asia market, especially in China, Yung pointed out.

As smartphones are increasingly popular, HTC will cater to each market segment by launching price competitive models yet with functional differentiation to increase added value to maintain gross margins, Yung pointed out.

While sales performance of LTE (Long Term Evolution) smartphones fell short of expectation in 2011, HTC expects increased adoption of LTE models by mobile telecom carriers in the US, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea in 2012, Yung indicated.

HTC: Financial report (NT$b)

Item

4Q11

Q/Q

2011

Y/Y

Consolidated revenues

101.42

(25.33%)

465.79

67.09%

Gross margin

27.12

down 0.89 percentage point

28.30%

down 1.79 percentage points

Net operating margin

12.71

down 2.15 percentage points

14.77%

down 1.06 percentage points

Net profit

10.94

(41.40%)

61.98

56.77%

Net earnings per share (NT$)

13.06

73.32

Source: Company, compiled by Digitimes, February 2012

Mid-market Android Meltdown – HTC Warns Big Again [Forbes, Feb 6, 2012]

HTC has issued another massive revenue warning.The company is now guiding 1Q12 revenues to T$65-70 Billion, way below the T$89 Billion consensus expectation. January revenue crashed by 52% YoY. You read that right – in the overall smartphone market where at least volume growth probably was close to 50% in January, HTC sales halved year on year. Operating margins are now heading below 8% in 1Q12. What seemed like a triumphant success story just last autumn is rapidly turning into a bitter rout that has some intriguing parallels with Motorola in 2007.

This follows two major warnings from 4Q11 – warnings that should have lowered analyst expectations to realistic levels for 1Q12. Instead, many leading firms like Sanford Bernstein have continued insisting that HTC will do just fine. The size of the latest sales guidance cut clearly indicates that HTC is suffering from a post-Christmas inventory hangover that is far more serious than Wall Street expected.

We see once more how dangerous the impulse to protect strong operating margins can be. It demolished Ericsson‘s once so proud handset division in mid-Nineties, it killed Nokia’s innovation in mid-Noughties, it hamstrung Motorola around 2006.

In 2011, HTC refused to dive deep into low-end smartphone market in order to protect its mid-teen operating margins. It opted to compete head-to-head against iPhone at the high-end.

As a result, HTC now risks losing the handset success it spent half a decade building. Welcome to the club.

The market capitalization showing the real value of HTC, however, is just right on the spot:

End of major updates

The news 4 days ago were HTC Becomes Most Profitable Listed Company in Taiwan [Oct 14, 2010]:

Thanks to increasing popularity of smartphones worldwide, the Taiwan-based High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC), a globally leading vendor of smartphones its under own brand, reported an EPS (earnings per share) of NT$30.29 for the first nine months of this year, unseating MediaTek Inc., a world-caliber handset IC designer, as the most profitable listed company on the island in the period. Launching a couple of hot-selling smartphones, such as Desire, Wildfire, Legend and Incredible, to boost its market shares worldwide, HTC has enjoyed explosive sales growth and remained one of the most successful brands in Taiwan.

…. The firm raked in NT$27.058 billion [US$0.88B] in combined revenue for September, sharply up 129.65% from a year earlier to hit an all-time high. This pushed up its combined revenue and net profits for the third quarter of the year to NT$75.849 billion [US$2.47B] and NT$11.098 billion [US$0.36B], or NT$13.61 per share, respectively. Meanwhile, HTC`s aggregate combined revenue and net profits for the first nine months of the year reached NT$174.756 billion [US$5.7B] and NT$24.735 billion [US$0.81B] …

HTC has set an internal goal of shipping 54 million smartphones in 2011 but the goal is expected to be difficult to attain because the company will be faced with strong competition from Apple’s new generation of iPhone and Nokia’s Windows Phone 7-based new smartphones in the fourth quarter, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Based on the ASP of US$359 recorded in the first quarter of 2011, HTC’s second-quarter shipments of smartphones will top 11.5 million units, an increase of 18.6% from 9.7 million units shipped in the first quarter, and better than the company’s projection of 11 million units, the sources indicated.

With demand for HTC’s Android-based smartphones still growing steadily and HTC set to begin selling its naked-eye 3D model, the HTC EVO 3D, in Europe in July, the company is expected to garner revenues of NT$135-140 billion (US$4.7-4.88 billion) in the third quarter with its smartphone shipments reaching 12.5-13 million units, estimated the sources.

HTC is also expected to roll out new models for the year-end holiday season and to fulfill its annual shipment target, said the sources, noting that HTC will be able, at least, to ship 50 million smartphones in 2011, double from the amount shipped in 2010.

Smartphone vendor HTC has announced that unaudited consolidated revenues for December 2010 totaled NT$33.087 billion (US$1.131 billion). Total consolidated revenues of fiscal 2010 came to NT$278.761 billion [US$9.529 billion], up 92.92 % on year. Consolidated operating income was NT$44.185 billion, consolidated net income was NT$44.696 billion before tax and NT$39.330 billion or NT$48.24 a share after tax based on 815,239,000 weighted average number of shares.

HTC has reportedly informed its suppliers that it will eventually need parts and components for the production of up to 60 million handsets in 2011 compared to shipments of 20 million units projected for 2010, according to industry sources.

… to 50 million units in 2011 from an estimate of 25 million units for 2010, according to institutional investors.

… Worth mentioning is that HTC is likely to announce its foray into the tablet PC segment soon, and will launch its first model in 2011 as its ace in the hole to drive business operations. So far, the firm has kept completely silent on the product launch plan though.

HTC has reported consolidated revenues of NT$38.484 billion (US$1.258 billion) for November 2010, hitting a monthly record for the second consecutive time. HTC’s November consolidated revenues were 4-10% higher than the originally expected NT$35-37 billion, according to investors. HTC is expected to generate consolidated revenues of NT$33-35 billion in December, resulting in fourth-quarter figures of NT$105 billion [US$ 3.49B] which is higher than HTC’s forecast NT$100 billion, the sources pointed out.

HTC’s shipments of Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphones have been short of demand and its booming shipments will continue and reach 8.5 million units in the first quarter of 2011, the sources indicated.

… The office space is to accommodate HTC’s expanded R&D staff during the construction of its headquarters building 230 meters away from the purchased property, HTC pointed out. The building, with 17 stories and five basement levels, will have a total floor area of 85,620 square meters to accommodate 2,200 employees, with completion scheduled for the end of 2011, HTC indicated. 11 floors of the new building will be used to house R&D capacity, HTC noted.

In related news, HTC is expanding its production capacity at a factory in northern Taiwan, and another in Shanghai, eastern China, with combined monthly capacity to be increased to four million smartphones at the end of 2010, HTC noted. [This will be ~48% of total Taiwan handset output capacity. See the report below.]

Taiwan’s handset shipments hit a record in the third quarter of 2010. First-tier handset vendors Nokia, LG Electronics (LGE), Sony Ericsson and Motorola all expanded JDM or ODM orders to Taiwan, and Taiwan’s own-brand smartphone vendor High Tech Computer (HTC) also saw shipments increase, spurring Taiwan’s total handset shipments to top 21 million units.

In April this year HTC was positioned among the Global 2000 ICT companies from Taiwan as follows (source: Forbes Global 2000 Country List [Apr 21]):

Global 2000 Taiwanese ICT Stocks by Forbes -- 21-Apr-2010

The market value has dramatically changed since then for most of those companies (sources: Forbes Global 2000 Country List [Apr 21] and Reuters Stocks [from which market values were taken on Oct 15]:

Global 2000 Taiwanese ICT Stocks Market Value -- 15-Oct-2010

The red line above corresponds to the ~10% average increase for those ICT stocks, so here we can also see the above the average new increased (or below the average new decreased) value of the companies by looking at the columns themselves (while the data label numbers show the percentage value as of Oct 15 vs. March 1).

It is also worth to look at the exact numbers (by clicking on the link here you will get a PDF which provides all the source data links as seen on the image by the usual hyperlink presentations, so you could have full background, including company overviews):

Global 2000 Taiwanese ICT Stock Numbers Forbes-Reuters -- 21-Apr-15-Oct-2010

One could see here that HTC became the #3 most valuable ICT company from Taiwan jumping from the #5 place to the current #3 in just 7.5 months. Meanwhile such well established Taiwanese brands as Acer and Asustek are much behind of HTC. Also all of the PC/notebook ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers), Quanta, Compal, Wistron and Inventec are much behind HTC now. Only Hon Hai Precision Industries, well known outside Taiwan as Foxconn Technologies, is significantly bigger in market value, but Foxconn Technologies is a huge contract manufacturer owning 50+% of the worldwide Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) market. And certainly Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is even more valuable, not surprisingly, because TSMC is the #1 chip foundry in the world.

Ranking (2008 ranking)

Brand

Brand value (US$100 M.)

1 (3)

Acer

12.41

2 (1)

Trend Micro

12.35

3 (2)

ASUS

12.26

4 (4)

HTC

12.03

Source: Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)

Here is an Oct 23, 2009 ranking from Global Recession Reshuffles List of Top-20 Taiwanese Brands 2009 rankings show China`s rising [Oct 23, 2009]:

The reason? Here are two press releases from iSuppli which might somewhat explain (I will devote a whole post later to this question):

Android Drives Success in Q2 Smart Phone Market by [Oct 14] – Makers of Android-based handsets outperform the market (emphasis is mine):

Droid phone specialist HTC Corp. achieved industry-leading growth, with its smart phone shipments rising by a stunning 63.1 percent in the second quarter compared to the first.

HTC’s Android success can be traced to wireless operators that want to showcase the capabilities of their upgraded networks by offering handsets with sophisticated features to subscribers. For example, U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. is offering HTC’s EVO 4G, a feature-packed Android handset that can capitalize on the high speed of its WiMAX-based 4G network. To keep its momentum going, HTC is expected to offer an Android phone that supports Long Term Evolution (LTE)—the other major standard for 4G.

HTC’s share of global smart phone shipments in the second quarter rose to 8 percent, up from 5.3 percent in the first quarter, allowing the company to solidify its No. 4 position in the market.

HTC Intensifies Android Push, Starts Cloud Service [Sept 14]:

HTC shipped 5.4m smartphones in Q2 2010, an 80 per cent increase year-on-year. HTC owes this strong performance in no small part to its Android-based devices which were greeted with both critical and commercial success.

Initially a white label manufacturer catering to operators, HTC changed course two years ago and invested heavily in building its own brand identity, mostly on the high-to-mid end of the market. This led to the launch of Sense, which is aimed at maintaining a differentiator in a market increasingly crowded by Android devices. Screen Digest believes this strategy should prove successful in helping HTC reach 20m handsets shipped in 2010.

The move towards online services might seem surprising at first given the existing syncing options offered by Google as part of Android, but can be interpreted as a way for HTC to build further loyalty through additional complementary services.

Global Recession Reshuffles List of Top-20 Taiwanese Brands
2009 rankings show China`s rising


2 Comments

  1. […] strengths of ICT industry players in the joint cloud computing effort: – #14: HTC which is also the most promising ICT brand in Taiwan [Oct 18] – #15: a joint brain-drain effort by their major ICT players – #16: BenQ-AUO Group – #17: […]

  2. […] reading: HTC: the most promising ICT brand in Taiwan [Oct 18, 2010 – July 5, 2011; then with major updates on Feb 7, […]

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