a-week-in-tech-september-1925

A week in tech, September 19-25

A roundup of all the latest tech news.
Japan

Media, Entertainment and Gaming
ò According to the head of Yahoo Japan Corp, the company is looking to setting up alliances with a range of mass media. The company said it is considering partnerships with newspapers and broadcasters in a bid to get more net-based advertisers. Yahoo Japan said it will consider all media groups for this undertaking.

Internet
ò kabu.com Securities announced that Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, BNP Paribas Securities (Japan), Goldman Sachs Japan and Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) will join its nighttime stock trading market. Earlier in August, SBI Japannext, a joint venture between SBI Holdings and Goldman Sachs, started activities in a similar after-hours market, hosting the trading of several brokerages. Industry observers say the move by kabu.com is expected to make the competition more intense in this sector of the securities market. The company is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

Mobile/Wireless
ò KDDI Corp announced that it is entering into an alliance with local partners and a US-based chip maker, a move that accompanies its decision to form a joint venture to bid for a license for next-generation high-speed wireless data communications services using mobile WiMAX technology. KDDI, the countryÆs second-biggest mobile carrier, has been one of the first supporters to promote mobile WiMAX technology and aims to surpass bigger player NTT DoCoMo Inc in terms of transmission speeds for wireless data communications services.

ò NextWave Wireless, a US telecom firm, revealed its decision to sell its stake in IP Mobile, a move that makes it the second foreign firm to exit Japan's competitive mobile telephone industry after BritainÆs VodafoneÆs exit in 2006. In August, NextWave acquired a 69.2% stake in IP Mobile from Mori Trust, which made it the top shareholder of the company. With this development, Mori Trust Co disclosed that it will buy back the stake and again. NextWave is a supplier of wireless broadband products, technologies and network solutions.

hardware
ò Fujifilm Holdings Corp will start cost-cutting in its digital camera business, a move that include transferring all camera production to China and outsourcing some semiconductor processing to Toshiba Corp. Specifically, the company said it would close a camera manufacturing unit, Fujifilm Photonics Co, with some 200 out of the 700 workers to be moved to a newly established assembly and testing company and no decision has been reached yet as to the remaining 500 workers. Fujifilm said it is looking to focus more on core businesses including medical and printing systems.

Semiconductors
ò Sony issued a denial regarding reports that it is selling its chips business to Toshiba. With the denial, Sony says it is considering ways to improve its chip operations but declined to offer specifics.

Ventures/Investments
ò Media sources say Toshiba Corp. has made a decision to sell off a piece of valuable real estate in Tokyo's Ginza district to focus on its semiconductor chip operations. Toshiba plans to offer Ginza Toshiba Building to Tokyu Land Corp, a major real estate firm, in a deal placed at approximately 150 billion yen ($1.2 billion) by the end of this year at the earliest. Sources say that Toshiba is in talks with Sony Corp to acquire Sony's facilities to produce Cell advanced microprocessor chips for about 100 billion yen ($865.8 million). The Cell chips were jointly developed by Toshiba, Sony and IBM Corp.

ò Industry sources indicate that Japan Airlines Corp will be initiating talks with potential buyers for its credit card business next month. The reports say that JAL may consider selling JALcard Inc. by the end of March as part of its restructuring plans. JALcard is No 6 in Japan's credit card industry and is valued at about 100 billion yen ($867 million).
Korea

Internet
ò Company sources disclosed that the founder and co-president of Daum Communications Corp, South Korea's second-largest portal operator, has resigned. The official, Lee Jae-woong, who has been leading Daum with Seok Jong-hoon since April 2006, will remain as a member of the company's board and the head of Lycos, Daum's U.S. portal unit. The company said Seok, will assume the job in financing, global operation and other management previously under Lee.

Media, Entertainment and Gaming
ò Samsung Electronics disclosed that it has formed a partnership with the independent film distributor Landmark Theaters and will sponsor independent films. Samsung Electronics plans to invest about $250,000 annually. It will select one or two independent films a year after consultation with Landmark Theaters. The report said that Samsung will also carry out related marketing activities with Landmark. In 1996, the group launched Samsung Entertainment Group for its film business with Samsung Electronics, Samsung Corp, and Cheil Communications. The group, however, liquidated the company in 1998 and since then has not invested directly in the film industry.

Software

ò DigitAll World, a digital technology company, announced that, together with SK Telecom, it is developing a software application that allows users to watch movies from their home computers or TVs on their mobile phones. The application dubbed Orb, streams media such as videos on TV over the wireless Internet to mobile devices. The core technology was developed by Orb Networks of the US DigitAll World and its affiliate Orb Korea is adapting the technology to be used with Korea's wireless networks.

Hardware
ò LG Electronics and DivX announced they will form a partnership to enable a high-quality consumer media experience with the LG Viewty, a new 5.0 mega-pixel digital camera phone available from LG Mobile. DivX creates products and services designed to improve the experience of media. Its first product offering was a video compression-decompression software library, or codec, which has been actively sought out and downloaded over 240 million times since January 2003, including over 80 million times during the last twelve months.

ò Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of flat-screen televisions, announced that it has entered into an agreement to share digital-TV broadcasting patents with other top TV manufacturers. In a filing to the Korea Exchange, Samsung said that it was part of a group that includes LG Electronics, LG subsidiary Zenith Electronics, Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial, Mitsubishi Electric, Royal Philips Electronics and Cisco Systems unit Scientific Atlanta. Under the agreement, which runs until the end of 2016, a royalty of $5 will be charged for each television set using digital-broadcasting technology approved by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ASTC). According to a Samsung representative, the decision to form a pool was in order to minimise the risk of patent disputes. At present, TV sets using ATSC standards are sold mainly in South Korea, Canada, Mexico and the US.

Ventures/Investments
ò Industry sources described Shinhan Financial Group as having difficulties in the merger between its two card subsidiaries û LG Card and Shinhan Card û with the members of LG Card's trade union turning down the proposal from the management for the rearrangement of jobs. Earlier, the union of LG Card voted to take action against management and block the merger with Shinhan Card which was planned for early next month. LG explained its move as brought about by the discriminative measures against LG Card employees.

Telecommunications
ò Net Insight's Singapore office disclosed that it has secured a major order from Korea Telecom for a multi-service media network connecting ten cities in South Korea. The deal is estimated to be worth more than $1.5 million. Under the arrangement, Korea Telecom (KT), the leading communications service provider in Korea, will be building a combined distribution and contribution media network using Net Insight's Nimbra platform. The network is made for broadcaster SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System) that will use the network for video and audio services between its headquarters in Seoul and local broadcasters in nine other cities in South Korea.
China

Internet
ò According to the CEO of Alibaba Group, the company plans to spend some 10 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in the coming three to five years in e-commerce industry supply chain services. Industry observers see the investment in e-commerce supply chains as part of the companyÆs desire to be more competitive in the international market. The CEO says that Alibaba wants to transform the company into a new system that combines technology, finance, information and logistics.

ò BBSpace, an online business portal, announced that it has secured $11 million in venture funding from an investment group led by IDG. As part of ChinaÆs enterprise software maker SuperData, BBSpace provides online magazines that target the business communities.

Media, Entertainment and Gaming
ò According to market sources, Skyline Media, the majority shareholder of China-based online games operator, Shanda Interactive Entertainment, has raised $157.4 million from a placement of secondary shares in the company. Skyline Media sold 4.5 million ADR shares in the US-listed company at a price of $34.4. UBS was the sole arranger of the deal.

ò There are rumors circulating that Shanda is trying to set up a unit that will mark its entry into the in-game advertising (IGA) business. Media sources say that some prominent advertising executives have already joined the IGA team. According to Pearl Research, IGA may provide significant revenues for Shanda since all of the companyÆs games are currently free-to-play and have accrued many players. Analysts see IGA as enabling the company to generate revenues from other non-paying customers.

ò According to industry sources, Zhengtu, a Chinese online games company, has secured $100 million in equity investment with individual investors and venture capital funds as some of those joining this round of financing. In a related development, Zhengtu said it has submitted an SEC application to list on the US market. ZhengtuÆs MMORPG Zhengtu reported having more than 1 million peak concurrent users.

Mobile/Wireless
ò Sina.com announced that it is sponsoring NokiaÆs mobile multiplayer games competition, a move indicating the Chinese Internet portalÆs backing of the search for new game developer in the Chinese market. Under the competition, selected concepts are to be based on SNAP Mobile, a platform developed by Nokia. The winning concepts will be given free development support and preparation for market deployment.

ò According to industry media sources, Shanghai Jiading New Town is going to be the first pilot wireless zone in China. Under the wireless city concept, Jiading New Town will be created into a wireless city through scheduled and phase construction. Currently, out of the 520,000 residents in Jiading, about 300,000 have been identified as Internet users and about 110,000 as broadband users.

ò KongZhong, a Chinese wireless value-added services company, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced jointly their launching of the official NBA Chinese mobile web site. Under the agreement, KongZhong will operate the official NBA Chinese mobile website which users can visit on their mobile phones. The offering will see the mobile website showing live selected NBA games in their entirety and giving video clips of NBA game highlights, the latest news, scores, game and player updates, player interviews, blogs, TV schedules, wallpaper, ring tones, and more.

Software
ò Microsoft disclosed the resignation of Timothy Chen as head of Microsoft Greater China Region. The report also stated that the company has already initiated a global search for a person to take his place. In the interim, Ya-Qin Zhang, corporate vice president and chairman of Microsoft's China Research & Development Group, will lead the business as the region's acting chief executive officer.

ò According to media sources, construction has begun on the Dalian Tiandi Software, which is the second phase of Dalian Software Park. The new facility is estimated to be worth some 15 billion yuan ($2 billion). Dalian Tiandi Software Park is jointly developed by Hong Kong-based Shui On Group's affiliates Shui On Real Estate and Shui On Construction, and Dalian Yida Group. The park is envisioned to be a multi-functional park that combines software development, living areas, educational installations, and leisure facilities. Market sources placed DalianÆs total software output value at 14.5 billion yuan ($1.9 billion).

Hardware
ò Jiangsu Dongyuan Electrical Group (JDEG) announced that it has plans to acquire an 87.3% interest in Suzhou Tianli Electric Equipment (STEE), an apparatus manufacturer in a deal valued at 30 million yuan ($3.9 million) in cash. The transaction was approved by the board of directors. STEE, founded in 2002, manufactures electrical equipment for internal combustion engines. JDEG manufactures semiconductors, high- and low-voltage switches for mechanical, electrical, and power departments.

ò TCL Computer announced the acquisition of 50 million yuan ($6.6 million) credit loan from TCL Group, a development that is expected to boost TCL ComputerÆs standing in the industry. With the acquisition, the company also issued clarifications regarding its staff reduction which will be no more than 15%, and not 50%, as earlier reported and that the company would not sell its computer business, with an official describing the business as one of the most important components of the companyÆs strategy. TCL Computer is the fourth-largest PC maker in China.

Information Technology
ò Magellan, a US-based GPS company, and Zenitron Corp, a distributor of semiconductor, electric component, and consumer electronics in China are partnering to bring Magellan auto navigation devices to the Chinese market. Under the agreement, Zenitron will market and distribute Magellan GPS products, starting with the introduction of three new products, the Magellan Maestro 3200C, 8200C and 8250C. Taiwan

Mobile/Wireless
ò Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) announced the launch of Visa payWave, a contactless credit card payment service based on NFC (near field communication). CHT said the service is made through an alliance with Visa, Nokia and the local Chinatrust Commercial Bank. Under the offering, there will be an initial 500 CHT subscribers with Nokia 6131i handsets who will be able to access the Visa payWave service which is available at nearly 3,000 retail stores around Taiwan. CHT will adopt the SWP (Single Wire Protocol) standard developed by the GSM Association.

Ventures/Investments
ò Creative Sensor Inc (CSI), the world's largest producer of contact image sensor modules (CISMs) based in Taiwan, announced that it is boosting its production capacity in China. According to a CSI spokesperson, Nanchang Creative Sensor Image, a subsidiary maker of CSI, will initiate first phase construction of a factory with completion scheduled for the end of 2007. The company says operations are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2008. CSI set up its first China subsidiary maker Wuxi Creative Sensor Technology in Eastern China in August 2002.

Hardware
ò Arima Computer revealed its decision to sell its notebook and server related business to Flextronics International, an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider. The deal valued at $200 million covers plants, facilities, technologies and assets of Arima's notebook and server business, along with company stakes in its subsidiaries in Japan, Texas, California, and the UK. Under the agreement, Flextronics will assume the partnership with Gateway, a major customer of Arima. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2007. Arima has been undergoing reorganisation since 2006. The company estimated the annual sales from its notebook business to reach NT$20 billion ($605 million) in 2007.

Hong Kong

Telecommunications
ò According to media sources, Nelson Wong Kam-fu, the inventor of the Chinese telephone paging system, announced a HK$68 billion ($7.8 billion) bid for PCCW. Responding to the move, PCCW issued a statement calling WongÆs offer as unsolicited. Nelson Wong started his business with Star Paging Communications, and later entered the mobile telephony on the Chinese mainland. He is making his bid on the strength of his Smart Rich Energy Finance Company. Industry observers also note that WongÆs advisers û the Australian-controlled Macquarie Bank and the French based investment bank Societe Generale û have not issued any statement regarding their participation in this deal.

Media, Entertainment and Gaming
ò Nimbus Sport announced that it has entered into agreements with Hong KongÆs mobile operators û Hong Kong CSL, PCCW and Hutchison Telecommunications û to provide mobile clips of the Barclays Premier League for the next three seasons 2007/2008, 2009, 2010. Under the agreement, the operators will offer near-live video clips, highlights, match reviews and previews of each and every Barclays Premier League match during the term. Subscribers of Hong Kong CSL, Hutchison Telecommunications and PCCW would be able to access the content through subscription and pay per view models.

Internet
ò City Telecom's (HK) wholly owned subsidiary, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) becomes the first internet service provider in Hong Kong to launch Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) residential broadband services. The service, which comes under the name FiberHome100, is seen as transforming the expensive FTTH technology into affordable mass-deployed residential service. Under the offering, HKBN will immediately offer residential FTTH broadband services ranging from 100Mbps to 1Gbps, namely, FiberHome100, FiberHome200 and FiberHome1000, at $48.5, $88.2 and $215.4 respectively. The company says it will also phase out the bb10 service (symmetric 10Mbps service), retaining only as entry service the bb25 (25Mbps symmetric service).

ò Colubris Networks Inc, the global provider of intelligent wireless LANs (WLANs) for enterprises and service providers, announced that PCCW IMS Limited (PCCW) has chosen Colubris' WLAN equipment to provide Wi-Fi services to commuters in the waiting and boarding areas of Hong Kong's subway system. Hong Kong's subway system, the MTR, serves more than 2. 5 million passengers daily and is one of the most heavily traveled mass transit systems in the world. To enable MTR patrons to benefit from Internet access, PCCW has installed Wi-Fi hotspots at selected MTR stations. PCCW says it will ultimately deploy hundreds of Colubris MultiService Access Points as the network expands to 16 MTR stations by the end of this year.
Singapore/Malaysia/Philippines/Indonesia

Mobile/Wireless
ò MiTV Corporation Sdn Bhd, the parent company of MalaysiaÆa newest mobile operator U Mobile Sdn Bhd (formerly MiTV Networks Sdn Bhd), announced its name change to U Telecom Media Holdings Sdn Bhd. The company says the change is aimed at reflecting the groupÆs plans to offer multiple technology-driven services, applications and content..

Software
ò US-based software development firm IdeaBlade announced that it has entered into a partnership with Gurango Software to help market and distribute the former's solution in Asia. Both companies produce software designed to run on top of Microsoft products. IdeaBlade is a pioneer .NET applications development firm and a leading provider of .NET tools and infrastructure for development of enterprise internet applications. Based in the Philippines, Gurango provides software and services to clients in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the US and Asia.

Semiconductors
ò US-based FormFactor says it will boost its wafer probe card manufacturing operations thanks to the creation of a facility in Singapore. The 300,000 square-foot facility is expected to boost the companyÆs manufacturing capacity. Form Factor says it will use the facility to improve its customer service and support infrastructure in Asia, which presently includes regional service and sales areas in Taiwan, Korea and Japan. The company says it will invest $200 million in the Singapore site, which it says was selected due to its expert workforce, which is a favorable environment for intellectual property or IP protection, and advantageous operating costs.
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