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HTC's Vive virtual reality headset. HTC Photo
HTC’s Vive virtual reality headset and accessories. HTC Photo

HTC, the smartphone maker and burgeoning virtual reality player, appears to be in the middle of a round of layoffs in the Seattle area. Two sources told GeekWire that the company is laying off people in the region, although it’s not clear how many jobs are being cut or what departments are being impacted most.

The company, based in Taiwan, has completed several rounds of layoffs in the last few years. It is unclear if the local cuts are part of previously announced layoffs or new ones. The company’s job site shows several openings in Seattle and San Francisco, across a variety of departments.

GeekWire reached out to HTC, which has its North American headquarters in Bellevue and an office in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, but did not receive a response.

HTC officials alluded to “restructuring” on the smartphone side in its third quarter earnings call last month, saying that process is about 90 percent complete. On the call, Chialin Chang, HTC’s president of smartphones and connected devices, said the company is working on “optimization” of sales and marketing staff. Chang noted that the company is not slowing down on research and development investment because it is the core of HTC’s strength.

The company has been working to stem losses on its smartphone side and hit the breakeven point, executives said on the earnings call. Chang said the company basically hit that point in the third quarter.

HTC’s virtual reality business, anchored by the HTC Vive headset it makes with Valve, is doing well, the company said, with each headset sold bringing in a profit. HTC executives would not give exact Vive sales figures but said they’re significantly higher than the 140,000 units reported last month. They said they didn’t know where that figure came from even though it was reportedly confirmed by the company’s co-founder Cher Wang.

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