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Saturday, 29 August 2009, 20:49 HKT/SGT

Source: IRG
IRG Technology, Media and Telecoms Weekly Asia Market Review

HONG KONG, Aug 29, 2009 - (ACN Newswire) - The following is an Asian excerpt from IRG's TMT Weekly Market Review Aug 17 - Aug 23. IRG is a financial advisory and investment firm focused on the core growth sectors in Asia with particular focus on the telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) sectors.

- Asian electronics makers are forecasting a turnaround in the second half of this year, citing a pick-up in global demand. The worst is over for a sector at the heart of emerging Asia's battered, export-reliant economies - from Thailand to Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. Delta Electronics of Taiwan sees dollar sales to increase 11.7 percent in 2009, a rebound from just 1 percent growth in 2008. Other electronics manufacturers offer similarly bullish forecasts. Taiwanese contract laptop PC maker Compal Electronics is revising up its forecast for total global PC shipments this year. Compal and crosstown rival Quanta Computer together manufacture more than half of the world's laptop PCs, and their forecasts are usually closely watched as an indicator to the overall health of the sector.


- Fujitsu Ltd. raised its full-year profit forecast almost four-fold after selling a 5 percent stake in Fanuc Ltd. Net income will probably reach 95 billion yen (US$1 billion) in the year ending March 2010. The company had a 112.4 billion yen (US$1.2 billion) net loss last fiscal year. Fujitsu gained 89 billion yen (US$942.9 million) from the sale of 12 million Fanuc shares. The sale reduced the company's holding in Fanuc to almost zero.

- Sony Corp. cut the price of its flagship PlayStation 3 by 25 percent to narrow the gap with better- selling machines from Nintendo Co. and Microsoft Corp. The new price is US$299. The company will introduce a slimmer version of the PS3 at the same price in the first week of September, and replace those now in stores. The moves, greeted with cheers at the European game conference, may spur sales of the PS3 after shipments tumbled to a two-year low in the second quarter. The price cut is needed to meet sales projections of 13 million consoles worldwide in the year ending March 2010. Sales fell to 37 percent. The Networked Products & Services Group, led by Kazuo Hirai, 48, recorded the biggest loss among the company's divisions.

- Sony Corp. plans to boost its joint parts purchases with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB to cut costs and help the struggling cellular phone joint venture. The two already jointly purchase capacitors and now plan to expand the list of products to include components used in both Sony's electronics and Sony Ericsson's cell phones. Sony, which competes with Canon in digital cameras and Samsung Electronics in flat TVs, will notify key parts suppliers of its plan as early as this month and will start joint price negotiations. By increasing their purchasing volumes, the companies plan to bolster their leverage in price negotiations with suppliers.

- Fujitsu Ltd. announced that three models in its Primergy series of personal computer servers have been certified to run the Asianux Server 3 operating system, a multilanguage Linux platform. Armed with this authorization, Fujitsu aims to work with vendor Asianux Corp. to push into the Asian markets for PC servers, particularly China, where the Linux server market is growing at a double-digit pace. The Asianux Consortium has five members Linux vendors from Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. Each partner takes responsibility for marketing and support in their home country. This authorization puts Fujitsu in a position to take advantage of features that can only be realized when the server hardware and the Asianux operating system software work hand in hand.

- Canon looks to China for one fifth of the company's global digital camera revenue in the next couple of years. The company's confidence springs from the judgment that the global economic crisis had not impacted China's digital camera market as much as earlier estimated.

- Sanyo Electric Co. will supply Toyota with batteries from about 2011. Lithium-ion batteries have higher output and capacity than the nickel-metal hydride type that Toyota uses in the Prius and other hybrid vehicles.

- Orders for Japanese equipment used to make semiconductors outpaced sales for the fourth straight month in July as the chip sector inches out of its worst-ever downturn. Back-to-school demand for PCs is helping chip sales scramble up from record low levels, nudging up spending at Intel Corp, the world's largest chipmaker, and helping outlook at memory chip giant Samsung Electronics. Orders for Japanese chip-making equipment rose for the fifth straight month in July to 50.5 billion yen (US$533 million) outpacing sales of 36.8 billion yen (US$389 million), calculations based on industry data showed. The orders were still down 46 percent from a year earlier.

- The financial results for the April-June 2009 fiscal first quarter posted by Japan's four major dedicated semiconductor makers showed marked improvements over the preceding quarter. Although there were still declines in both sales and profits on the year, the results appear to indicate that the worst was over for Japan's semiconductor industry, as a surge in demand for semiconductors used in flat-screen televisions and environmentally friendly cars like hybrid vehicles buoyed their performance. NEC Electronics' plant utilization rate increased to 51 percent in the April-June quarter, from 43 percent in the previous quarter, due to better-than-expected demand for discrete semiconductors and semiconductors used in automobiles and cell-phone cameras. It added that the figure was likely to move up to 70 percent soon.

- NEC Corp. and Motorola Inc. plan to provide wireless base stations for KDDI Corp.'s next-generation mobile network. The LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard paves the way for cellular communications speeds on a par with fiber-optic lines, enabling users to download music CD in less than one minute and a two-hour movie in about five minutes. With an eye toward commercializing the technology in December 2012, KDDI plans to spend 515 billion yen (US$5.5 billion) on related capital investments through the end of fiscal 2014. The cellular service carrier solicited proposals from a wide range of equipment providers, including Chinese and European firms. It has already selected Hitachi Ltd. to build the network's core infrastructure.


- SK Telecom will not invest in Vietnamese mobile operator S-Fone anymore due to low subscription growth. SK Telecom began investing in the joint venture in 2001 and has so far injected US$180 million in S-Fone.

- The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) is calling on operators to cut mobile voice prices, reports the Korea Times. The regulator plans to require operators to adopt three measures, including the introduction of non-subsidy-based phone charges, the expansion of pre-paid charge systems and the early adoption of an MVNO policy. The regulator believes that by not receiving subsidies from telecom operators, mobile users would cut their basic phone consumption, while pre-paid services could better meet the needs of low-volume users. The MVNO policy will enable operators to provide mobile services on a borrowed spectrum and thus allow the entry of new players on the market.

- Samsung Electronics Co. will have its global mobile handset market surpass 20 percent for the first time in the second half of the year. Samsung is expected to sell some 117.8 million units during the July-December period, raising its global market share to 20.3 percent. The U.S. market researcher earlier said Samsung Electronics had a 19.2 percent market share in the second quarter this year, rising from 16 percent in the first quarter. Market share held by Nokia Corp. will continue to drop in the second half of the year from the same period last year. Nokia's market share is expected to fall to 37.6 percent in the third quarter and 37 percent in the fourth quarter.

- LG Electronics has increased its focus on the Japanese market and unveiled two phones for launch with NTT Docomo. The manufacturer has introduced two touchscreen phones, the L-06A and the L-04A, with the Japanese mobile operator. These are the first two models that were designed by LG Electronics' design centre in Tokyo, the JoongAng Daily reports citing Lee Gyu-hong, vice president of LG Electronics Japan. The company has also launched an aggressive marketing campaign which features Japanese actress Aoi Yu. LG targets sales in Japan of around 1.5 million units, three times more than last year.

- Electronic Game Card, Inc. has signed a three-year license agreement with Kellof, Inc. for distribution of the Electronic GameCard, Electronic iQuizCard, and Electronic Edutainment PLAY Cards, into its South Korea clients and strategic affiliation with Borazone Co., Ltd. Company management expects the agreement, which contains yearly minimum royalty guarantees, to begin generating sales in the current year fourth quarter. One of the key distribution channels for Kellof will be with Borazone and directly with household leading global brands from Korea.


- Bharti Airtel Ltd. will launch a global wholesale service in Singapore which will open its approximately 200,000 kilometers of international fiber-optic cables to carriers around the world. Carriers will use Bharti Airtel's network but market their services using their own brands. Carriers that have signed on for the new wholesale service include Saudi Telecom, PCCW of Hong Kong, and Oman Telecom. Bharti Airtel opened a similar service last year that had smaller scope. It opened the carrier's India network to overseas operators who wanted to expand their presence within the country. The new service aims to give international carriers an access to Bharti Airtel's extensive fiber-optic cable network abroad. The company has spent approximately US$500 million in expanding its network.

- The Indian government has deferred a proposal by Unitech Wireless Ltd. to raise the foreign holding in one of its units to 74 percent. Unitech Wireless, a joint venture between Indian real-estate company Unitech Ltd. and Norway-based Telenor Group, plans to open its operations in some telecom service areas by the end of 2009.

- OnMobile Global Ltd. will have its annual revenue increase by 40 percent-50 percent for the next two fiscal years, driven by high mobile user additions in India and rapid growth overseas. OnMobile provides value-added services such as caller tunes and music downloads to telecommunications operators. The company expects its India revenue to grow along with the expansion in value-added services. The company estimates will be 30 percent-40 percent annually for the next two years. Net profit was 852 million rupees (US$17.6 million) on revenue of 4.06 billion rupees (US$83.8 million). OnMobile's overseas expansion is likely to outpace domestic growth because there are more markets and operators to tap.

- Datacom Solutions and Tata Teleservices have signed an infrastructure sharing deal. Tata Teleservices will provide transmission services, while Wireless-TT Infoservices will provide passive infrastructure to the telecom unit of Videocon Industries Ltd. Infrastructure sharing will help the two companies cut operating costs, and will enable them to earn up to 100 billion rupees (US$2.07 billion) over the next 10 years.

- Idea Cellular Ltd. is looking to hive off six of its service licenses into two companies, which will be later sold off. The company has overlapping licenses in six circles after it acquired a 41 percent stake in Spice Communications last July. The licenses in Punjab and Karnataka will be hived-off to a company named Vitesse, while four licenses in Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, held by Spice, will be sold to a company named Claridges Communications. The two companies, Vitesse and Claridges Communications will finally be sold to other telecom companies looking to operate in those circles.

- Reliance Communications (RCOM) is in talks over a deal to acquire Zain's African operations, which may have a value of US$10 billion. RCOM and MTN entered merger talks in May 2008, but the proposed deal was dropped because of a combination of legal and regulatory issues. MTN also discussed a potential tie-up with rival Indian operator Bharti Airtel, although the pair failed to agree on a deal structure. Exclusive talks between the two companies were revived in May 2009, and a merger will be worth US$23 billion. If successful the combined telco would be one of the top 10 largest global operators with a subscriber base of more than 200 million.

- MTN Group Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. may not be able to hammer out a complex US$23 billion tie-up by the end of the month, as frustration grows among some of the Africa cellphone operator's shareholders. MTN and Bharti have already extended an exclusive period for negotiations by one month to Aug. 31 and some MTN shareholders are looking for the Indian cellphone firm to sweeten its side of the transaction. The two companies were considering the idea of merging as they see that they could build a company with a combined customer base of more than 200 million and revenue of more than US$20 billion a year. Bharti accumulated a 49 percent stake in MTN. The company bought a stake directly for cash and newly issued global depositary receipts as it receives MTN shares as part of the swap.


- PT Indonesia Satellite Corp.'s first-half net profit fell 4.7 percent. The company's operating revenue rose 1.0 percent. Number of its cellular subscribers is decreased by 11 percent to 28.9 million from 32.4 million a year earlier.


- Nepal Telecom (NT) has begun to link its fiber optic network with China Telecom's network near the Nepal-China border in Tatopani, Republica reports citing a spokesperson. NT will use the fibre optic cables along the Araniko Highway to transmit and receive voice and data traffic to China. The companies are currently in talks about prices and Nepal Telecom expects an agreement shortly


- Vietnam's four 3G licensees were formally awarded their 3G licenses, and the race is now on to bring services to market. The Ministry of Information & Communications officially allocated the licenses at a ceremony and unveiled its investment plans for the rollout of the technology. The government granted licenses to Viettel, state-run players Mobifone and Vinaphone, and a joint venture between Hanoi Telecom and EVN Telecom. Viettel will pay 4,500 trillion dong (US$263 million) for its license. The telco will invest 12.79 trillion (US$750 million) in its 3G network over three years. Viettel will open services nine months after receiving its license, by which time its 3G network. It plans to increase its base stations to 15,000 to take 3G coverage to 100 percent of the population.

Australia & New Zealand

- Telstra Corp. and Australian government's vision will create a national broadband network that will deliver high-speed Internet to much of the population. An adequate return on investment would be needed for this partnership. Telstra will prioritize its needs of its shareholders in considering its role in the broadband plans. The role of the government was important to drive the vision of such project but that industry is also needed to convert that vision into reality.

- Telecom Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit fell 56 percent as a recession reduced sales and the company invested in new networks to lure customers. Net income fell to NZ$78 million (US$53 million) in the three months ended June 30. Excluding one- time items, net income fell 60 percent. New Zealand's economy began contracting in early 2008, curbing consumer spending on mobile phones and Internet. Telecom sees profit to fall further in 2010. Fourth-quarter sales fell 7 percent, led by a decline in calling revenue and 26,000 fewer mobile connections. There was no dividend from Southern Cross Cables in the latest period.

Topic: Corporate Announcement
Source: IRG

Sectors: Media & Marketing, Electronics, IT Individual
From the Asia Corporate News Network

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