HTC VR device shipments forecast to hit 800,000 units in 2019

Taipei, Taiwanese smartphone brand HTC Corp., which has been gearing up to penetrate the global virtual reality market, is forecast to ship 800,000 VR units in 2019, according to the Taipei-based Topology Research Institute.

Among the top three VR device suppliers in the world, shipments of HTC's VR devices are expected to rise more than 33 percent from an estimated 600,000 units for 2018 to 800,000 units in 2019, Topology said in a research report.

To take on escalating competition in the global smartphone market, HTC unveiled its first VR headset -- the HTC Vive -- in 2015 and the gadget went on global sale in April 2016.

Since the Vive, HTC has introduced models such as the Vive Pro, an upgraded version equipped with dual OLED displays and high-performance headphones and the standalone Vive Focus, which boasts a high-resolution AMOLED display and "6-degrees-of-freedom" (6DoF) tracking.

Japan's Sony Corp. is expected to continue to dominate the global VR market as the largest supplier, with its shipments for 2019 forecast to grow to 2.2 million units, up 10 percent from an estimated 2 million for 2018, according to the report.

California-based Oculus VR under American social media giant Facebook is expected to retain the second spot as its VR device shipments are forecast to grow more than 80 percent from a year earlier to 1.7 million units in 2019, the report indicated.

Topology said the significant growth enjoyed by Oculus VR will reflect its efforts to unveil the new Oculus Quest model in early 2019, while its existing Oculus Rift model as well as the Oculus Go, which was jointly developed with China's Xiaomi, are expected to continue to attract buying.

The research group said HTC, Sony and Oculus VR have their own niche markets so they tended to come up with different marketing measures in 2018.

Topology said that as VR headset suppliers are expected to introduce more content to further boost buying and mark down product prices to compete with each other, combined VR device shipments will reach 6 million units in 2019, up 29 percent from a year earlier.

Despite its efforts to enter the VR field, VR still accounts for only a small fraction of HTC's revenue, however, and has failed to boost the company's bottom line.

HTC posted a net loss of NT$2.62 billion (US$84.89 million) and a loss per share of NT$3.18 in the third quarter, both worse than the NT$2.09 billion in net loss and NT$2.53 in loss per share seen a quarter earlier.

While HTC continued to suffer a net loss in the third quarter, it posted NT$20.01 in earnings per share for the first nine months of the year because of the big one-time profit it made in the first quarter on a US$1 billion sale of its smartphone ODM assets to Google.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channels