HTC shares boosted by renewed VR hopes, bargain hunting

Taipei--Shares of Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. (???) got a boost Tuesday from renewed hopes for its virtual reality business after the company threw an event in Shanghai to demonstrate its efforts to cultivate VR startups, dealers said.

HTC shares, which have lagged behind other high-tech stocks as well as the broader market, were also pushed higher by bargain hunters, they said.

HTC shares rose 4.60 percent to close at NT$72.80 (US$2.40) with 30.06 million shares changing hands on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, where the weighted index ended down 0.02 percent at 10,512.06.

"After the weighted index hit a new 27-year high to breach the 10,500-point mark yesterday, the market fell into consolidation mode today," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said.

"So, some investors scrambled to park their funds into individual stocks that had positive leads, like HTC.

"The Shanghai event renewed hopes that HTC will take advantage of its VR development efforts to build in additional sales source," Su said.

In a statement released Monday, HTC said it held a successful "Demo Day" under its Vive X accelerator program in Shanghai to debut new innovations in VR and augmented reality (AR) hardware, entertainment, enterprise solutions, and tools and services by a group of startups.

The Vive X accelerator program, backed by a US$100 million fund, aims to support VR startups around the world in a bid to build a VR ecosystem that develops both VR and AR hardware and software.

Before the Shanghai Demo Day, the Vive X accelerator program also held events in Taipei and San Francisco in previous weeks.

A total of 33 VR and AR startups from eight countries showed their innovations in the three Demo Day events which marked the debut for companies chosen to be part of Vive X's most recent batch of funded partners.

The Vive VR headset is one of HTC's gambits to diversify from its core smartphone market, which is saturated and intensely competitive, in the hope of creating an additional revenue source and turning around its business.

HTC unveiled the HTC Vive at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in March 2015, and global sales began in April 2016.

It was the second year for the Vive X accelerator program to hold demonstration events. After the three latest Demo Day events over three weeks, the Vive X announced it has launched a new selection campaign and is taking applications for funding from VR startups.

The deadline is Aug. 15, 2017, HTC said.

HTC also announced that the Vive program is opening its newest incubator location in Tel Aviv, joining offices in Taipei, Beijing, Shenzhen and San Francisco.

"More important, some bargain hunters were attracted to HTC's relatively low valuation. It was no surprise that buying rotated to HTC today in a bid to play catch-up after the bellwether electronics sector had posted significant gains," Su said.

"But I don't expect there's much room for HTC shares to go higher in the short term because the company still reported a fall in sales amid escalating global competition in the global smartphone market," Su said.

In the first five months of this year, HTC's consolidated sales totaled NT$23.78 billion, down 13 percent from a year earlier.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel