A week in tech: part 2

A round-up of all the tech stories from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

A week in China tech


- UTStarcom earnings surge in the fourth quarter on strong orders from the mainland's fixed-line giants. The company is a key supplier of wireless local loop network equipment to China. Turnover for the quarter to December 31 climbed 52.7% year on year to $301.7 million. Its strong earnings results have benefited from deployment of services by China Telecommunications and China Netcom.


- Sina.com posts a second-quarter profit of $1.5 million, its first ever. Sina is the last of China's three Internet companies to reach profitability according to U.S. GAAP. Like the other two firms, Sohu.com Inc. and Netease.com Inc., Sina brought an end to years of losses through revenue from new services that capitalize on China's over 200 million mobile-phone users.


- Little-known companies flocking to mobile-phone manufacturing, rapidly turning the basic handset into a commodity. More than 20 companies in China alone have entered the business, raising their share of China's domestic market – the world's largest – to 20% in just three years. During 2002, their output more than doubled to 23 million phones.

- Legend net profit in its fiscal third quarter rises 1.9% to HK$317.9 million ($40.7 million) from HK$311.9 million a year earlier on improved margins. China's largest maker of personal computers said its gross profit margin in the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to 14.02% from 13.94% a year earlier.

- EMC banking on a more aggressive sales push in China, along with expanded software and services programs, to drive its return to profitability this year. CTO Mark Lewis said the company had also stabilized pricing for hardware, breaking away from a vicious cycle of heavy price discounting against its competitors since 2000, when corporate technology spending began to slow worldwide.

A week in Taiwan tech


- Chunghwa Telecom chairman Mao Chi-kuo replaced after 29 months in office by a political ally of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian. Government spokesman Chuang Suo-hang said Ho Cheng-tan, a former deputy communications minister and one-time aide to Mr Chen, will take the helm of Taiwan's biggest phone company. Mr Mao will be moved to a cabinet advisory role.


- TSMC posts an unexpected 43% decline in its fourth-quarter net profit, and does not expect a rebound in the global chip sector to materialize until the second quarter. The company's quarterly net profit fell to NT$2.55 billion ($74 million), or 13 New Taiwan cents a share, from year-earlier net profit of NT$4.51 billion, or 24 New Taiwan cents a share.

- United Microelectronics swings to net profit for the fourth quarter of NT$986 million ($28.4 million), from a loss of NT$3.75 billion a year earlier. Net profit in the latest quarter for the world's second-largest foundry producer of made-to-order chips beat expectations of NT$377 million based on a survey of analysts by Dow Jones Newswires.

A week in Singapore / Malaysia tech


- Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing posts narrower net loss in the fourth quarter amid a 42% jump in revenue. The company also expects a "somewhat weak" first half for 2003. The contract chip maker reported a net loss of $108.7 million, or five cents a share, compared with a net loss of $127.2 million, or eight cents a share, a year earlier.


- Creative Technology net profit falls 28% during the second quarter ended Dec. 31, and the Singapore maker of computer sound cards said it plans to delist from the Nasdaq Stock Market. Net profit dropped to $18.9 million, or 23 cents a share, from $26.3 million, or 36 cents a share, during the year-earlier period. Creative Technology had posted a $5 million loss for the September quarter.

- Samsung unit delays IPO. Samsung SDI Malaysia says stock markets are deterring its plans for an initial share sale to fund the expansion of its factories. The Malaysian unit of South Korea's largest business group has twice deferred its plan after obtaining regulators' approval for the share sale in February 2001.

A week in Hong Kong tech

Venture Capital / Investments

- PCCW completes its first unsecured bond offering, raising $456 million through a private placement. The new round of capital raising extended the maturity of its $4.2 billion loan portfolio. PCCW-HKTC has $771 million in debt due in 2007 at the earliest. Deutsche Bank declined to reveal the pricing of the bond.


- Global Tech (Holdings) announces a surprise full-year loss after making large provisions. The Samsung sales agent for Greater China, reported a HK$234.59 million net loss for the year to September 30 last year, compared with a HK$335.08 million net profit in the previous year. It also expects the distribution business to remain tough due to intense competition.

Media, Entertainment and Gaming

- Tom.com expects to break even this year, with turnover rising to HK$2 billion from HK$1.6 billion, helped in part by a big boost from its short-messaging business. Chief executive Wang Sing said last year was an encouraging one for the Li Ka Shing-controlled company. He said fourth-quarter results, which will be announced in March, would be close to profitability.


A week in tech is brought to you by FinanceAsia, and IRG, Asia's boutique investment bank to the telecoms, media and tech sectors. More can be found at:

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