TCL Communication Technology recently reported its smartphone shipment figures for the first three quarters of 2017, and sadly it appears that the company wasn’t able to break the downwards quarterly cycle that’s been going through since Q2 2016. Shipments year-on-year have continued to decline throughout 2017 as well, and while the company managed to push roughly 50 million devices onto the market in the first three quarters of 2016, it was only able to ship around 32 million units throughout the same period of time in 2017. In light of these events, some industry watchers suspect TCL will sell part of its mobile business to outside investors.
According to TCL, the number of smartphones shipped by the company in Q1 2017 topped 10.5 million down from 17.2 million a year ago, representing a yearly decline of 39 percent. The situation improved in the second quarter, though only mildly, with TCL shipping 10.6 million smartphones, down 33 percent from Q2 2016 when shipment figures topped 15.9 million. Once again in the third quarter of 2017, TCL recorded a year-on-year drop of 33 percent, with a total of 11.6 million smartphones being shipped in the timeframe, down from 17.4 million units a year ago. The company’s recent report doesn’t include shipment figures for the fourth quarter of 2017, though given TCL’s recorded numbers throughout the year so far, it’s difficult to imagine Q4 shipments to top the 18.1 million figure registered in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The two main smartphone brands operating under TCL’s umbrella are Alcatel and BlackBerry Mobile. The latter has been a TCL subsidiary for many years, whereas the former became a part of the Chinese multinational electronics company in 2016. HP’s Palm brand also operates under TCL, and while no new mobile devices have been manufactured using the Palm license for many years, a comeback might happen in 2018. In any case, the Chinese tech giant is losing money in the mobile business, yet according to the Chairman of TCL, Li Dongsheng, the company is looking to strike a balance and has no intention of giving up its communications business. However, according to another recent report by KIA Investment Research, TCL is currently looking for offers and may eventually sell 49 percent of its communication branch to outside investors.