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HTC bets big on VR after sustaining heavy losses

htc shareholders meeting 2016 emphasis on vr htcviveheadset
HTC chairwoman Cher Wang has issued an apology to shareholders for heavy losses sustained by the company over the past fiscal year. However, Wang is confident that HTC’s attempts to carve out a slice of the nascent VR marketplace will be enough to secure its future.

Wang was always going to be put in a tough spot at the shareholder’s meeting, which took place in Taoyuan, Taiwan on Friday. A year of poor results has resulted in almost half a billion dollars of losses, according to a report from Android Authority.

Despite being asked by shareholders, Wang chose not to lay out how long it will take for HTC to be profitable once again. However, she did offer up a proposal for how the company can change its fortunes — further investment into the Vive headset and the VR platform as a whole.

In April, HTC announced its involvement in a $100 million accelerator scheme intended to give startups working with VR tech a clear path toward funding. At the shareholder’s meeting, Wang announced that the company will also establish a wholly owned VR subsidiary.

There’s a certain element of risk here for HTC, as VR is far from a proven marketplace. While the Vive and the Oculus Rift have already found some success, there’s no clear indication that mainstream audiences are ready to invest in the hardware — which could be catastrophic for the company, given that the Vive seems to be a major focus from here on out.

That said, the company isn’t about to drop its other business interests and bet the farm on VR entirely. Since its launch earlier this year, the HTC 10 smartphone has played a role in boosting interest in the company’s other devices by 20 percent, reinforcing the benefits of a broad, interconnected ecosystem.

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