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Japan

Telecommunications

  • NTT Electronics (NYSE:NTT), which offers video compression technologies and electronic devices and equipment to support video processing, launched an upgraded version of its AVC HDTV encoder. This new device will help television content creators and broadcast stations to reduce video transmission latency during real time transitions.NTT Electronics is a subsidiary of the NTT group, one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies.

  • Japanese telecom operator KDDI Corp. (OTC:KDDIF) announced plans to launch a smartphone running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system in June 2010. Android is emerging as a commercially viable alternative to Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 7 and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Mac OS with many leading handset manufacturers announcing new models that run on the operating system.

  • Japan’s third largest telecom service provider Softbank Corp. (OTCPK:SFTBF) announced plans to invest US$4.3billion on capex in the current year and 2011. The investment reflects a 54% increase over the last couple of years with equipment providers such as Nokia (NYSE:NOK) - Siemens (SI) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) being the major beneficiaries of this expenditure. The company is also preparing for a surge in smartphone data traffic by doubling its base stations from current levels of 60,000 by 2011.

  • The Japanese mobile and telecom regulatory authority is urging telecom operators in the country to remove simcard locking restrictions for mobile phone users. Currently simcards are tied to mobile handsets creating high switching costs for users in Japan.

Mobile/Wireless

  • NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM) President Ryuji Yamada said the company received 50,000 advance orders for Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB’s Xperia smartphone that runs on Google Inc.’s Android operating system. DoCoMo is adding a second Android phone to its lineup of handsets that can surf the Web and download music, video and applications to counter similar moves by rivals. Softbank Corp., the exclusive provider of Apple Inc.’s iPhone in the country, will introduce its first Android model later this month and KDDI Corp., the second- largest carrier, will offer a Sharp Corp.-made (OTCPK:SHCAY) handset in June.

  • Japanese digital content company, Nihon Enterprise Co. Ltd. announced financial results for nine months ending February 2010. Total sales for the nine months stood at JPY 1.63 billion (US$17.6 million), a 15.2 percent drop from same period last year while net income stood at JPY 46 million (US$0.5 million), a 62.9 percent decrease from same period last year. The company specializes in delivering digital content to mobile phones.

Internet

  • NHN Corp., which owns South Korea’s largest search engine Naver, is expected to acquire Livedoor Corp., an internet business with operations in Japan, from LDH Corp. NHN is negotiating with LDH to purchase Livedoor for between US$50 million and US$100 million according to news reports citing unnamed sources. The acquisition would help NHN further expand its online gaming and search engine business in Japan and boost its Internet portal's status. Livedoor has 30 million users and has 3.4 million subscribers to its blog service alone. Livedoor was delisted in April 2006 in the wake of an accounting fraud case, after which Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) - which owns 27 percent of LDH - invested in the company.

Semiconductor

  • Kingston Technology Corp. a U.S. DRAM module supplier will purchase US$200 million worth of securities issued by Japan’s largest chip maker Elpida Memory Inc. (OTC:ELPDF) Kingston will pay US$125 million for equity and US$75 million for convertible bonds. Elpida said it would use the funds for capital investment as it aims to advance to finer circuitry to produce DRAM chips more efficiently.

Hardware

  • Japanese company Ricoh Company (OTCPK:RICOY), a leading player in the manufacturing of office automation equipment, announced an optimistic growth plan for the next three years until 2013. The company aims to double revenues in its print service business division to JPY 200 billion (US$2.15 billion) by 2013 and will invest JPY 10 billion (US$105 million) on sales force expansion and operational efficiency.

Korea

Hardware

  • According to KT, who has exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in South Korea, Apple's iPhone has sold more than 500,000 units in South Korea since its debut in the country just four months ago. In November, South Korea became one of the last major Asian markets to begin selling the iPhone product, following Japan, India, Australia, and China, as Apple became the first foreign mobile manufacturer to have a top selling smartphone device in the country amid fierce competition from local brands such as Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and LG (OTC:LGERF). South Korea's information and technology sector is estimated to grow into a 2.6 trillion won (US$2.31 billion) industry by 2012, and the country's overall mobile software and contents market is expected to become a 470 billion won (US$417.3 million) market as well, according to KT.

  • Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of mobile handsets aiming to boost its share in the smart phone market, signed a partnership agreement with SEVEN. SEVEN is a U.S.-based provider of mobile, email and messaging solutions for various devices. This partnership will allow Samsung Electronics to deploy the Samsung Social Hub, which is the company’s new social networking platform for mobile users. Using SEVEN’s technology, Samsung will deliver various services like voice, email, messaging, social networking, browsing and other services on one single interface.

  • Korean IPTV set-top box manufacturer Celrun Co. Ltd. announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer. Song Seong Ho will replace incumbent CEO Kim Yeong Min from April 2010.

Semiconductor

  • Korea-based Hynix Semiconductor, the world’s second largest semi-conductor chip manufacturer, announced that it expected the robust demand for DRAM chips to extend into the next quarter and said that supply constraints will continue because of the lack of investments in building capacity during the financial slowdown. The company said that DRAM suppliers are barely able to meet 55% - 60% of global demand so far this year. Demand for DRAM chips has increased in this quarter based on an upsurge in consumer demand for PCs and automobiles, which use DRAM chips.

  • Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced that it expects to record an operating profit of approximately US$3.5billion for the first two quarters of 2010. This is a significant upward revision of the company’s operating profit forecast for the entire year of around US$4 billion. The semiconductor has made a remarkable turnaround in the first quarter of 2010 based on booming consumer demand for most devices that require semiconductor chips.

Alternative Energy

  • Jusung Engineering, a company specializing in semiconductors, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and solar cell equipment, announced that it has signed a new supply contract with the biggest Chinese power generation group to provide turn-key equipment for solar cells worth US$138.8 million. As the biggest single contract in JUSUNG’s history, it specifies the thin film Si equipment and crystalline Si equipment and schedules their delivery for October 2010.

China

Media, Gaming and Entertainment

  • Nasdaq listed game company Perfect World (NASDAQ:PWRD) unveiled plans to release a new variant ‘Tai Gu’ of its best selling game title ‘Hot Dance Party II’. The company’s announcement coincides with the second anniversary of the game’s launch.

  • NetEase will initiate load testing of its forthcoming game title ‘Genesis: Journey to the West’ starting March 31, 2010. Genesis is the company’s latest 3D Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game ((MMORPG)), completely developed in-house.

  • Shenzhen based ZQ Game Technology, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Chinese company PowerLeader declared net profit of 41.13 million yuan (US$6 million) against revenues of 78.6 million yuan (US$11.5 million). The company plans to invest US$77 million to build an R&D facility for online game development.

  • Linekong, an online game company based in Beijing successfully delivered to 240,000 peak concurrent users who simultaneously logged in to play the company’s latest 2D game title ‘Journey to the West’.

  • CCTV.com, an online business division of China Central, has lost an advertising contract from Hong Kong-listed Chinese company SinoMedia Holding. SinoMedia has decided to prematurely terminate the 5 year contract after just 1 year.

  • RedGate Media Group, an advertising company based in Beijing, will withdraw its application due to "market conditions," the underwriters Brean Murray, Carret & Co and I-Bankers Securities Inc. said. The company earlier cut the maximum size of its offering to $35.4 million from $50.6 million. Redgate Media Group provides television, radio, outdoor and Internet advertising services throughout China, it said in its prospectus. The company's independent accounting firm said it had concerns about Redgate's ability to continue as a going concern.

Internet

  • Google’s troubles in China continued after users of Google Hong Kong experienced an outage on Tuesday, March 31, 2010. The company accused the Chinese government for being responsible for the break in services, even though it initially said that it was due to an internal technical snag in the company’s server.

Telecommunications

  • Leading handset manufacturer Ericsson announced the signing of two separate contracts in China worth US$1.8 billion. The first contract worth US$800 million requires Ericsson to provide 3G network services to China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) in 2010 - 2011. In the second deal valued at US$1 billion, Ericsson will provide radio access network services to China Mobile (NYSE:CHL). China Unicom and China Mobile are two of the three large mobile service providers in China.

  • 3G mobile services users in China increased to 16 million by the end of February. China Mobile, China Unicorm and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) added 790,000; 410,000 and 320,000 new users respectively.

  • ZTE Corp. (OTCPK:ZTCOF), a leading provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, which counts Huawei as is competitor, has let go of its President Yin Yimin. Shi Lirong, a senior Vice President at ZTE will replace Yimin as President at the company. ZTE’s Chairman said that Yimin will continue to hold his board seat. ZTE recorded profit of US$190 million in 2009 although it has failed to match the growth of Huawei.

  • China Mobile announced plans to invest US$300 million in Pakistan. The telco plans to spend the money on infrastructure development in the country. Pakistan has around 95 million mobile users. China Mobile is already present in Pakistan and offers mobile services. Chinese mobile companies are looking for overseas investments to boost growth amidst slowing growth rates in their home country. The companies are also investing heavily on 3G network roll-out to boost revenues.

  • China Communications Services Corp Ltd, a subsidiary of China Telecom, announced that it realized 1.6 billion yuan (US$234.4 million) in net profit last year, up 20% year on year. The firm's net profit was 1.33 billion (US$194.9 million) yuan in 2008. In a statement filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the firm attributed the profit growth to a strong demand for 3G mobile network construction services in mainland China. Its revenue grew 20% to 39.5 billion yuan (US$5.8 billion) last year, compared to 33.01 billion yuan (US$4.8 billion) it recorded in the previous year.

Hardware

  • Taiwan Surface Mounting Technology Corp. (TSMT) a high tech productions solutions provider announced the setting up of a new company with an investment of US$10 million in mainland China. The new company will be engaged in the electronics business. The company has not yet divulged the specific nature of the operations of the company.

  • Taiwanese hinge and spring manufacturing company Shin Zu Shing Co. Ltd., whose products are widely used in devices like smart phones, PCs, laptops, television sets and LCD monitors will invest approximately US$1 million in mainland China. The company will establish a subsidiary in China to manufacture the same products with a focus on supplying to leading Chinese equipment manufacturers.

  • Huawei Technologies the second largest telecom equipment manufacturer in the world, announced strong financial performance for fiscal year 2009. The company registered net income of US$2.7 billion on revenues of approximately US$22 billion. The figures reflect growth rates of 134% and 19% over 2008 respectively. The company also expects a 20% revenue growth in 2010. Huawei trails only Swedish company Ericsson in global market share in its industry.


Alternative Energy

  • Wuhan Guoce Nordic New Energy Co. Corp. Ltd. has received a letter of intent from Far East Wind Power Corp. which proposes to acquire rights to develop multi staged wind farm projects that could potentially generate around 700 megawatts power. The proposed wind farms are located in the inner Mongolia autonomous region.

  • LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK), a leading provider of solar technologies in China announced sales of US$304.6million for fourth quarter of 2009, a drop of almost 29% compared to the same period of 2008. The company also announced a per share loss of US$0.07 for the quarter. The company forecasts revenues of US$310 million-US$330 million for the first quarter of 2010.

  • Comtec Solar announced full year ending December 2009 revenues of 506.8million yuan (US$74.3 million), an 33.5% drop from previous year and net income of 25million yuan (US$3.67million), an 81% decrease from last year for. The decline in sales was due to a decrease in average selling price of solar products, offset partially by an increase in sales volumes according to the company statement.

  • Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP), a photovoltaic equipment manufacturer in China launched a 20MW solar power project this week. The company has invested US$73.3 million in the initiative.

  • Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed alternative solar energy company in China announced net profit of US$22.1 million on sales of US$$183 million for 2009.

  • Chinese polysilicon producer GCL Poly Energy Holdings has completed its acquisition of a majority stake in Konca Solar Cell.The 845 million yuan (US$123.8 million) deal, which was announced on January 8, will allow GCL Poly to hold 70.19% interest in Konca Solar, helping it increase its wafer production capacity to 800 megawatts (MW).


Disclosure: Director

Source: Asian Tech Stock Weekly Review (March 29 - April 4 2010)