Staff cuts as HTC shifts focus to blockchain phones

Staff cuts loom as HTC shifts focus to blockchain phones

Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has announced a new wave of staff cuts as it struggles with dwindling sales. The layoffs will enable the company to focus on a few specific areas, one of which is its blockchain-powered smartphone Exodus.

The downsizing is part of the New Taipei-based company’s realignment strategy, aimed at retaining an innovative edge, local outlet Taiwan News reported. HTC has yet to reveal the details of the layoffs, including the number of employees who will face the axe and the affected departments. Those who get laid off will reportedly receive two months’ salary as their year-end bonus, according to the news outlet.

The downsizing will allow the company to focus on a few product lines, among them its virtual reality system VIVE and Exodus, its blockchain-powered smartphone. The smartphone was unveiled in May 2018, retailing at 0.15 BTC at the time. HTC became the first major smartphone manufacturer to release a blockchain phone.

Despite the hype that came with the blockchain-powered phone, HTC hasn’t been able to reverse its fortunes. Once a reputable phone maker, its glory days seem to be behind HTC now, and the recent layoffs serve as proof. The company currently has 3,000 employees, and this number is set to reduce once the layoffs are implemented. This will be the third major layoffs at the firm, as local outlet Liberty Times noted. In 2015, the firm laid off 2,250 employees and in July, 2018, it laid off another 1, 500 employees. And there was also the $1.1 billion deal HTC made with Google last year that saw 2,000 of its smartphone engineers switch camps.

The company previously boasted of over 19,000 employees, but competition from Apple, Samsung and even the smaller Chinese manufacturers reduced HTC’s smartphone market share to less than 1% in the U.S.

The Exodus smartphone is thus not just HTC’s crack at the blockchain market, it also serves as its opportunity for revival. The phone allows its users to download decentralized applications and run them without the need for additional tools. It also comes with a hardware wallet for the secure storage of cryptos.

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