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More woes for HTC

Loses deepen

Troubled Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has posted a first-quarter loss that was wider than analyst estimates. Analysts are putting the blame on the pants results after ineffective marketing resulted in weak sales of its former flagship model.

The HTC One was a brilliant phone and won rave reviews but was undermined by advertising which was widely criticized as confusing. HTC was once a firm third to Apple and Samsung, selling 10 percent of smartphones globally two years ago, but it ended 2013 with a market share of just 2 per cent. The company started 2014 by booking a net loss of $62.06 million for January-March. Revenue fell 22.6 percent.

On the plus side, HTC, however, broke 28 months of on-year revenue declines with a rise of 2.16 percent in March, and said it expected to return to profit in the second quarter thanks in part to the late-March release of its upgraded flagship, the HTC One M8.

Shares of HTC have fallen 38 percent over the past year. Ahead of the release, they closed up 3.6 percent versus the benchmark's 0.1 percent loss. The former contract manufacturer released a series of mid-range smartphones in recent weeks, predicting cheaper phones in emerging markets will help it return to profit this year. It has also launched a partnership with search engine giant Google to manufacture smart watches.

But it is the new flagship HTC One M8 that the company hopes will help it reestablish itself as a challenger to market leaders Apple and Samsung.

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