HTC sold 2 million of its iPhone-rival handset last year

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC sold 2 million of the Microsoft-based mobile phones it developed to compete with the iPhone last year, the ‘Touch’ family of handsets.

At last week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco Apple CEO Steve Jobs said his company had sold 4 million iPhones since launch.

The HTC Touch uses Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 software and has a touch screen that takes up most of its face, similar to the iPhone. The Touch was launched in June of last year, just weeks ahead of the iPhone.

The company sold 11.8 million handsets overall last year, an roughly 12 percent increase over 2006, executives said.

Strong sales of the handset helped HTC’s revenue grow nearly 12 percent last year as well, and the company already sees good prospects for the first quarter of this year.

“The first quarter looks good, it will be a lot better than our first quarter last year,” said Peter Chou, president and CEO of HTC, at a year-end party Friday evening. Companies in Taiwan and throughout China typically host parties around this time of year as the Lunar New Year is approaching.

Some of the global economic issues that have hurt stock markets, including subprime mortgages and fears of recession in the U.S. have no impacted HTC so far in the first quarter.

“We’ve seen no impact from global economic turmoil. We feel pretty good about this quarter,” said Chou.

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