Shares in HTC (2498.TPE) dropped sharply after the Taiwanese smartphone maker cut sales forecasts, citing increased competition and the worldwide economic slowdown, the Financial Times reported. The company lowered its sales expectations by 20% for the fourth quarter and expects revenue growth to remain flat. HTC’s revenue during Q4 last year was US$3.42 billion. The lowered outlook prompted HTC stock to fall 6.9% on Thursday to T$560 (US$18.41). The company previously indicated in October that it expected fourth quarter revenue to be hurt by weak demand in the US, which accounts for about 50% of sales, and in Europe, which accounts for 20% of sales. “It is a big surprise to the market to cut guidance by 20 per cent. I think they overlooked the competition from Apple’s [AAPL.NASDAQ] iPhone 4S and Samsung’s [5930.TYO] two or three new 4G models in the US market,” said analyst Peter Liao, an analyst at Nomura.