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 Japan tech

Mobile / Wireless

- Au Group has amassed over one million subscribers for its 3G mobile phones in three months. Of the one million handsets, more than 800,000 were sold in Korea, and about 100,000 in Japan.

- Moody slashes Motorola Credit Ratings by Two Levels to æBaa2Æ, citing lackluster demand for its communications equipment. Any further downgrade will force Motorola to provide collateral on one credit facility and the possible repayment of bank credit line. Motorola currently has about $6 billion in cash.

Semiconductors

- NECÆs purchase of Taiwan tech products is to reach Y220 billion ($1.83 billion) in 2002, representing a 10% increase from last year. Furthermore, NEC will outsource the manufacturing of its network-related products as well as its PCs in a bid to reduce production costs.

Venture Capital / Investments

- American TV station CNBC and General Electric Equity acquired a 2.99% stake in Television Tokyo Channel 12 Ltd., marking the first time a U.S. TV network has invested in a Japanese terrestrial TV station. The two U.S. companies purchased the shares from Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., Television TokyoÆs top shareholder, for about Y1.8 billion ($15 million).

Hardware

- NEC, Hitachi, and others team up to develop TRON-compatible chips and software for advanced digital home electronics. The joint project, with 22 partners, will aim to establish TRON as an industry standard for operating systems used in digital home electronics.

A week in Korean tech

e-Commerce

- E-Commerce is predicted to account for 30% of total trading by 2005, according to a report form the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. This is up from the current 8.8% level.

Internet

- Terra LycosÆs stake in Lycos Korea was sold to SK Telecom for $10 million. After the deal, SK Telecom and Mirae, a Korean semiconductor testing equipment manufacturer, will each hold a 43.25% stake in Lycos Korea.

Venture Capital / Investment

- Business fund-raising has increased considerably in the first quarter of 2002, with local companies raising W23.5 trillion in funds. This is a considerable increase from the W10.1 trillion raised during Q4 2001.

A week in China tech

Life Sciences

- Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University and Tsinghua University create six 'virtual humans' for Medical Use. æVirtual humansÆ are digitized human models created based on anatomical and physiological information gathered from real humans. The ævirtual humansÆ are expected to be used in three or four years for clinical diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

- Experts from the biotech periodical Nature claim that China is set to become the major driving force in the biotechnology industry in Asia, with its strong pharmaceutical research and the largest pharmaceutical market in Asia.

Mobile / Wireless

- China green-lights 3G development by Siemens and Datang, its Chinese partner. The network will be based on the TD-SCDMA standard.

- China Unicom Ltd. Reduces CDMA subscriber estimates for the second time since January. The current estimates stand at 4 million CDMA network subscribers in the third quarter, with fourth quarter figures to be announced before Sept. 30. The company is standing by its strategy of pursuing higher-end CDMA users, despite deepening market skepticism.

- Telecom software provider AsiaInfo looks to expand as fixed-line carriers lock horns. In anticipation of increased demands as ChinaÆs two major fixed-line companies target each otherÆs customers, AsiaInfo plans to expand its business into finance, insurance and power sectors.

Software

- Microsoft to invest $750 million in China over the next three years, marking the largest foreign software venture ever in the country. The money will go towards the development of education, training and manufacturing facilities in China, as well as in local Chinese software companies.

Semiconductors

- China Resources chipping into semiconductors. Red-chip China Resources Logic looks to become a major microchip manufacturer for consumer electronics products in the mainland by acquiring a semiconductor manufacturer in Wuxi by the end of the year

Venture Capital / Investments

- 50 private equity funds join hands to form the China Venture Capital Association in an attempt to stave off corruption and increase clout with the Chinese government. The association is modeled after the National Venture Capital Association in the U.S.

- Legend Group Holdings Co. and APL Logistics have teamed up for a joint venture to provide supply chain services for ChinaÆs IT businesses.

Information Technology

- IT is now China's Leading Export. The IT industry's exports totaled $65 billion, or 24% of ChinaÆs total exports, in 2001. The industryÆs added value also accounted for 4.2% of China's gross domestic product in 2001.

A week in Taiwan tech

Internet

- Eastern Multimedia and Yaw Jenq Technology sign deal to set up a city-wide wireless network in Taipei, making it the first time Eastern Multimedia has provided access to its cable television infrastructure to a third party.

A week in Singapore / Malaysia tech

Life Sciences

- Singapore is top dog in Asian biotech investment, according to a report from the Asia Private Equity Review. To date, the Singaporean government has poured more than $700 million into biotech funds, including S$1 billion ($568 million) in the Biomedical Sciences Investment Fund and $120 million in other initiatives such as the Bio Innovation Fund and the Pharm Bio Growth Fund.

Venture Capital / Investments

- Soletron-owned ECS to expand by buying out China and Thai subsidiaries. ECS, an IT services provider, will issue 35 million new shares at 70 Singapore cents apiece to help fund the purchases of PCI-SLR Technology, its Chinese subsidiary, and The Value System, its Thai unit. The deal, which is expected to be completed by August, will give ECS full ownership of its two subsidiaries.

A week in Hong Kong tech

Life Sciences

- CK Life Sciences will develop HIV drugs, in addition to its fertilizer products. The GEM listing candidate has begun research and development of treatments of life-threatening diseases, focusing on HIV/Aids and different types of cancer.

Venture Capital / Investments

- Hong Kong's IPO market to see more second half activity, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The firm expects HK$84.5 billion in IPOs, compared to 1H02's HK$5.5 billion.

- The Government's flagship HK$12 billion Science Park opened, after Dutch electronics giant Philips pledged to occupy nearly a whole building for research and development from next year.

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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