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商业 - 科技

HTC还能撑多久

Kevin Kelleher 2013年10月21日

近两年来,一度登上智能手机头号厂商宝座的HTC股价和市场份额双双走低。本月初,公司甚至警告称这个季度将出现上市以来的首次亏损。与此同时,业界风传,联想正在考虑收购HTC。HTC是第一部安卓智能手机的缔造者,如今安卓系统大行其道,HTC却已命悬一线。它还能撑多久?

    第一个倒下的是Palm,然后是诺基亚(Nokia),接下来是黑莓(BlackBerry)。它们都曾经是智能手机界举足轻重的弄潮儿,可如今都已沦落到要看别人脸色行事的地步。深陷泥潭的宏达电(HTC)会成为下一家吗?

    现在看来倒真有可能。本月初,HTC曾经警告投资者称,它将出现公司上市以来的首次季度亏损。一些台湾媒体随后报道称,HTC打算与联想(Lenovo)合并。(还有消息称联想正在评估收购黑莓一事)。这在几年前无疑是天方夜谭,HTC是最早生产Android手机的厂商,曾在智能手机界红极一时。

    HTC手机一直被认为同苹果及三星推出的高端产品不相上下。但它的市场份额和股价如今双双萎缩:在台湾证券交易所上市的HTC股票过去两年半内的跌幅已经超过了90%。

    成立于1997年的HTC一直是智能手机界最具创新力的公司之一。它在2000年生产出世界上首批带有触摸屏的手机,两年之后,它又制造出第一部搭载有微软(Microsoft)操作系统的智能手机。2006年,HTC从合约手机业务转型,成为拥有独立品牌的手机生产商。

    2007年,谷歌(Google)发布Android手机操作系统,HTC迅速跟进研发相应产品。2009年第三季度,也就是iPhone上市后的两年,HTC发布了它的首款Android手机——G-1,又称梦想。这款手机上市后好评如潮。一年后,谷歌希望生产自有品牌的Android手机,于是选择HTC作为合作生产伙伴。不久,Nexus One诞生。

    Android手机发展迅速,从2011年年中开始已占据智能手机市场主导地位。HTC则依靠Android手机独领风骚,风投一时无两。HTC的市场份额节节上升,市值也一举超过诺基亚。根据调研公司Canalys的数据,HTC在2011年第三季度曾经力压三星和苹果,成为美国最大的智能手机生产厂商。HTC在冠军宝座上坚持了将近一个季度的时间。

    HTC当时在全球市场份额为11%,虽然绝对数字不高,但足以维持它全球第四大智能手机生产商的地位。但据调研机构ABI Research的数据,HTC目前在美国市场份额仅为7%,全球市场则低至2.8%。这个数字甚至还排不进全球前十大智能手机厂商,而三星目前则占据了全球三分之一的市场份额。

    随着谷歌收购摩托罗拉移动(Motorola Mobility),以及苹果打赢专利官司,成功禁售数款HTC手机,HTC如今可谓雪上加霜。在美国市场输给三星对HTC构成的打击最大。三星的创新基因非常优秀,而且财大气粗,可以毫不犹豫地在Galaxy系列上大打价格战。Galaxy S3和S4如今是美国市场最受欢迎的Android手机。即便在发展中国家,三星和苹果也成功占据了高端市场,LG、华为(Huawei)、中兴(ZTE)、小米(Xiaomi)等厂商则开始抓住中低端市场不断增长的需求。

    过去两年,HTC营收和利润双双下滑。10月4日,这家公司提前发布了财报,称公司整体营收将同比大跌14%,同时还将面临巨额亏损,亏损幅度之大,将超出所有分析师的预期。本月上旬,HTC董事长王雪红颇为乐观的预测,公司将在本季度强势反弹。许多投资者认为HTC“谦和之中见卓越”的口号无法和用户产生共鸣。为了打消质疑,HTC最近签下钢铁侠小罗伯特•唐尼作为代言人。

    即便如此,大多数分析师仍然不看好HTC。如今智能手机市场竞争太过激烈,HTC东山再起难度太大。本季度它也许能恢复盈利,但那不过是出售了所持有的美国耳机制造商Beats的股份。分析师们认为重组是迟早的事,HTC要么被实力更强大的竞争对手收购,要么和它们合并。但据称王雪红本人坚决反对并购。

    First Palm. Then Nokia (NOK). Then BlackBerry (BBRY). Is HTC the next smartphone maker to go from a strong contender in the smartphone market to a troubled company in need of rescue?

    It's starting to look like it. Earlier this month, the company warned investors to brace themselves for the company's first loss as a public company. Then a Taiwan tabloid reported last week that the company may be planning a merger with Lenovo (Lenovo is now reportedly mulling a bid for BlackBerry (BBRY)). That's a far cry from a few years ago, when HTC was an early manufacturer of Android phones and a mover and shaker in the smartphone market.

    HTC's phones have long been considered in the same league with the best phones from Apple (AAPL) and Samsung, but its market share and stock price have both been shrinking: The stock, traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, has lost more than 90% of its value in the past two and a half years.

    Founded in 1997, HTC has long been an innovative force in smartphones. In 2000, it developed one of the first phones with a touchscreen interface, and two years later it introduced the first smartphone powered by Microsoft (MSFT) software. In 2006, HTC went from being a contract manufacturer of phones to marketing handsets under its own brand.

    In 2007, when Google (GOOG) launched its Android mobile operating system, HTC quickly announced it was already at work on an Android phone. HTC launched its first Android phone in the fall of 2009, two years after Apple introduced the first iPhone. Named the G-1 or the Dream, the phone received early praise. A year later, when Google wanted to build its own Android phone, it turned to HTC to manufacture the device it later named the Nexus One.

    In early 2011, as Android phones began to dominate the smartphone market, HTC saw its market share expand and its market cap surpass that of Nokia's, which for years was the leading smartphone maker in the world. According to Canalys, HTC became the biggest U.S. smartphone vendor in the third quarter of 2011, surpassing Samsung and Apple and controlling nearly a quarter of the U.S. market.

    Globally, HTC held a smaller share back then -- 11% -- but big enough to make it the fourth-largest smartphone company in the world. Recently, however, HTC has held about 7% of the U.S. market and even less of the global market: 2.8%, according to ABI Research, which noted that the company isn't even ranked in the top 10 global smartphone makers. Samsung controls a third of that global market.

    HTC's decline accelerated as Google bought Motorola Mobility and as Apple won a court ban on some HTC handsets. Mostly, HTC lost its lead of the U.S. market to Samsung, a company with a long tradition of innovative engineering and a budget big enough to market its Galaxy line of phones aggressively. The Galaxy S3 and S4 became the most coveted Android phones in the U.S. Meanwhile, in emerging markets, Samsung and Apple held a lock on the high end while companies like LG, Huawei, ZTE,and Xiaomi began to capture the growing demand for low-cost smartphones.

    Over the past two years, HTC's revenue and profit dwindled. On Oct. 4, the company pre-announced financial results that showed revenue would be down 14% from a year ago and that it would post a loss bigger than even bearish analysts were expecting.

    Even so, most analysts continued to express concern that competition in the smartphone market was too intense and that HTC had too many things to fix before it could declare a turnaround. The company may post a profit this quarter, but only because it's selling its stake in a U.S. headphone maker. Beyond that, analysts see further restructuring, if not a buyout or merger with a larger company. Wang has repeatedly ruled out such a move.

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