Media, Entertainment and Gaming
South Korea's Neowiz Games Corp has become the largest shareholder in Japanese online game operator GameOn Co with a 34.2% stake in terms of voting rights. According to GameOn, Neowiz acquired the shares through a tender offer launched by a South Korean investment firm. That same investment firm is now GameOn's second-largest shareholder with a 25.8% stake.
Convergence, a Honolulu-based health-care technology company, has entered into a five-year distribution agreement in Japan for its patient data management software. Under the agreement, Convergence and Tokyo-based Itochu Corp will jointly distribute and license the CCT Clinical Data Warehouse solutions software, which manages patients' health data for medical groups, hospitals and clinics. Itochu, which has invested US$2 million in Convergence to become an equity partner, will also offer consulting services to Japanese clients.
Tokyo-based Access Co, a maker of mobile phone software, plans to develop Linux-based applications for NTT DoCoMo handsets together with NEC Corp and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Access said the software will be available by March 2010. Access is developing an open-source operating system called Access Linux Platform for hand-held devices to win market share from Symbian Ltd and Microsoft Corp in the smart phone market, which comprises 104 million unit handsets globally.
Toshiba says it plans to enter the market for solid-state drives (SSDs) for notebooks next year and aims to offer three lower-priced products by May. Following this move, Toshiba and its rival STEC will be the only two firms delivering flash memory notebook drives based on multi-level cell (MLC) technology. Industry observers note that MLC drives hold more data than single-cell drives that are more commonly used in notebooks, and are less expensive, which makes them attractive to more consumers and businesses. MLC technology enables the storage of 2 bits of data per memory cell, versus 1 bit with single-level cell technology, and enables manufacturers to deliver twice the memory at about the same price. However, MLC drives are not as fast as SLC devices and do not retain data as long.
Minicom Advanced Systems, headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel, is expanding its partnership with NEC Display Solutions. The joint venture, which began in February of 2006 with the announcement of the integration of Minicom's DS Vision 3000 receiver with NEC's line of display screens, will be widened to incorporate Minicom receivers in a total of seven different NEC screen models.
DATATRAK International, a technology and services company focused on global eClinical solutions for the clinical trials industry, has signed an enterprise agreement and marketing alliance with NTT DATA Corp. The group will enable NTT DATA to become a value-added-reseller of the DATATRAK eClinical product suite to the Japanese clinical trials market. This relationship consists of a five-year enterprise subscription license agreement, with the enterprise license and implementation services initially worth a minimum of $2.4 million to DATATRAK.
Sun Microsystems announced that Japan has selected Sun to create an open web 2.0 architecture, which is expected to provide better IT leverage in the delivery of government services to citizens. With this move, Japan joins Singapore and Norway on the growing list of governments that have already turned to Sun for efficient, scalable architectures that manage global information flow and help maximise productivity. According to media sources, the Japanese government has been looking for ways to provide electronic government services for many years, which led to the formulation of the "New IT Reform Strategy" in January 2006. The strategy aims to have 50% of all applications and filings for government agencies submitted online by 2010. Sun was chosen to create an integrated and inherently secure network, called Trusted Network, which will help enable a one-stop service infrastructure. The complete Sun solution is comprised of OpenSolaris OS, Sun Java System Identity Manager software, Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite and Sun Ray thin clients.
According to media sources, Hitachi is thinking of opening a research and development center in Israel, focusing on nano-technology and software for chip production. The chairman of Hitachi High Technologies Corp has earlier said that Hitachi might also set up an R&D center in Singapore, as part of a plan to have Israeli, Singaporean and Japanese engineers work together on different technology-based projects. Hitachi High Technologies manufactures electronic equipment and materials for semiconductor production as well as laboratory equipment.
KT Corp, South Korea's leading fixed-line telephony and broadband Internet service provider, plans to help set up an Internet data center in Mongolia. The company said it has secured an order to build an Internet data center for the Mongolian government and to establish IT systems as well as networks. KT said the project, which is set to be completed in February 2009, will also require KT to provide IT education and to deploy experts to Mongolia.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
Turbine Inc. and NHN Corp have entered into a distribution agreement for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Under the terms of the deal, Turbine will work closely with NHN, the largest South Korean Internet company, to localise The Lord of the Rings Online game for the South Korean market. The Lord of the Rings Online was recently awarded the 2007 PC Game of the Year at the 25th Annual Golden Joystick Awards and is currently operating in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Headquartered in the US, Turbine is a developer, publisher and operator of online entertainment.
SK Telecom plans to boost its China business by selling news and entertainment content via its subsidiaries and joint venture firms. A mobile newsletter service for China Unicom users has already been initiated by its Chinese joint venture UNISK in partnership with People's Daily, the state-run newspaper. UNISK is owned jointly by China Unicom and SK Telecom, with the Chinese mobile operator holding 51% of the shares. SK Telecom also said that it is going to sell Korean-made entertainment content, such as K-Pop songs, mobile games and photos of South Korean movie stars, to China Mobile, which is the world's largest mobile operator with 350 million subscribers. The content will be provided by Via Tech, an affiliate of SK Telecom's China holding company.
Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) will start making electrical switches and sensors using a revolutionary semiconductor technology called Metal-Insulator Transition (MIT) from next spring. ETRI said it has been working with the University of California in San Diego on this technology. MIT refers to the properties of certain materials that can be controlled to conduct or block electricity depending on the situation, just like the silicon semiconductors that are widely used in today's computer chips. The difference between the two is that the silicon semiconductor is controlled by electric signals while ETRI's MIT products react to temperatures. The MIT technology is expected to be used to make efficient thermal sensors and fuses. According to ETRI, the market for MIT fuses is estimated to be worth almost $1 trillion.
Samsung Electronics is looking to diversify its businesses, which are currently highly dependent on memory chips. Earlier, Samsung announced that it has designed the industryÆs first digital TV receiver chip, based on 65-nanometer processing technology. The development is expected to allow digital TVs targeting Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia to receive both vestigial sideband (VSB) broadcasts and quadrature amplitude modulation (QSM) cable signals. Samsung said the new chip will be used for digital TVs, set-top boxes, TV receiver cards for personal computers, USB-interfaced plug-and play boxes and even DVD recorders.
KT has revealed that it is thinking of merging with its mobile phone subsidiary KTF. According to its CEO, KT is considering various options for restructuring such as setting up a holding company or merging. KT holds a 52.1%stake in KTF. Even with the tight regulation around the telecom industry, KT is positive that the government will allow it to pursue its plan, citing the governmentÆs favorable stance to SK Telecom, which was granted the right to use the 800-Mhz bandwidth. The 800-Mhz band is more cost-efficient than 1.8 Ghz bandwidth used by the two other mobile firms.
According to South Korea's Ministry of Finance and Economy (MOFE), the South Korean government is planning to set aside W400 billion ($434.8 million) to help boost the export of cultural content that can fuel the country's service industry. MOFE said that the five-year plan will consider factors such as unsecured loans to small and medium enterprises that export cultural and related materials, and giving training support for qualified workers. The cultural contents market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.4% until 2011 and is forecast to hit $1.5 trillion this year and reach $1.9 trillion in 2011.
The ministry said the plan will recognise intellectual property rights and outstanding payment on export orders as collateral for loans. It also indicated that a maximum W10 million ($10,722) will be given to companies that hire a foreign expert to improve the quality of their content.
Daum Communications Corp, South Korea's second-largest Internet portal operator, has entered into an agreement to sell a 35.7% stake in its on-line auto insurance unit to Germany's ERGO for W40.9 billion ($44.5 million). Under the deal, Daum will sell a total of 5 million shares in Daum Direct Auto Insurance to ERGO, a subsidiary of the world's second-biggest re-insurer, Munich Re AG. If the deal is completed, the German company will hold 65% in Daum Direct, Daum will have 10% and LIG Insurance will hold 25%. Daum Direct is Korea's second-largest auto insurance firm with a market share of 15.1%, trailing Kyobo Axa.
Chinese Internet portal Netease.com has launched the official upgraded beta of its self-developed search engine You Dao. The new beta search engine features an upgraded function of the webpage search, image search, blog search and desktop dictionary. Industry observers say the search engine is becoming one of the core businesses of Netease.com and is providing a better search experience for Chinese Internet users. Together with the launch of the new beta, Netease.com has also adjusted the homepage of its web site, putting the search button in a more prominent place.
Ninetowns, which provides software services to import and export firms, plans to spend more money to increase its Internet resources. According to its CEO, Ninetowns currently has about $100 million in cash and is considering acquiring some small and medium B2B websites. Ninetowns has made a series of acquisitions already, beginning with its purchase in May of yaphon.com, an e-commerce vertical search web site, and a stake in 21food.cn. Ninetowns has formed a large scale outsourcing platform that covers all the major processes of the B2B business with tootoo.com as the main undertaker.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
CDC Corp, a global enterprise software and new media company, posted a 27% rise in its third quarter revenue to $99.6 million from $78.2 million in the third quarter of 2006. This marks the highest revenue total for a third quarter in CDC¦s history and its second best revenue quarter overall. CDC said its total revenue from CDC Software increased by 46% to $89.5 million from $61.3 million a year earlier. The companyÆs Chinadotcom business, which includes the portal and MVAS businesses, reported a 58% drop in revenues to $3.6 million in the same quarter from the US$8.5 million a year earlier. Ovesrall, CDC swung to a third quarter net loss of $7.1 million compared to a net income of $3.2 million in the third quarter 2006. The decline in net income was attributed primarily to lower revenues of CDC Games and CDC¦s MVAS business.
Siano Mobile Silicon, a mobile digital TV firm, has entered into an agreement with CMB Satellite and Huaqi to provide solutions for China's mobile TV service known as CMMB. The CMMB technology was developed in China and has been selected by China's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television as the main platform for delivering TV services to mobile devices. The CMMB network uses both satellite and terrestrial signals to obtain effective coverage both in densely populated cities and in sparsely populated rural areas. CMB Satellite is a Hong Kong-based affiliate of EchoStar Communications Corporation (DISH) and the primary provider of S-band satellite capacity for China's CMMB mobile video system. Huaqi manufactures the Aigo consumer multimedia products in China and is one of the country's largest suppliers of MP3/MP4 handheld devices.
Nokia Siemens Networks has secured a contract that will allow it to work on the implementation of GSM-R in the newly commissioned Hefei-Wuhan Passenger-dedicated Line. This line, which is expected to bring about regional economic and cultural communication in the region, is forecasted to be operational by early 2009. Nokia Siemens Networks is a pioneer of GSM-R technology, with Siemens researching and creating the GSM-R standard starting in the early 1990s. In China, Nokia Siemens Networks is the leader of GSM-R systems and has undertaken five of the total seven GSM-R passenger-dedicated line projects in China that have been put into operation or are under construction.
CSOFT, a provider of multilingual localisation, testing and outsourcing software development for the global, market has opened a Shanghai office in a bid to maximise its ability to meet the globalisation requirements of multinational companies. Industry observers note that Shanghai has become a manufacturing base for many global enterprises developing products for worldwide markets. Companies are now increasingly sourcing multilingual localisation from their China business centers. CSOFT is headquartered in Beijing and maintains international offices in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Japan, Australia, Canada and Germany.
According to market sources, Iomega Corp (IC) has agreed to acquire the entire share capital of Shenzhen ExcelStor Ltd from Great Wall Technology in exchange for new ordinary shares valued at Rmb2.3 billion ($323 million). The deal is subject to approvals from shareholders and regulators. Shenzhen ExcelStor is a manufacturer and wholesaler of computers and related peripheral equipment headquartered in China. Iomega is a US-based manufacturer and wholesaler portable storage solutions.
Xian Seastar Modern-Tech Co has announced a plan to acquire assets of China-based household appliance manufacturer Zhuhai Gree Group Corp in a deal valued at Rmb2.2 billion ($305.1 million). The consideration will include 240 million new Xian Seastar shares, valued at Rmb1.7 billion, and Rmb500 million in assets, including the entire share capital of Zhuhai Gree Real Estate Co and Gree Zhisheng Real Estate Co. The transaction has been approved by the board of directors and regulatory authorities.
Meanwhile, Zhuhai Gee said it has also signed a Letter of Intent to acquire 17.7% in Xian Seastar. Located in China, Xian Seastar is involved in the development and wholesale of computer hardware and system IC, software development, intelligent architecture and digital community. Outside the computer technology space, the companyÆs other activities include property development; retailing and wholesaling of commercial goods; supermarket operations; the production of electronic communication machinery and equipment; and the provision of technical services.
Suning Electronics has terminated its plan to acquire Dazhong after failing to reach an agreement with the rival home electronics retailer. Sources said one of the main disagreements related to the Rmb3 billion ($407 million) price offered by Suning. Industry analysts believe that the termination may slow SuningÆs expansion but will not necessarily affect the companyÆs overall business in China. GOME Electrical Appliances, China's top electronics retailer, revealed that it was discussing a possible acquisition of Dazhong following SuningÆs decision to abandon its plan. Beijing-based Dazhong, which controls half of the electronics market in the capital, said that it is in talks with several companies regarding a possible merger, including Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer in the US
Chi Mei Communication Systems (CMCS) has secured a large-quantity order for ultra-low cost handsets from Motorola. CMCS is an affiliate of Hong Kong-based Foxconn International Holdings. Under the deal, CMCS is expected to begin delivering handsets to Motorola in the second quarter of 2008, with total shipments likely to reach 30 million units. Sources indicated that the handsets are initially set to be marketed in India.
According to a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) will invest an additional $22.6 million in its China-based subsidiary CPTF Optronics. Industry observers note that CPT's additional investment is aimed at expanding the production of medium-size LCD panel modules.
Yageo, a Taiwan-based passive components provider, has entered into a strategic partnership with Future Electronics, a global distributor of electronic components. Under the agreement, Future Electronics will promote the full product portfolio of Yageo to its customers through all sales channels. Industry observers say the addition of Future Electronics to Yageo's global distribution network will help boost Yageo's presence in the North American and Asian markets. Hong Kong
DTS Communication Technologies Corp has entered into a cooperation agreement with PCCW, Hong Kong's largest telecommunication services provider. Under the agreement, the two companies will operate networking and Internet services in Vietnam with the NOC (Networking Operation Center), which according to DTS provides special remote administering services for effective working results. DTS will also be investing in infrastructure, facilities and human resources in order to run all of PCCW's software and network services in Vietnam. DTS is VietnamÆs leading independent systems integrator within the information communication technology sector.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
PacificNet Inc, a provider of gaming technology, e-commerce, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in China, announced that its Chinese subsidiary Guangdong Poly has launched a new e-commerce website for the sale and promotion of legal welfare lotteries in China under the license authorisation of the China Welfare Lottery Center. Lot888.com is the latest online e-commerce lottery operating under the legal authorisation of the China Welfare Lottery and will give Guangdong Poly a commission of approximately 7% on the sale of legal electronic and paperless lottery gaming products. According to China's Ministry of Finance, total revenues from China's legal lottery game sales has grown rapidly in recent years to a record high of Rmb81.9 billion ($10.5 billion) in 2006, representing a 15% increase from 2005. Analysts predict that China's lottery market will reach Rmb200 billion ($25 billion) in 2008.
Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd announced that it will speed up the rollout of its mobile network in Indonesia with the assistance of Excelcomindo Pratama. The company said that its Indonesian unit Hutchison CP Telecommunications (HCPT) has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Excelcomindo. Under the agreement, HCPT will share base station towers with the Indonesian operator for up to 12 years.
Telekom Malaysia plans to pay a dividend of M$1.6 billion ($491 million) this year to attract investors as it spins off its fast-growing mobile phone division, TM International. MalaysiaÆs largest phone company said it aims to lift shareholder returns from its traditional fixed-line business even as it creates a regional mobile division seeking growth in emerging markets such as India and Sri Lanka. Telekom Malaysia said the dividend will be distributed in the first quarter of 2008, while the spin-off will be completed in the second quarter. TM International may sell as much as 10% of the companyÆs shares after the spin off to raise funds for future acquisitions.
Redback Networks Inc, an Ericsson-owned company based in the US that makes video-centric routers for 75% of the worldÆs largest triple-play networks, has announced that it will help deliver on-demand broadband services for up to 50,000 businesses served by Biznet of Indonesia. This will make Biznet the first competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) in Southeast Asia to deploy SmartEdge routers for smart metro Ethernet and fibre access networks. The deal will also help Biznet deliver on-demand and pre-paid broadband services for businesses across Southeast Asia. The Biznet deal reinforces RedbackÆs strategy to help carriers unify residential, business and mobile services on a single IP-based broadband network. In greater Asia, Redback manages more than 27 million broadband subscribers. Other top carriers deploying SmartEdge for residential and business services include AT&T, British Telecom, China Telecom, China Netcom, Chunghwa Telecom, eAccess France Telecom, Korea Telecom, Telefonica, and Turk Telecom.
The Singapore government has sent out a Request-For-Proposal (RFP) for an open access Next Generation National Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN) that will offer ultra-high speed connectivity by 2015. The government will partly fund the construction of the nationwide broadband network, which, once built, could be used by any operator to deliver services to the country's 4.5 million residents. Twelve bidders were pre-qualified for the network deal by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), including incumbent operator Singapore Telecommunications, StarHub, Siemens Communications (now part of Nokia Siemens Networks) and Japan's NTT West Corp. The remaining pre-qualified bidders are all consortia, which involve the industry players such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Ericsson AB, BT Group, Tech Mahindra, Chunghwa Telecom, T-Systems, Hong Kong Broadband Network and MobileOne. To help attract more bidders, the Singapore government said it will provide a grant of up to S$750 million ($520 million) to the company that will design, build and operate the passive infrastructure.
According to industry sources, the Philippine government has earmarked some Ps1 billion ($22.4 million) for e-government projects next year under the eGovernment Fund. The fund was created to provide an alternative funding source for mission-critical, high-impact and cross-agency Information & Communications Technology (ICT) projects.
Phillipne-based PeopleSupport Inc. has rejected a joint proposal by IPVG Corp and AO Capital Partners to acquire at least a majority stake in the call center company. The NASDAQ-listed business process outsourcing (BPO) provider said the decision of its board of directors was unanimous and followed a consultation with financial and legal advisors. IPVGÆs and AO CapitalÆs all-cash proposal placed the value of PeopleSupport at $355 million.
Excelcomindo Pratama, the third-largest phone operator in Indonesia, plans to sell and then lease back about two-thirds of its mobile phone towers to lower costs and improve the company's ability to expand. Excelcom, which is controlled by Telekom Malaysia, said it aims to sell 7,000 towers and is thinking about spending $650 million in 2008 to widen its coverage. The competition in the Indonesian market is intense with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecommunications International reportedly set to invest about HK$4 billion ($512.8 million) next year to boost its wireless network. Hutchison started its services in Indonesia in March.
¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.