HTC is planning to lay off approximately 25-percent of its workforce in the immediate future in a bid to reduce operating costs and try to ride out the increasingly tough financial times that have befallen it, Reuters reports. Some 1,500 employees are hence set to lose their jobs in the coming weeks, with the move being expected to leave HTC with fewer than 5,000 workers on a global level. The struggling Taiwanese company is understood to be primarily looking to cut jobs within its main manufacturing division in its home country, though a smaller wave of layoffs has already been conducted in the United States earlier this year.
The Taipei-based firm just posted the worst year in its history, losing approximately $580 million over the course of 2017. While it's unlikely to repeat that unenviable achievement this year, its prospects will only improve in the short-term due to a major divestment that saw it agree to let go of hundreds of engineers who joined Google and provide Alphabet's subsidiary with non-exclusive rights to using its patent portfolio in exchange for a one-time cash injection of $1.1 billion. The original equipment manufacturer already said it's planning to use the resources to continue investing in its virtual reality efforts and other emerging technologies, whereas its mobile ambitions now appear to be dwindling even further.
The planned layoffs that will eliminate close to a quarter of its global workforce will be completed by September, i.e. the end of the third quarter of the year. HTC's monthly sales are presently about 50-percent down year-on-year and with its smartphone focus declining, the company is placing the majority of its near-term growth hopes on VR technologies pursued by its Vive unit. Earlier this year, the firm combined its regional handset and VR divisions, granting more power to the latter group. The recently released U12 Plus is widely believed to have been HTC's only high-end Android smartphone for 2018.