The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
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- NEC Corp., Japan's maker of telecoms network equipment, expected to sell at least 7 million handsets in the year to end-March 2009 as it focused on the Japanese market and nextgeneration phones. NEC, which supplies its handsets solely to NTT DoCoMo Inc (DCM), wants to expand its mobile business overseas, particularly emerging markets such as India and Latin America where mobile penetration rates are still low. NEC, once the dominant handset maker in Japan, ranked fifth in the country last year as NTT DoCoMo continued to shed users.
- NEC announced its selection by PT Indosat Tbk to implement a mobile backhaul IP migration project that utilizes existing networks to transfer systems into the latest IP structure. In order to remain competitive throughout Indonesia's fierce battle for domestic market share, Indosat is seeking to have its entire 3G network prepared for IP at the earliest possible stage.
- NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan's dominant mobile operator, has not given up the possibility of offering Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone in Japan. NTT DoCoMo had been in talks with Cupertino, Calif.- based Apple earlier this year to secure the rights to offer the popular iPhone in Japan but smaller rival Softbank Corp. (SFBTF.PK) won the rights. NTT DoCoMo is interested in investing in Vietnam's telecommunications sector. The company hasn't made a decision yet on whether it will participate in MobiFone's planned initial public offering.
- KDDI Corp. (KDDIF.PK), facing a saturated mobile market at home, is looking to drive revenue and earnings growth in the next few years by offering new services, boosting data and content usage and expanding in overseas markets. Yasuda expects the portion of the company's overseas revenue, which accounts for more than 10 percent of total revenue currently, to rise to more than 20 percent in the next three to five years. To achieve that target, the Tokyo-based telecommunications and mobile phone company is keen on exploring further business opportunities in China and India and seeking out new opportunities in other parts of southeast Asia. In China, it operates network service provider KDDI China Corp., while in India it operates KDDI India Pvt, which provides network systems. However, income contribution from these units are not yet substantial.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
- Japan International Broadcasting Inc. [JIB] has elected Hatsuhisa Takashima, former chief commentator at NHK, to the company's board of directors. JIB is to launch Japan's first 24-hour all-English broadcasting service in February 2009.
- Japan should immediately scrap punitive duties on its memory chips as required by a ruling of the World Trade Organization [WTO], according to Hynix Semiconductor of Korea. Late last year, the WTO's dispute settlement panel ruled that Japan should eliminate duties on chips by Sept. 1 this year, Japan said it would keep the duties until 2010, after reducing them from 27.2 percent to 9.1 percent. Japan imposed the duties in retaliation for a bailout of the company by its creditors in 2002 that it believed amounted to a state subsidy and so far, Hynix Semiconductor has paid around US$3 million in duties.
- Logicool Co., the Japanese arm of the Logitech Group (LOGI), a leading global maker of computer peripheral devices, will release a portable wireless speaker system on Sept. 12 for use with cell phones and music players that support Bluetooth. The PF700 can play music from devices spaced within 10 meters, and it also has an analog jack for use with devices that do not have Bluetooth capabilities. The PF700 also has a built-in noise-canceling microphone, so if a phone call comes while the user is listening to music the system can also function as a speakerphone for two-way conversations with a touch of a button. The PF700 has a lithium-ion battery that gives it 12 hours of continuous play time. It can be charged with the AC adapter or via its USB connection. It weighs roughly 450 grams.