A week in tech

A summary of all the major tech stories in Asia this week broken down by country and sector.

A week in Japanese tech


- DoCoMo has started offering a live streaming video service through its 3G cellular phone system called FOMA. Roughly one year after launching trial services in May last year, FOMA has failed to attract strong demand.


- Japanese semiconductor firms to shift additional microchip capacity to China, which is becoming the global manufacturing base for household electronics goods. Firms including Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Sony will transfer their capacities for packaging and testing semiconductors to their plants in China.
- NEC and Matsushita establish JV in China to expand their 3G mobile handset business. Cosmobic Technology is capitalized at $8 million. NEC and Matsushita each hold a 47% stake, with the remaining 6% owned by Huawei Technologies. Cosmobic will secure software licenses from NEC and Matsushita and sublicense them to handset and semiconductor manufacturers.
- Rakuten offers new fee structure to Web site operators promoted in its virtual mall. Due to increasing sales volume at its virtual retailers, Rakuten has opted to revise its rental-fee structure, in which firms had been paying a fixed monthly rate of 50,000 yen, in favor of a variable fee structure.


- Hitachi to purchase the lionÆs share of IBMÆs hard-disk-drive business for $2.05 billion, buying the rest within three years. The two companies will transfer their hard-disk-drive operations to a new JV 70% owned by Hitachi and 30% owned by IBM. The deal provides an exit for IBM from its loss-making disk-drive business.
- Sony linking with NEC on plasma display panels. 120,000 flat-panel large television units were sold in Japan in 2001, with another 210,000 units expected in 2002.
Information Technology
- Japanese IT companies see rising orders for computer-based systems. Fujitsu, NEC, IBM Japan, and other information-related companies are benefiting from an increase in computer system investments. Large companies are attempting to streamline their operations, and a trend towards IT outsourcing is driving the trend.

A week in Korean tech


- LG Electronics to sell all of its KT exchangeable bonds in order to recover its investment in KT. W180.4 billion ($140.3 million) worth will be sold to LG Investment & Securities, and another W100 billion ($81.3) worth to Kookmin Bank.

- SK Telecom is pressured to divest its 11.34% stake in KT, as the Korean government, trade regulators, civic groups and even KT denounce its stake purchase as "deceptive" and "monopolistic." In May the Korean government sold off its entire 28.36% stake in KT in shares and exchangeable bonds to privatize the state-run telecom giant, while SK Telecom acquired an 11.34% stake in KT.


- The government continues to seek an overseas buyer for Hynix Semiconductor, and is confident that Micron Technologies still has interest in taking over Hynix. The Finance and Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister reiterated that Hynix does not have the means to survive on its own.

- Creditors of Hynix Semiconductor expected to control the board after it previously blocked a $4 billion sale to Micron Technology. Korea Exchange Bank and 12 other banks, owed more than $5 billion, should now be able to control the board at Hynix after securing an 80.65 percent stake by converting bonds to equity.

A week in Chinese tech


- LG.Philips Displays to expand the cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor market in Asia-Pacific.  The Hong Kong-formed joint venture between LG Electronics of South Korea and the Netherlands' Philips Electronics also expects to strengthen its 24% global market share as the CRT manufacturing industry for personal computer and television monitors begins to consolidate. 

- Legend Group procurement from Taiwan to increase by 50% in 2002 adding an 80% increase in notebook PC orders. The company will purchase a variety of products, including PC components, notebook PCs and digital cameras.

Information Technology

- Digital China plans for HK$200 million worth of acquisitions. Modeling IBMÆs shift from being a PC maker to the world's leading IT services provider, the company is looking for software companies with expertise in areas such as telecommunications, finance, insurance, brokerage and taxation applications. Digital ChinaÆs annual net profit rose 21% to HK$171.39 million ($22.0 million), partly due to the strength of its systems integration business, but its profit margin was under pressure.


- Alcatel completes the integration of its key mainland manufacturing operations with Alcatel Shanghai Bell (ASB), seven months after signing a memorandum of understanding with China's Ministry of Information Industry. ASB will form its main manufacturing, research and development arm in China.

Mobile / Wireless

- Mainland mobile phone handset manufacturers expected to enter United States market, according to Wavecom. The French wireless standards developer said Chinese manufacturers were already competing head-on with foreign handset makers in the domestic market and have the vision to enter the US market.

A week in Taiwan tech


- Taiwan's legislature allows foreign investors to hold up to a 49% stake in local telecommunications firms, up from the current ceiling of 20%. The bill's passage comes as part of Taiwan's commitment to free trade following its admission into the World Trade Organization last January.

Mobile / Wireless

- SK Telecom exports CDMA technology to APBW, a Taiwanese telecom company, for $500,000. Called CellPLAN, the wireless network design and optimization system helps to build a wireless network for CDMA 2000 1x and also functions with the asynchronous W-CDMA network.

- NTT DoCoMo to offer i-mode in Taiwan and Malaysia. KG Telecommunications of Taiwan will begin offering the Chinese version of the i-mode service, the cellular phone-based Internet service, in Taiwan in late June. NTT DoCoMo and Maxis Communications are expected to reach an agreement in early July to offer i-mode service in the Southeast Asian nation in a similar arrangement.

A week in Singapore / Malaysia tech


- China to establish its first overseas innovation center in Singapore to help its high-tech enterprises enter the international market. The establishment of the China Innovation Center for High Technology Enterprises in Singapore will help Chinese companies internationalize by providing them with a conducive and pro-business environment and by easing their start-up process.

Mobile / Wireless

- Maxis Communications launches Malaysia's biggest ever IPO, valuing the company at an estimated M$3.35 billion ($882 million). The company, Malaysia's largest and fastest-growing mobile telecom concern, is proposing to issue 652.34 million shares, or 26.62% of its enlarged paid-up capital. 420 million shares will be offered to institutional investors, with the remaining 232 million shares going to the Malaysian public. The company expects to post an after-tax profit of about M$925 million ($243.4 million) for the current financial year.

A week in Hong Kong tech

Life Sciences

- Cheung Kong shareholders to receive one new CK Life Sciences share for every 25 Cheung Kong shares held. The entitlement is offered to all transfers lodged with the Registrar not later than June 20. Cheung Kong chairman Li Ka-shing and the Li family trust announced in a company statement that they would not take up their entitlements.


- Asia Global Crossing receives at least two bids for its business before last FridayÆs deadline. China Netcom Group, the mainlandÆs second-largest fixed-line operator, submitted a proposal. Also expected to bid was Purple Communications, a recently formed company in Hong Kong .

- John Gokongwei in a deal valued at $925 million for First PacificÆs Philippine interests. The Philippine tycoon has reached an agreement with First Pacific of Hong Kong to form a JV to acquire the latterÆs telecommunications and property interests, which include stakes in PLDT and Bonifacio Land. The Gokongwei group will hold two-thirds of the joint venture, while First Pacific, controlled by Salim Group of Indonesia, will hold the balance.

Mobile / Wireless

- Hong Kong's wireless communications data services market to expand over the next five years, according to research firm Gartner. Hong Kong's handful of mobile communications network operators, despite their efforts to promote next-generation mobile data services, are experiencing market consolidation and limited growth in subscribers because of market maturity.

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: