A week in tech: part 2

A round up of tech news in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

A week in China tech

· The government is to issue new regulations on telecommunications aimed at clarifying the handling of foreign investment and domestic market disputes. The planned new rules, announced by Su Jinsheng, director of the Telecommunication Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Information Industry, promise to address some pressing issues in China's huge and rapidly-changing telecom sector.

Mobile / Wireless
· ST Microelectronics NV to license TD-SCDMA technology to develop chip components for future phones using TD-SCDMA, or time division synchronous code division multiple access, technology. TD-SCDMA has the firm backing of China's government, which oversees the world's largest mobile-phone market.
· Samsung Electronics and Philips Electronics plan TD-SCDMA JV with the main TD-SCDMA developer, state-run Datang Mobile Communications Equipment Ltd.  Dubbed T3G Technology Ltd., the new venture will produce chipsets, hardware and software to make it easier for manufacturers to introduce cellphones based on the Chinese home-grown technology.

· AsiaInfo swings to a loss in the fourth quarter of 2002 and said its outlook for 2003 remains murky. Executives blamed the company's poor performance on the continuing turmoil among China's state-owned telecom operators, who are re-arranging their spending priorities after emerging from a government-ordered restructuring early last year.

· Sohu.com reports its first significant profit in the fourth quarter of 2002. The company said it would continue to be profitable in both the first quarter and full year of 2003. For the quarter ended December, Sohu said it earned net income of $1.9 million on revenue of $10.6 million. The largest and fastest-growing component was Sohu's consumer business, whose quadrupled on year to $6.3 million. Also, riding the wave of enthusiasm for basketball star Yao Ming, Sohu.com officially launches a Chinese-language site devoted to the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 2.26-metre Yao, from Shanghai, started playing last October for the Houston Rockets and has become a hero in his home country, helped by averaging 12.9 points and eight rebounds a game. 
· A South Korean Internet company is suing NetEase.com for $1 million, alleging the Chinese website operator copied its cartoon images without permission. Mr K, a privately held Korean company, filed a lawsuit in Shanghai. The case is the first intellectual property lawsuit involving domestic and overseas companies in the internet industry since China joined the WTO in December 2001.


A week in Taiwan tech

· United Microelectronics raises its stake in Silicon Integrated Systems to 15.8% of outstanding shares. UMC purchased 14 million of SiS' Global Depositary Receipts, or 10.48% of its GDR shares, for $103.8 million. The company has no set target on the amount of SiS shares it will purchase. UMC has spent $104.7 million on SiS shares since late December.

Venture Capital / Investments
· KMT places $719 million of its assets in a trust managed by Credit Suisse Group, furthering the Swiss bank's goal of expanding lending in Taiwan and China. The world's fourth-biggest money manager will oversee about 7% of the party's NT$350 billion of assets. The Swiss bank is chasing lending and advisory business in both Taiwan and China, who both joined the WTO within the past 18 months.


A week in Singapore / Malaysia tech

· Electronics companies expected to report mixed results for last year in the wake of a global electronics slump. The bright spot was Venture, which is expected to record 29 per cent profit growth to $173.7 million. Chartered Semiconductor and ST Assembly Test Services are both expected to report losses, while soundcard-maker Creative Technology is forecast to return to profitability.

A week in Hong Kong tech

· PCCW is pinning its wireless strategy on Wi-Fi technology, as it doubles the number of public installations for wireless local area networks (WLANs) in Hong Kong this year. More than 100 hot spots were installed last year across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Lantau. PCCW was ramping up public Wi-Fi coverage this year to 300 or more. PCCW is the only commercial Wi-Fi operator in Hong Kong.

Mobile / Wireless
· Peoples Telephone to deploy a 3G alternative that will deliver near-3G speeds at a fraction of that technology's cost. CEO Charles Henshaw said the network offered theoretical maximum speeds of 384 Kbps and the bandwidth to deliver advanced wireless applications for the next two to three years, before wideband code division mulitiple access (WCDMA) became affordable to the consumer.


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