HTC to raise salaries next year despite dull sales in ’12


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s HTC Corp., the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker by market share, will raise salaries next year despite lower sales figures in 2012 than a year earlier, CEO Peter Chou said yesterday. “We’ll definitely raise our employees’ salaries, giving bigger increases particularly to those whose monthly pay is less than NT$50,000,” Chou said in response to reporters’ questions at a press briefing to unveil HTC’s latest commercial.

Chou, however, did not give any further details about the pay hike, saying only that HTC values its employees and treats them well by offering “mid to upper” range salaries and benefits.

“I’d like to encourage everyone to work hard together to usher in a prosperous new year,” he said.

Asked if he will remain CEO of the company for at least another year, Chou sidestepped the question, saying that people should seize the moment, live for today and make the best of it.

“HTC is ready, and we’re all confident of the future,” he said. The new TV commercial aims to reinforce the HTC brand image, Chou said. “We’d like to use this commercial to show our confidence and readiness to usher in the new year,” he said. The 60-second commercial, shot in Taiwan with a cast of HTC employees, conveys the message that everyone should work together despite any challenges, Chou said.

“We believe in dreams and the value of persistence,” he said. “Although we may encounter difficulties and challenges along the way, we never fear facing them. Instead, challenges give us motivation to improve.”

HTC had a rough year in 2012, with falling revenues, sliding share prices and patent lawsuits.

The Taoyuan-based company reported NT$207.87 billion in consolidated revenue for the first 11 months of 2012, down 34.83 percent year-on-year from NT$318.99 billion in 2011. Its shares also hit a low of NT$194 in early November after sliding from around NT$1,300 in April 2011. HTC shares closed at NT$300 on Dec. 28, the last business day of the year in Taiwan.

Although HTC can now focus more on product innovation since its patent settlement with rival Apple Inc., analysts cautioned that the Taiwanese company is still facing problems such as loss of market share in the U.S. and intensifying competition in China’s smartphone market.