HTC pulls out of South Korea following poor sales

HTC may have put out an impressive range of smartphones for 2012, but the company has still been struggling financially against the likes of Samsung. The company announced today that it would be withdrawing completely from the South Korean market following strong competition. As a result, HTC will be closing its Korean office, although it notes that it will be "a long term process and not an immediate one as we want to cause the least disturbance for our customers here and continue after-sales services."

A major player in the smartphone wars bowing out of a major market is cause for concern, however. HTC faced strong competition in South Korea from incumbents such as Samsung and LG, with Apple's iPhone also pushing its way into the Asian market. The move comes after HTC's Korea manager, Lee Chul-hwan, was fired six months after he stepped into the role. HTC reportedly had a smartphone launch planned for South Korea in the second half of 2012, plans which may have been cancelled given the company's withdrawal from the country.

This latest piece of news comes just a month after HTC announced it would be withdrawing from Brazil. In a similar statement, the company said it would be halting sales and closing its offices there, but continuing after-sales support in the meantime. That closure, combined with the withdrawal from South Korea, are most likely a result of the company's latest financials. HTC reported that profits were down 57% year-on-year, with revenue also down 26.8%.

The company has also been the subject of several patent lawsuits across the world. Apple briefly secured a ban against the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE in the United States thanks to HTC's infringement of a context menu patent. The company issued a software fix, with the handsets allowed back into the country soon afterwards. Meanwhile, a UK court ruled earlier this month that HTC didn't infringe Apple's patents. The maker of the iPhone claimed that HTC fell foul of four of its patents, with the judge in the case ruling that three were invalid and that HTC did not infringe on the other.

[via The Korea Times]