a-week-in-tech-april-1117

A week in tech, April 11-17

A roundup of all the latest tech news.
Japan

Internet
ò IIJ (Internet Initiative Japan), announced a joint venture agreement with U.S.-based GDX Network, Inc., a 100-percent owned subsidiary of Denver-based MX Logic, Inc., to form GDX Japan, K.K., which will provide a new-generation message exchange network service. MX Logic is an IIJ partner that provides technical expertise for e-mail solutions. IIJ said it sees the joint venture with GDX Japan as allowing the two companies to develop worldwide services and localize them for release in Japan by the fall of 2007. Under the alliance, GDX Network and GDX Japan will build a reliable private network infrastructure to ensure the deliverability and security of e-mail. IIJ administers hundreds of thousands of e-mail accounts in Japan.

Software
ò Mitsubishi Electric Corp. of Japan and Wonderware, a business unit of Invensys, reported the signing of a new software alliance agreement. Mitsubishi, a supplier of PLCs, said it aims to tap Wonderware software with its Mitsubishi hardware to deliver enhanced automation and information solutions to its customers worldwide. Under the alliance, Wonderware and Mitsubishi will cooperate on marketing activities that promote the customer value of the technical integration between their offerings. According to Wonderware, its software already is used in more than 100,000 installations around the globe, and the company is still investing heavily in ensuring continued software innovation. WonderwareÆs focus is in the areas of open integration, visibility, analysis and the use of real-time information to power intelligent plant and business decisions across a broad range of plant hardware, manufacturing software and business systems.

Mobile/Wireless
ò Industry sources said Japanese mobile phone giant KDDI plans to launch a mobile phone service in the U.S. The source said that the company will not venture in to building its own network but act a so-called Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), renting spare capacity from a U.S. carrier. The move is seen by analysts as proof that there is already little space for growth in saturated home markets in Asia, pushing mobile service providers in more prosperous Asian nations to tap oversea markets for expansion. The U.S. market has not proven to be an easy one for Asia's mobile telcos. NTT DoCoMoÆs attempts to gain access to the US market were not successful. Helio, a joint venture of South Korea's SK Telecom and US ISP EarthLink, has found growth also difficult. Inside sources said KDDI plans to target a niche service at Japanese-speaking residents and travelers. Information on the new service's web site suggests that KDDI will not be offering its most sophisticated Japanese handsets to US customers. KDDI will rent mobile network bandwidth from US carrier Sprint Nextel for the service.

ò Willcom, Japan's largest PHS carrier and the first in the country to introduce a WindowsMobile5.0 device, reported its selection of the Nokia Intellisync Mobile Suite as the foundation for its mobility offering. The Nokia solution is developed as a single, manageable platform for both mobile operators and enterprises. It is expected to power Willcom's business offering for WindowsMobile5.0 devices. With the agreement, Willcom joins some 21 carriers around the globe that have selected Nokia mobileware in the last twelve months as the foundation of their mobility offering. Over 4 million customers use Willcom's voice and data communication services. In a separate development, Venturi Wireless, a global provider of mobile broadband services optimization, announced an agreement to supply its V5000 Optimization Engine and VClient optimization software to Willcom. Venturi's VClient optimization software will be made available to Willcom customers for use on the Sharp W-ZERO3 next generation mobile terminal.

ò Industry sources said IP Mobile Inc., a Tokyo venture authorized by the government to enter the mobile phone service market, has abandoned its plan, citing financial difficulties as the reason for the decision. The company is expected to return its business license to provide 3G wireless communications services. IP Mobile was awarded a license to operate at the 2.0-gigahertz frequency in November 2005, the same month Softbank Corp. and eAccess Ltd. were granted licenses to operate at the 1.7-GHz bandwidth. Industry observers are say that the three providers currently dominating the market û NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and Softbank û are also expected to ask that the government reallocate the frequency to them. NTT DoCoMo has long dominated the domestic cell phone market with a market share of more than 50 percent, followed by KDDI, which operates the au service. Softbank entered the market last year by acquiring the Japanese unit of Britain's Vodafone Group PLC. After acquiring the unit, Internet conglomerate Softbank returned its license to the government.

Hardware
ò Toshiba Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. announced a joint venture to launch TV-use organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels in three years. Analysts are saying the joint venture is targeting a US$35 billion market dominated by LCD and plasma panels. According to a spokesperson for the venture, Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co. Ltd., owned 60 percent by Toshiba and the rest by Panasonic maker Matsushita, aims to start commercial production of OLED panels for flat TVs by 2009. Besides Toshiba Matsushita Display, Sony Corp develops OLED panels for TVs. According to DisplaySearch, the market for TV-use liquid crystal display (LCD) modules is expected to be about US$27.4 billion, the demand for plasma panel modules will likely total US$7.5 billion, in 2007. OLED panels are considered to be energy-efficient.

Korea

Internet
ò Lycos, Inc., a leading community destination for high-quality broadband entertainment content, announced the re-birth of Gamesville, an interactive games destination on the Lycos Network. Gamesville has long been viewed as one of the most popular massively multi-player gaming sites on the web, where users meet and compete for free cash prizes daily. In celebration of its 11th year, Gamesville returns to its roots as an entertainment gaming destination where the emphasis is on fun and community. Unlike other gaming destinations, Gamesville features more of a game show experience where the real focus is on the player. The new avatar system allows Gamesville members to create their online gaming personas. Soon, members will be able to export their Gamesville avatars to their personal web sites, blogs and social networking profile pages. Lycos, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daum Communications Corp., a leading Internet portal and e-commerce destination in South Korea with a presence throughout the Asian markets.

ò Innovative Card Technologies, Inc., developers of the ICT DisplayCard security device for e-banking, e-commerce and data access announced that Meritz Securities Co., Ltd. of South Korea is conducting a test using the ICT DisplayCard to authenticate online trading and ATM transactions. Meritz Securities is the first financial institution to publicly announce testing of the ICT DisplayCard. Meritz Securities is receiving its cards through the South Korea-based reseller Innet, Co, Ltd, which has also distributed the cards to NHN, one of the largest online gaming companies in Korea. Meritz Securities is currently testing the ICT DisplayCard with its employees for online account management and ATM transaction authentication. Meritz Securities handles US$360 billion in transactions annually and has ATMs in 31 branches nationwide. Its analysts offer news and market analysis in such media outlets as CNN International, Reuters, and Forbes.

ò CinTel Corp. (CinTel) announced that it has entered into an agreement to issue an aggregate 10 billion won (US$10.5 million) in convertible bonds (CB), convertible to the common stock of the company and successfully closed this funding simultaneously with the US$63 million in CB funding from Woori Private Equity Fund. Cintel said, with US$73.5 million, it would continue its trend towards strategic acquisitions in more diverse businesses focusing on the semiconductor industry and emerging technologies. The investors in the US$10.5 million CB are the Korea Culture Promotion Inc. and Phoenix M&M Corporation, which are affiliates of Bokwang group. An affiliate of Bokwang group, Phoenix M&M (Metal and Material) Corporation, founded on 1992, is a mineral processing company. Korea Culture Promotion Inc, founded in 1997, is an affiliate of Bokwang Group. Korea Culture Promotion Inc. issues "culture gift certificates" and "game culture gift certificates" and operates the culture portal site "Cultureland.ö Bokwang group is one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea with over 30 subsidiary companies in hi-tech, leisure, finance, retail, logistic and culture businesses. CinTel maintains its position as a leader in Internet traffic management (ITM) systems and it has also begun expansion into new markets and worldwide distribution of Korean and Chinese-based semiconductor technologies.

Media, Entertainment and Gaming
ò NCSoft announced the release of Interlude, an expansion to MMORPG PC Game Lineage II in North America and Europe. According to the gaming firm, Interlude is the next step in the evolution of Lineage II, linking the Chaotic Chronicle and the next chapter, the Chaotic Throne. The Interlude is free to all current Lineage II subscribers. Lineage II, the premier player-versus-player (PvP) massively multiplayer online game, has registered more than 17 million players worldwide ever since launching in 2003.

Software
ò IBM announced that it plans to open a business software research center, the Software Solutions Laboratory, at its South Korea head office in Seoul. The laboratory will be IBMÆs seventh such center, adding to offices already operating in the U.S., UK, Japan and China. The company said the new lab will focus on developing industry-specialized software, banking systems for large banks and web-based business management solutions.

Hardware
ò Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced its plans to release an optical disc player this year that will play both Blu-ray Disc and the rival HD DVD format. Industry observers see the move as significant because Samsung is one of the known main backers of Blu-ray Disc format. The company said it looks to making the BD-UP5000 player available before the end of 2007 in the U.S., with the player expected to be available in Europe in the following few months. No details on possible pricing were also available. The news makes Samsung the second company to shift from a single-format stance and adopt the idea of a dual player than can read both formats, with LG Electronics Inc., also launching a dual player in North America earlier this year.

ò Samsung Electronics Co. reported its biggest profit decline in a year and a half, with its first-quarter net income going down 15 percent to 1.6 trillion won (US$1.7 billion), from 1.8 trillion won (US$2 billion) a year earlier. AsiaÆs largest maker of chips ascribed the results to a drop in semiconductor prices. Its revenue posted a 3.1 percent growth to 14.3 trillion won (US$15.3 billion).

Ventures/Investments
ò The SK Group announced that it would set up a proper holding company in a bid to disentangle its complex ownership structure. Under the plan, SK Corp, the groupÆs current de-facto holding company, will be separated into a holding company tentatively named SK Holdings and a business company tentatively named SK Energy-Chemical. In a separate development, SK President Chey Tae-won gave his 40.6 percent stake in Walkerhill hotel to SK Networks Co. According to an SK spokesperson, the company "will streamline the complicated shareholding structure before June 2009, with the envisioned holding company to have seven major affiliates under its wing, which include SK Energy-Chemical, SK Telecom, SK Networks, SK E&S, SKC, SK Shipping, and K-POWER."
China

Internet
ò Eleven music companies including EMI, Sony BMG, Warner and Universal said they have filed a case against Alibaba, the operator of Yahoo China, accusing the web portal of violating their music copyrights by providing music downloading services. The group asked that Alibaba stop the infringement, issue a public apology and pay 5.5 million yuan (US$712,000) in compensation. Industry sources said Alibaba has refused to pay the compensation, stating that as a search engine, its subsidiary Yahoo China only provides links, but not the downloading service for this music. Alibaba said it couldnÆt be responsible for the content published by a third party. The Beijing Second Intermediate Court has not yet decided on the case. The same music companies have a lodged a similar lawsuit against Baidu.

ò MSN China announced plans to add four more new partners û Hexun.com, Yesky.com, Ctrip.com and Eastday.com û as web content suppliers. The new partners will boost the company's total content partners to 22. They will help MSN to create four channels of stock, digital and IT, travel and graphics areas, respectively. With the addition of these four channels, MSN Chinese website will have 25 channels covering information, entertainment, finance, real estate, cars, community and film. The publisher and chief editor of MSN Chinese web site says that China has become one of the four most important markets for Microsoft.

ò The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reported that, Zhen Ronghui, CEO of 51job.com, is expected to sell 1 million shares of 51job.com to Japanese human resource service company Recruit in a deal valued at US$13 million. Following the sale, Zhen will still hold 16.2 million shares of 51job.com, which would represent about 28.8 percent of the company's total shares. 51job.com says that the sale of Zhen's shares to Recruit is part of the company's plans to set up a strategic alliance with Recruit. According to 51job.com, its shareholders have agreed to sell 15 percent of the company's stake to Recruit, which also plans to buy 8.5 million shares of 51job.com at US$13 for each share. The agreement also states that Recruit will acquire another 25 percent of 51job.com stock in the coming three years.

ò Online payment provider SmartPay said it has signed a deal with Net263 to jointly promote diversified payment solutions in the telecommunications field. According to its CEO, SmartPay will be ôcontinuously committed to the innovations on payment solutions in more extensive fields, and promote the realization of payment convenience to create an easy and vogue life for people."

ò Ninetowns announced entering into a definitive agreement to acquire a related party of Beijing Baichuan Tongda Science and Technology Development Co., Ltd., a Chinese vertical search engine. Baichuan started as a software developer of supply chain, e-commerce and trade solutions and evolved to become a B2B vertical search engine. Baichuan has entered into alliances with more than 30 Chinese B2B portals for information on some 1.5 million products available from over 400,000 Chinese suppliers. Baichuan is believed to be the first B2B vertical search engine developed in China, providing it with first-mover advantage and brand name recognition. Ninetowns said it looks to the technology of Baichuan in strengthening its business model and help it form its own B2B business

Media, Entertainment and Gaming
ò China Film Group and Hollywood-based Crest Digital announced forming a joint venture aimed at delivering a full range of home entertainment and technology software content via multiple digital platforms to mainland China consumers. Industry observers see the joint venture as a combination of the capabilities of the countryÆs most influential entertainment and media conglomerates with one of Hollywood's premier media services and optical technology companies. The two companies said they will use the alliance to focus on developing emerging digital content delivery technologies for its clients, including VOD, IPTV, Internet and mobile. The two companies will collaborate on a broad spectrum of digital media ventures in China including the creation of a new state-of-the-art DVD and CD manufacturing facility. Outside of this project, the two companies said they would be announcing other ventures.

ò According to an official of the countryÆs General Administration of Press and Publication, revenue from China's online gaming industry hit 8 billion yuan (US$1 billion) in 2006 and is expected to grow four times by 2010. The body attributed the figures to the widespread accessibility of the Internet. The report said online gaming revenue in China will grow 30 percent annually to reach 30 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) by 2010. The official noted that the rapid growth in online gaming has created opportunities for telecom, Internet, computer, software and consumer electronics firms, which earned 33 billion yuan (US$4.3 billion) from online gaming in 2006. American and Japanese games used to dominate the market, but China-made online games had about 65 percent of the domestic market in 2006 and registered export revenues of US$20 million last year.

ò Industry sources said the Chinese government has ordered NetEase.com Inc., Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd. and other online game operators to stop users younger than 18 years old from spending more than three consecutive hours a day playing. According to NetEase, the order was accompanied by the instruction requiring companies to install a system by July 15 that cancels half the points or credits earned by younger users after playing more than three straight hours. Games such as NetEase's role-playing title Fantasy Westward Journey award users points that make their game-characters better fighters. China was home to 137 million web users at the end of last year, second only to the U.S., according to the China Internet Network Information Center, a government-backed agency that licenses online domain names. More than 17 percent of Chinese web users were under 18 years old, with over 50 percent younger than 24. NetEase, Shanda and other online game operators began trials of the time limits with some of their titles in 2005. The companies said they will begin testing the time limits for all their games by April 15 and must enforce the restrictions by July 15.

ò NewMarket China, Inc., the China regional subsidiary of NewMarket Technology, Inc. announced that it has secured a contract with Daysview Digital Image Studio Ltd. of Beijing, China. Daysview is a leader in movie and television show post-production, media packaging and game and movie prologues. NewMarket China and Daysview have entered into a two-year contract to provide multimedia-outsourcing services to customers in North America and other regions. Last year, NewMarket Technology completed the independent public listing of its Chinese operations. The Shanghai Multimedia Industry Association (SMIA) is one of 12 associations established in Shanghai after China joined the WTO. It is a non-profit organization made up of corporations and individuals engaged in production, manufacture, research and other activities in the multimedia industry. NewMarket provides certified integration and maintenance services to support the prevailing industry standard solutions to include Microsoft, Cisco Systems, SAP, Siebel, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. NewMarket China, Inc. is a leader in the rapidly developing Chinese software engineering market providing high quality outsourcing services to global customers.

Mobile/Wireless
ò Datang Mobile and Alcatel Shanghai Bell, Alcatel-Lucent's flagship company in China, announced that they have won the bidding that will allow them to provide TD-SCDMA network solutions as part of China Mobile's TD-SCDMA trial network expansion program. Under the deal, Datang and Alcatel Shanghai Bell plan to deploy TD-SCDMA network solutions for China Mobile in Shanghai and in the southern city of Guangzhou. Alcatel Shanghai Bell will provide the Node B equipment to be used in the network.

ò China Radio International (CTRI) announced that it has obtained a mobile phone TV license, making it the third media agent in China that has secured the said license. The company joins Shanghai Media Group and CCTV, which also received the license. CRI has begun to provide mobile phone radio and television service to China Unicom's CDMA1X users and the service will also be available to China Mobile's users in the near future.

Hardware
ò The China Electronics Standardization Association reported the creation of a high-performance computer standard work commission with the aim of making a standard for high- performance computers. The new commission consists of more than 20 members including Dawning, Langchao and the Computer Institute of China Academy of Sciences. According to a member of a commission, China's high-performance computers require a standard in order to protect the nation's safety and interests.

ò Ten color TV manufacturers from China announced setting up of a joint venture company in Shenzhen with the aim of using the group to respond to the American ATSC standard. The new company is called Zhong Cai Lian Science and Technology Co., Ltd, has received an investment of 1 million yuan (US$129,000) from each of the ten Chinese TV manufacturers. The group is responding to the U.S. Federal Communications CommissionÆs ruling that said from March 1, 2007, all digital TV sets which are bigger than 13-inches and exported to the U.S. must conform with the ATSC standard, with Chinese color TV manufacturers required to pay a US$23 patent fee for each of their TV sets exported to the U.S market.

Telecommunications
ò According to the countryÆs Ministry of Information Industry, it has given an International Communications Facilities Service License to China Tietong, enabling one of the smaller communications service providers in the country to run international communications services. With the license, China Tietong joins other four licensed operators, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Netcom. China Tietong said it has opened more than 10G bandwidth to be used for trans-border communications. The company is a major state-owned basic telecommunications operator, with total assets valued at some 42.4 billion yuan (US$5.4 billion) and maintains 31 provincial branches.

Information Technology
ò China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) and Reuters announced the launching of a new foreign exchange trading system. Under the new system, CFETS member banks will now be able to access and trade in real-time, the yuan and five global currency pair prices û Japanese yen, Hong Kong dollar, Euro, and Sterling, and U.S. dollar û and allow them to have a choice of mechanisms to bid or access prices, one click trading, request for quote or limit orders. Initially there are five currency pairs being offered, the Chinese Yuan against the US Dollar, Japanese Yen, Hong Kong Dollar, Euro, and Sterling. Founded in 1994 as an intermediary in the inter-bank foreign exchange market in China, CFETS has built infrastructure for ChinaÆs inter-bank market.

ò YeePay, an online payment provider, reported that it has secured the National Information Security Certification from China Information Technology Security Certification Center (CNITSEC). This makes the company the first independent third-party payment provider to be given such certification. CNITSEC is the government authority responsible for IT security evaluation and certification in China. It is mandated for IT security products, information systems and service providers to ensure product and service quality and security management. The certification and evaluation processes includes assessment of the system design, analysis of security procedures, tests of critical product or service elements, and onsite inspection of system operations. YeePay received the certification after going through a rigorous set of systematic evaluations conducted by CNITSEC.
Taiwan


ò Game Flier International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Taiwan games developer/operator Soft-World International, announced it will operate Flame Dragon Online, a 2.5D online game, in the Taiwan market. The game will have an open beta testing this month. Flame Dragon was originally a PC game developed by the Taiwan company Dynasty International Information, in which Soft-World holds a 44 percent stake, and posted sales volumes of more than 200,000 copies. According to Game Flier, Dynasty International has spent four years converting the game to the online format. Game Flier expects the operation of Flame Dragon Online to generate over 20,000 simultaneous players in the first two months and revenue of at least NT$20 million (US$603,000) a month. Sources said Japan-based companies are also interested in operating the game in Japan.

Hardware
ò According to Quanta and Compal, the two largest contract notebook computer manufacturers in the world, laptop PC shipments registered a surge in March. The bigger of the two, Quanta Computer Inc., announced shipments of 2.4 million laptops in March, an all time high for a single month at the company. As a result, QuantaÆs revenue posted a 31 percent rise to NT$51.2 billion (US$1.5 billion). Compal Electronics Inc., the world's second largest contract notebook computer maker, posted a shipment of 1.7 million laptops in March, its second highest tally ever, bringing its revenue 51 percent higher to NT$35 billion (US$1 billion) in March, from NT$23.1 billion (US$698 million) last year.

ò Market sources indicated that notebook maker Inventec's planned release of a portion of shares it holds in its handset arm Inventec Appliances might go through a delay or suspension. The sources ascribed the development to allegations of insider trading involving company employees at the handset subsidiary. Reports said Inventec originally planned to release 37 million Inventec Appliances shares in conjunction with a planned GDR (global depositary receipt) issue to be launched by Inventec Appliances in the near term. After the planned sale, Invectec would reduce its stake in Inventec Appliances from the current 44.5 percent to 33.7 percent, generating an investment income of NT$1.8-2 billion (US$54.4-60.4 million), following market estimates.

Hong Kong

Telecommunications
ò According to a stock disclosure, PCCW Ltd chairman Richard Li acquired an additional 55.7 million shares in the company, valued at HK$267 million (US$35.3 million). The acquisition has boosted his personal stake in PCCW to 28 pct from 27.2 percent. A report disclosed earlier Li has purchased 21.9 million PCCW shares from the open market.

ò Industry sources said the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has expressed dissatisfaction with replies given by Hutchison Essar, its Hong Kong-based parent Hutchison Telecom International and Vodafone on crucial questions related to the shareholding structure of the countryÆs fourth largest mobile operator. According to official sources, the companies could not counter the suspicion raised by the Board that the agreements entered between the foreign collaborators, lending institutions and the Indian companies are of the type that provides independence to the Indian shareholders. The FIPB said it also felt that the companies could not ôsatisfactorily clarifyö as to how in all media releases as well as findings made before the Hong Kong and U.S. regulators, the transaction between Vodafone and HTIL was shown for a 67 percent equity value of Hutch Essar Ltd while the application before the FIPB is about the transfer of a 52 percent stake in Hutch Essar.

Internet
ò The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) announced a program that would allow enable them to allocate HK$200 million (US$25.5 million) in the next two years to provide free Internet service at government-run establishments and public sites. As to the security of the offering, a spokesperson from Hong Kong SAR says stated that it is their concern also to focus on the management and safety of the Internet service at those venues. According to an official of the Government Information and Technology, the first schedule of the project will be completed in a year. Part of the concern of the management is attending to the number of people who will use the service. Measures are being figured so as to limit the number of people accessing the service.

Media, Entertainment and Gaming
ò Hong Kong-based CDC Games, a business unit of CDC Corporation and pioneer of the "free-to-play, pay-for-merchandise" model for online games in China, announced signing a definitive agreement to make a strategic investment in MGame Corporation, one of South Korea's leading developers of online games including Yulgang, CDC Games' hugely popular licensed free-to-play game in China. Under the agreement, CDC Games will be the company's largest external shareholder, with John Lee, president of CDC Games Corporation, serving as a board observer of MGame. Through this equity investment, CDC Games has changed from a licensee to MGame's largest external investor and has obtained exclusive distribution rights for MGame's next Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) WFFM (Wind Forest Fire Mountain) in China. WFFM is ranked as one of the top 10 most anticipated games in China, with many of the core designers of WFFM from the original Yulgang project. In addition to acquiring exclusive distribution rights for WFFM in China, CDC Games has extended the license of Yulgang to 2010.

Singapore/Malaysia/Philippines/Indonesia

Mobile/Wireless
ò According to its senior official, Indonesian mobile phone operator, PT Mobile-8 Telecom, announced plans to tap into the growing fixed-wireless market this year. Many of the mobile phone operators in the world's fourth most populous nation also offer fixed-wireless service along with their cellular operations, although some offer only fixed-wireless. Unlike the regular mobile phone, which offers full portability nearly anywhere in the world with its roaming capability, fixed-wireless service only operates in a designated area. The company said it plans to spend US$125 million on capital expenditure this year. In March this year, Mobile-8 signed a deal worth US$373 million with South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co to acquire systems for a third-generation mobile service. Indonesia's mobile phone sector has grown quickly in recent years, and experts predict the number of users will top 100 million by 2010. The penetration rate in Indonesia, however, remains low at around 25 percent compared to 80 percent in Malaysia.

Semiconductors
ò MIMOS, the technology R&D arm of the Malaysian government, said it is extending its research into advanced semiconductor and energy solutions by way of alliances with its counterparts in South Korea and Taiwan. The president of the research institution said the organization will work with Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute to set up a joint facility focusing on microelectronics and the development of advanced semiconductor materials for broadband devices. The official said another venture with South Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute will focus on high-performance computing and applied R&D in micro-energy systems. Both facilities, which will be housed at MIMOS's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, will be up and running by the third quarter of this year. The research agency has entered a series of alliances in recent months, joining forces with companies such as IBM and Silicon Graphics, Inc. to boost local capabilities in areas like software development and grid computing.

ò Temasek Holdings LimitedÆs wholly owned subsidiary, Singapore Technologies Semiconductors Pte Ltd announced that all conditions to its voluntary conditional cash offer for the remaining shares (including shares represented by American Depositary Shares in STATS ChipPAC Ltd. that STSPL does not already own) had been satisfied and that the offer had been declared unconditional. STSPL also announced that its offer for STATS ChipPACÆs outstanding US$115 million convertible notes due 2008 and US$150 million convertible subordinated notes due 2008 had been declared unconditional in all respects as of the same time. Incorporated in 1974, Temasek Holdings is an Asia investment firm headquartered in Singapore. Supported by affiliates and offices around Asia, it manages a diversified S$129 billion (US$80 billion) portfolio, concentrated principally in Singapore, Asia and the OECD economies. STATS ChipPAC Ltd. is a service provider of semiconductor packaging design, assembly, testing and distribution solutions. STATS ChipPAC is headquartered in Singapore and has manufacturing facilities located in Singapore, South Korea, China, Malaysia and Taiwan and test pre-production facilities in the United States.

Telecommunications
ò EVN Telecom of Vietnam announced entering a partnership with Singapore-based VSNL International to invest US$200 million in an underwater fiber optic cable network, which will link major telecom hubs in Asia. The cableÆs initial capacity will be 320 Gbps and will later be upgraded to 5.6 Tbps (Terabytes per second), according to EVN Telecom, a subsidiary of State-owned utility Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN). The cable will travel 6,800km, connecting Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Japan and Guam. The new network will also connect Asian servers to the U.S. via an existing TGN-P optical cable in Japan and to Europe via the optical cable in Singapore. VSNL International is a leading provider of undersea and satellite network communications solutions.
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