Taiwan's HTC cuts 2,000 jobs after biggest quarterly loss

A woman tries on a pair of Vive Virtual Reality goggles, produced by Taiwan's HTC, during the Gamescom 2015 fair in Cologne, Germany, on Aug 5, 2015.
A woman tries on a pair of Vive Virtual Reality goggles, produced by Taiwan's HTC, during the Gamescom 2015 fair in Cologne, Germany, on Aug 5, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC said on Thursday it would cut more than 2,000 jobs, slashing its workforce by 15 per cent, after posting its biggest quarterly loss.

The announcement came less than a week after the firm said it had swung to a deep loss of TW$8 billion (S$350 million) in the second quarter, from a net profit of TW$2.26 billion in the same period last year.

That saw HTC's closing share price sink to its lowest in more than a decade.

On Thursday stocks fell further, closing down 7.82 per cent at TW$50.7.

Once the star of the intensely competitive smartphone sector, HTC has seen its fortunes collapse as Samsung, Apple and strong Chinese brands such as Lenovo and Huawei have surged head.

The jobs cuts are part of a "business realignment" to spur growth, the firm said in a statement.

It was aiming for "significant profitable growth with a leaner and more agile operating model", the company said.

"This realignment will also involve a streamlining of operations to result in an expected reduction in operating expenditure of 35 per cent; this includes an expected 15 per cent in headcount," it added.

An HTC spokesman would not specify how many people would be laid off, but said the global headcount was 15,000, which would put the job losses at around 2,250.

Local media estimated at least 2,300 employees would be hit.

HTC cited weaker-than-expected demand for its high-end products and poor sales in China for last week's results.

The company has pinned its hopes on new product areas such as creating virtual reality experiences, including the headset HTC Vive that is currently on a display tour in the United States and Europe.

Chairman and chief executive Cher Wang said the realignment would see the establishment of new business units focusing on areas including premium smartphones and virtual reality.

"As we diversify beyond smartphones, we need a flexible and dynamic organisation to ensure we can take advantage of all of the exciting opportunities in the connected lifestyle space," Ms Wang said on Thursday.