• NTT DoCoMo (DCM) dropped plans to offer wireless service to iPad users in Japan, after rival Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBF) entered into an exclusive partnership with Apple (AAPL) to distribute the device in the country. Softbank is already the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in Japan. NTT had previously reported plans to sell SIM cards to iPad users, which would allow them to access the company’s wireless network. The iPad will be available in Japan from the 28th of May 2010.
• Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), the country’s largest telecommunications group, announced full year results for twelve months ending March 31st, 2010. The group reported sales of 10.18 trillion yen (US$110 billion) and net income of 492.2 billion yen (US$5.31 billion). The figures reflect a fall of 2.3% and 8.6% respectively over last year. The group’s mobile subscriber base reached 56.08 million by the end of March after it focused on enhancing content offerings for video and other services. The group also had 13.25 million fixed line subscribers by the end of March. The group is currently engaged in research activities to develop IPTV, Digital Signage, Digital Cinema and other video services, which it expects to drive growth in the future.
• Yahoo! Japan (OTC:YAHOF) announced a partnership agreement with China's largest retail website Taobao which is owned by the Alibaba Group (OTC:ALBCF).
The partnership will allow the platforms to cross-sell into each other’s markets, boosting reach and market share for both. Alibaba would list about 8 million products while Yahoo! Japan would list about 50 million products for sale in each other’s countries. The joint platform will go live on June 1st, 2010 and is expected to generate total transaction volumes worth US$42 billion and attract 260 million users for the two companies. The tie-up is part of a larger initiative previously announced by Alibaba to look for new regions and markets through partnership agreements. Alibaba is partly owned by Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO
) and Softbank, which also control Yahoo! Japan.
• eAccess Ltd. (OTC:ECLTF), an ADSL broadband internet service provider, announced revenues of 83.07 billion yen (US$893.5 million) and net profit of 4.15 billion yen (US$44.63 million) for twelve months ending March 31st, 2010.
The figures compare with revenues of 94.47 billion yen (US$1.01 billion) and net loss of 9.85 billion yen (US$106 million) last year. For the current year, the company expects to generate revenues of 190 billion yen (US$2.04 billion) and net profit of 9 billion yen (US$96.8 million).
• Mixi Inc., a dominant social networking platform in Japan, announced an increase of 12.8% in sales and a fall of 33.8% in net earnings for twelve months ending March 31st, 2010. The company’s revenues stood at 13.6 billion yen (US$146.25 million), while net income stood at 1.41 billion yen (US$15.16 million) during the period. The company’s revenues from advertising increased slightly despite the adverse macro-economic environment, while its job portal ‘Find Job’ showed signs of recovery. The company’s social networking website, Mixi, had 20 million users as of April 14th, 2010. The platform received 28 billion page views from mobile devices and 5.33 billion page views from PCs in the month of March. The company forecasts sales of 17.35 billion yen (US$186.57 million) and net income of 1.54 billion yen (US$16.55 million) for the current year.
• Sony Corp. (SNE) reported net loss of 41 billion yen (US$441.0 million) on revenues of 7.21 trillion yen (US$77.55 billion) for full year ended March 31st, 2010
. The results beat previous forecasts by analysts and the company itself on the back of higher cost reductions than expected. The net loss for 2010 compares with a net loss of 98.9 billion yen (US$1.06 billion) in 2009, while revenues declined by 6.7% over the last year. The company also managed to record an operating profit, compared to an operating loss in the previous year, owing to better performance by the company’s Consumer Products and Devices Business division, particularly LCDs. Revenues from the financial services segment helped the company post strong operating results for the fiscal year. For the current year, Sony expects operating income to increase further and also plans to aggressively launch 3D-related products, network services and other new businesses to sustain growth in the future.
• NEC Corp. (OTC:NIPNF) announced revenues of 3.58 trillion yen (US$38.6 billion) and net profit of 11.43 billion yen (US$122.87 million) for twelve months ending March 31, 2010.
The figures compare with revenues of 4.22 trillion yen (US$45.5 billion) and net loss of 296.6 billion yen (US$3.18 billion)last year. The company managed to reduce its fixed costs by 320.9 billion yen (US$3.44 billion), 111% higher than analysts’ forecast, although its operating income fell short of its own forecast. Sales of the IT Services, Network Systems and Personal Solutions business divisions went up, but couldn’t offset the steep decline in the Electron Devices division. NEC, however, expects revenues from the Electron Devices division to go up during the current year after the division’s deconsolidation process with Renesas Technology. NEC also reduced its stakes in its subsidiaries NEC Glass Components and Nippon Electric Glass during the year. For the current year, the company expects sales to decline by about 8% and net income to increase by 14%.
• Casio Computer Ltd. (OTCPK:CSIOY) announced revenues of 427.93 billion yen (US$4.6 billion) and net loss of 21 billion yen (US$225 million) for twelve months ending March 31st, 2010
. The figures compare with revenues of 518 billion yen (US$5.56 billion) and net loss of 23.15 billion yen (US$248 million) last year. The company’s cell phones division was primarily responsible for the decline in sales, with the digital cameras and electronic components segments also contributing to the loss. For the current year, the company will focus on strategic partnerships to improve profit in its digital cameras segment and grow revenues to reduce volatility and have a stable business.
• Hitachi Cable (HIT), an electric wire and cable manufacturer, announced revenues of 372.45 billion yen (US$4 billion) and net loss of 9.11 billion yen (US$96.4 million) for full year ended March 31st, 2010. Revenues declined by 24.5 percent over last year, while net loss decreased from last year’s net loss of 53.78 billion yen (US$569 million). Revenues from the Wires and Cables, Information and Communication Networking and Sophisticated Materials business divisions fell by 28%, 22% and 22% respectively. For the current year, the company expects revenues of 430 billion yen (US$4.61 billion) and net income of 4 billion yen (US$42.32 million).
• Citizen Holdings Co
. Ltd. (CIZN) announced revenues of 252 billion yen (US$2.7 billion) and net income of 3.5 billion yen (US$37.03 million) for twelve months ending March 31st, 2010.
The figures compare with revenues of 296.8 billion yen (US$3.18 billion) and net loss of 25.8 billion yen (US$273 million) posted last year. Citizen attributed the fall in revenues to a sluggish economy and the appreciation of the yen against the dollar. Revenues from the company’s Watches division fell by 6.7% while that of Electronic devices declined by 23.5%. Sales of Electronic products and Industrial Products fell by 2% and 35.5% respectively. For the current year, the company expects revenues of 275 billion yen (US$2.94 billion) and net income of 2 billion yen (US$21.1 million).
• Konica Minolta Holdings (OTCPK:KNCAY), a leader in imaging technology, announced net income of 16.9 billion yen (US$182 million) and revenues of 804.4 billion yen (US$8.6 billion) for twelve months ending March 31, 2010.
The figures represent a decrease of 15% and increase of 11.5% respectively over the last year. The company attributed the decline in sales to the recessionary environment, with revenues from its Business Technologies falling significantly over last year, but recovering marginally in the last quarter. Sales from the company’s Sensing Technologies, Optics and Medical and Graphic Imaging business divisions remained flat over 2009, and could not offset the fall in the Business Technologies division. The company expects revenues of 830 billion yen (US$8.87 billion) and net income of 20 billion yen (US$215 million) for the current year.
• Dentsu Inc. (OTC:DNTUF) announced net sales of 105.08 billion yen (US$1.13 billion) for the month of April 2010.
Almost 50% of the revenues came from television advertising, while creative media, marketing /promotion and newspapers contributed about 13%, 12% and 8% respectively.
• Sega Sammy Group (OTCPK:SGAMY) announced revenues of 384.68 billion yen (US$4.13 billion) and net earnings of 20.27 billion yen (US$218 million).
The revenue figures represent a decline of 10.8% over last year, while net income increased substantially from a net loss of 22.8 billion yen (US$245.2 million) last year. The group’s sales from its three business divisions, Amusement Machines, Amusement Operations and Consumer business declined sharply, due to sluggish macro-economic conditions and low consumer demand for the group’s services. The group expects sales to increase by 4% and net profit to increase by 8.5% for the current year.
• Dwango Co. Ltd., a developer of entertainment systems and mobile content, announced half-yearly revenues of 16 billion yen (US$172 million) and net income of 867 million yen (US$9.32 million) for three months ended March 31st, 2010. The figures represent increase of 21.8% and 297% respectively over the corresponding period last year. The company expects sales of 29.7 billion yen (US$319.2 million) and net income of 1.1 billion yen (US$11.82 million) for twelve months ending September 30th, 2010.
• Asatsu-DK (OTC:AASUF), Japan’s third largest advertising agency with interests in the publishing, television programming and animation industries, announced sales of 82.7 billion yen (US$889 million) and net income of 243 million yen (US$2.61 million) for three months ended March 31st, 2010.
The figures represent a decline of 9.3% and an increase of 467% over the same period last year. Decline in sales during the quarter was led by fall in advertising revenues from conventional media like print and television. New media services like Out-Of-Home Advertising held its ground and fell only marginally. The biggest fall in revenues was from non-media advertising and promotions services. For the full year ending December 31, 2010, Asatsu expects revenues of 356 billion yen (US$3.8 billion) and net income of 100 million yen (US$1.07 million).
• The Korean Communications Commission (KCC), the country’s telecom regulatory body, announced May 31st as the deadline for mobile companies to implement its new rule on capping marketing expenses. The agency had previously announced a new regulation that required mobile carriers to limit their marketing expenses to 22% of total revenues, but hadn’t specified a timeline for implementation. The KCC estimates that this move will result in a saving of 1 trillion won (US$881.7 million) for the three leading companies, which could be more productively spent on creating additional jobs through investments in the IT and the content industry, rather than on handset subsidies to lure more customers.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
• SK Telecom (OTC:SKMTF) announced a partnership with Disney Channel International to offer Korean-language Disney channels in the country.
The joint venture, 51% of which will be owned by SK Telecom, will broadcast Korean-language versions of Disney’s (DIS
) Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney Channel in Korea starting spring of 2011. The two channels will be broadcast in HD multiplex format as well as in SD, over cable, DTH and other on-demand digital services.
• Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF), the world’s largest manufacturer of memory chips, is expected to double its planned investment to a record 20 trillion won (US$17.7 billion).
The semiconductor industry has witnessed a sharp recovery in the current year on strong demand from China and booming sales of devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs. Toshiba Corp. (OTCPK:TOSBF
), the second largest manufacturer of memory chips after Samsung, announced a sharp increase in its capital spending for the current year mainly focused on its chip business. Some analysts believe that the heavy investment in the current year might lead to a situation of over capacity in 2011, bringing prices down.
• China Wireless Technologies, a subsidiary of China Mobile (CHL), announced plans to set up a mobile handset manufacturing firm in India in 2012.
The company might make the investment through its Indian subsidiary Coolpad Communications. The manufacturing facility along with a research center is expected to cost in the range of US$67 million to US$88 million.
• China Unicom (CHU) and China Mobile are reportedly considering a partnership with Apple (AAPL) to distribute the iPad in the country.
Mobile companies in China are exploring new sources of growth after intense competition and a saturating market squeezed profits last year. The companies are looking at the iPad to increase the share of more-profitable, non-voice revenues. Analysts expect pricing to be the key success factor in the Chinese market. Unicom, which beat China Mobile last year to become the exclusive distributor of the iPhone, reported that sales increased greatly after it reduced prices. Currently, only China Unicom’s network is capable of offering the high-speed wireless network service compatible with the iPad in China.
• Australia’s largest telecoms company Telstra (TLS) announced the acquisition of Lmobile for less than US$100 million, a company focused on offering vertical mobile websites that provide news and entertainment to millions of users in Beijing, Shanghai and other large cities in the country. Telstra made the investment through its Chinese subsidiary Dotad Media Holdings, whose subsidiaries are engaged in the mobile advertising and related businesses in China.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
• VisionChina Media Inc. (VISN), a mass transit digital advertising company, announced financial results for the first quarter of 2010.
The company reported a 14.2% decline year-on-year in revenues to US$23.4 million and net loss of US$11.6 million compared to net profit of US$5.6million last year. The company reported an increase of 45% in total broadcasting hours to 47,400 during the quarter which it attributed to increased capacity from its acquisition of Digital Media Group and expansion of its bus network in Hunan province. The company sold 237,500 advertising minutes during the quarter, an increase of about 29% over last year. The company forecast revenues of at least US$30 million for the current quarter.
• CDC Corp. (CHINA) reported a net loss of US$3.6 million for the first quarter ending 2010, compared with net profit of US$7.7 million last year.
Total revenues for the quarter stood at US$77.8 million, a drop of 1.2% and 6.2% over last year and last quarter respectively. The company’s games unit, CDC Games contributed revenues of US$8 million up 27% year-on-year, while its internet platform, China.com, contributed US$2.9 million.
• Share prices of Alibaba (OTC:ALBCF), the Chinese eCommerce giant, jumped by 11% on Thursday after the company’s CEO announced that billionaire investor George Soros had acquired a significant stake in the company.
The company previously announced financial results for first quarter ending March 31st, 2010. The company’s earnings for the period increased by 33.8% year-on-year and 17.4% sequentially to 330 million yuan (US$48.3 million), while revenues increased by 49% year-on-year to 1.2 billion yuan (US$178.7 million). The company reported a 37% year-on-year increase in the number of paying members to 658,700. Alibaba’s revenues from international operations grew by 42% over last year and 4.6% over the previous quarter. The company also grew revenues from its domestic operations by 35%. For the current quarter and year, the company expects the export market to pick up on the back of increasing business and consumer demand in the international markets, which augurs well for the prospects of the company.
• Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google Inc. (GOOG), said that the company’s situation in the country was stable, two months after the company’s altercation with the Chinese government over censorship issues.
The company is currently serving its Chinese customers from its Hong Kong site after shutting down its Chinese site in March. Eric, however, admitted that the Chinese government could decide to completely restrict the company from doing business in the country at any given time. Uncertainty over Google’s future in the country led to the company’s market share in China’s internet search business declining to 30.9% by the end of March, from 35% previously, while that of Baidu, the market leader, rose from 58% to about 64%.
• Tencent Holdings (OTCPK:TCTZF), China’s largest internet company, announced financial results for the first quarter of the current year.
The company’s revenues increased by 68.7% year-on-year to 4.2 billion yuan (US$619 million), while net income increased by 71.1% to 1.8 million yuan (US$264 million). Revenues from internet value added services increased by 78% over the previous year and 19% over the previous quarter. The company’s mobile and telecom value added services increased by 41% year-on-year. Revenues from online advertising fell by over 25% over the previous quarter. The company had recently invested in Digital Sky Technologies, a large internet company in Russia. The company is also actively pursuing opportunities to grow beyond China and Russia into other international markets.
• Ctrip.com (CTRP), China’s leading online travel agent, announced net income of US$28 million and revenues of US$86 million for three months ending March 31st, 2010.
The company’s results beat analysts’ expectations of US$80.6 million in revenues and US$26.5 in earnings. Ctrip’s revenues represent an increase of 46% over the same period last year, mainly driven by an increase of 44% in air ticket booking revenues. For the second quarter, the company expects revenues to grow by about 30-35%.
• Lakala.com, China’s leading offline e-payment system is expected to report its first monthly profit this year after incurring continuous losses to a total of 200 million yuan (US$29.3 million) over the last 6 years. Lakala allows customers to use bank debit cards to pay their bills through the company’s terminals. The company was initially set up as an e-billing service provider for institutional clients in 2005, but transformed itself into a combination of a bank, a post office and a store, helping retail customers pay credit card and public utility bills through its physical terminals and mobile phones. The company’s terminals are now in more than 40,000 outlets in 100 cities in China and are poised to grow to 100,000 outlets in 200 cities by the end of this year. The company processed 6 million transactions in April 2010 with an average value of 1,700 yuan (US$250) for each.
• LDK Solar (LDK), a wafer and photovoltaic module manufacturer, reported net income of US$7.2 million on revenues of US$347.6 million for the first quarter of 2010.
The figures compare with net loss of US$13.2 million and revenues of US$304.6 million in the previous quarter. The results beat the company’s own revenue forecast of US$310 to US$330 million. LDK expects revenues of US$460 to US$490 million for the current quarter.
• ReneSola Ltd. (SOL), a solar wafer manufacturer and provider of module original equipment manufacturing services, reported financial results for the first quarter of 2010.
The company posted net income of US$11.8 million compared to net loss of US$17 million in the last quarter and US$30 million last year. ReneSola’s revenues for the quarter stood at US$206.6 million up 14.8% sequentially and 93% year-on-year. The company expects its profitability to increase during the year on the back of strong demand for wafers and stringent cost cutting measures. Average sales price has also increased by about 5%. The company forecast revenues of US$230 to US$250 million for the current quarter.
• JA Solar Holdings (JASO) reported financial results for the first quarter of 2010.
The company’s net income stood at 262.1 million yuan (US$38.4 million), compared to a net loss of 201 million yuan (US$29.5 million) last year. JA’s revenues for the quarter stood at 1.9 billion yuan (US$278 million) a sequential increase of 17.1%. The company’s shipments in the first quarter increased by about 18% to 272 MW. The company also raised its full year 2010 shipments expectations to more than 1 GW from its previous guidance of 900 MW.
Disclosure: No positions