This multicentre, randomised, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group study compared the efficacy and safety of telmisartan with those of losartan after 8 weeks' treatment. In total, 330 patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension (systolic blood pressure [SBP] <180 mmHg; diastolic blood pressure [DBP] 95–109 mmHg) were randomly assigned to receive once-daily treatment with telmisartan 40 mg (n = 164) or losartan 50 mg (n = 166). After 4 weeks' treatment, if a patient's DBP was ≥90 mmHg, the dose was increased to telmisartan 80 mg or losartan 100 mg, respectively. The results show that mean trough seated blood pressure was reduced significantly more in the telmisartan group than that in the losartan group (SBP 12.5 mmHg vs. 9.4 mmHg, p = 0.037; DBP 10.9 mmHg vs. 9.3 mmHg, p = 0.030). The overall DBP response rate (reduction from baseline in mean seated DBP≥ 10 mmHg and/or a mean seated DBP <90 mmHg) at the end of the study in the telmisartan group was higher than that in losartan group (70.1% vs. 58.7%, p = 0.020). At both the low and high doses, the DBP response rates for telmisartan were significantly higher than those for losartan (telmisartan 40 mg vs. losartan 50 mg: 46.3% vs. 32.5%, p = 0.010; telmisartan 80 mg vs. losartan 100 mg: 79.3% vs. 65.3%, p = 0.008). Adverse events with the two treatments were comparable (telmisartan vs. losartan 23.2% vs. 22.9%, p = 0.952). Most events were mild in intensity and abated within 72 h. Thus, telmisartan 40 mg or 80 mg administered once daily can reduce SBP and DBP effectively and safely.