HTC is set to slide into the No. 4 spot on the list of the world’s top smartphone vendors next year according to Taiwan-based research firm Market Intelligence Center. The slot is currently held by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. Headquartered outside Taiwan’s capital, HTC has quietly built a smartphone empire as well as one of the highest market caps of any tech company on the Taiwan exchange. HTC builds some of the most popular Android smartphones in the world, and the company reported profits of NT$14.83 billion in the first quarter of 2011 — triple the profit it recorded in the same quarter one year prior. HTC also shipped 9.7 million smartphones in the first quarter, which represents a 192% improvement over the first quarter of 2010. Market Intelligence Center estimates that global smartphone shipments will reach 452 million units this year, and 1.084 billion units in 2015.