Mon, May 21, 2012 - Page 12 News List

HTC smartphones clear US customs despite ban

FAST PASSAGE:HTC’s phones were expected to languish in customs for up to three weeks, but their rapid clearance bodes well for the firm’s bottom line

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

In a twist to the US’ import ban on various HTC Corp (宏達電) smartphones, the company yesterday said some of its products blocked by US customs because of patent-infringement concerns had been allowed to enter the US market after passing the customs’ review.

“Some of our products have passed the review and have been delivered to our telecoms operators’ clients in the US,” HTC said in a statement submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

The Taoyuan-based handset maker’s statement came after two of its flagship mobile phones, HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE, were prevented by US customs from entering the country after the US International Trade Commission ruled late last year that HTC had infringed on a crucial patent held by Apple Inc.

“The company is closely working with the US customs to speed up the review,” HTC said in the statement. “The company is confident that the problem will be resolved soon.”

The US customs’ review went faster than a possible three-week examination estimated by Jeff Pu (蒲得宇), who tracks the handset industry for Fubon Securities (富邦證券), and that means the ban could have less impact on HTC’s revenue this quarter.

Originally, Pu expected US customs could spend up to three weeks checking HTC’s products, resulting in a reduction of 10 to 15 percent in the company’s revenue this quarter.

HTC, the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker, told investors last month that it expected revenue to grow 55 percent quarterly to NT$105 billion (US$3.55 billion) this quarter, recovering from a product transition period.

Last quarter, HTC’s shipments dropped 17 percent to 7.68 million units, compared with 9.3 million units in the previous year, because of competition from Apple Inc and Samsung, according to market researcher Gartner Inc’s statistics.

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