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Office is third to be closed in last two months

Taiwan's HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) is one of the largest Android phonemakers in the world, but the company has fallen out of contention for the lead as the smartphone market has evolved into a "two-horse" race between South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) and American device-maker Apple, Inc. (AAPL).

Amid falling profits HTC has been forced to make cuts.  Today it announced one of those cuts -- the closure of its South Korean office.

HTC remains a player in the U.S. in terms of market share, but in South Korea it owns only a tiny 1 percent sliver of the market.  That number is actually down from the 2 percent it held in the country last year.

Samsung obviously tops South Korean sales charts, but LG Electronics Inc. (KSC:066570) also has been doing well.  And Pantech Comp., Ltd. has also proven an emerging threat on the market.  Together LG, Samsung, and Pantech own 90 percent of South Korea's sales, with foreign handset makers like Apple eating up the remainder.

HTC sign
HTC has closed several offices as part of a downsizing plan. [Image Source: Reuters]

HTC in June shuttered its Brazil office, another weak sales region.  Like in South Korea, in Brazil HTC only held 1 percent of the market.  HTC has encouraged employees from both offices to apply for a transfer to other regions.

Also in June HTC closed the doors of a research office in Durham, North Carolina, releasing approximately 50 employees.

The company has faced extra pressure in recent months from a weak Euro and from strong sales of Samsung's best-selling Galaxy S III smartphone, which launched in late June to international acclaim.




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