- Japan's Renesas Technology hopes to double sales in the mainland market to $1 billion within two years, helped by demand for its mobile phone and consumer electronics chips. The world's No. 3 semiconductor manufacturer, a chip-making joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric, expects as much as $500 million in sales to Chinese electronics firms this year.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
- Sega Corp. lifted its earnings outlook because of better-than-expected results at its amusement-equipment and consumer-software businesses. The company sharply raised its expectations for group net profit during the first half ended Sept. 30th to ¥5.7 billion ($52.1 million) from ¥200 million ($1.8 million). In the year-earlier period it posted net profit of ¥1.0 billion ($9.1 million).
- Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and the Telecommunications Satellite Corporation of Japan have developed a device that enables mobile television terminals to upgrade their built-in software so they can automatically correct distorted images. The upgraded software will be transmitted via broadcast waves or local area network and cell phone waves into the microchips of car TVs and TV-attached cell phones. Commercialization of the device is targeted as early as 2005, now that the device has been reduced in size enough to be incorporated into mobile equipment.
- Konami Corp., aiming to increase its global market share, will strengthen its content planning and production by expanding its operations to Los Angeles. The video game maker reported that Los Angeles will become the base for Konami's global computer & video games business. Konami Digital Entertainment will focus on the areas of global product brand growth strategies, business development and licensing activities.
Mobile / Wireless
- NTT DoCoMo Inc. is working on a future mobile phone device that uses human fingers as part of its terminal. The wristwatch-type Finger Whisper, being developed by the company's Multimedia Laboratories, is one of several ambitious R&D activities that Japan's top mobile phone service operator is pushing in its quest to develop ultimate wireless technologies in the era of ubiquitous information society. The Finger Whisper user will put his forefinger into his ear. Part of the terminal's belt works as a vibration converter, transmitting voice sound received to the user's ear through his hand and finger bones. A microphone fit into the belt picks up the user's voice. The phone call can be ended by quickly touching the forefinger and thumb together.
- NTT DoCoMo Inc. is looking for partners to launch its i-mode mobile-phone service in the United Kingdom, the first public signs of a split between NTT DoCoMo and Hutchison 3G U.K., the mobile operator in which it holds a 20% stake. Hutchison 3G U.K. still intends to use i-mode in the U.K. and is in discussions with NTT over the business model and technology.
- Samsung Electronics Co. third-quarter net income rose nearly 7%, boosted by a surge in sales of mobile phones and increasing demand for its semiconductors. The company which also makes consumer electronics such as flat-panel displays, plasma television sets and home-networking devices, reported net profits for the quarter totaling 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion), up from 1.7 trillion won ($1.5 billion) a year earlier. Sales jumped 15% to 11.3 trillion won ($9.6 billion) from 9.8 trillion won ($8.4 billion).
- The $2 billion China was reported to be spend annually on its space program is expected to benefit the country in developing new technology. The biggest advances are expected to come in the field of electronics, along with new types of computer software and hardware. Gains will also come in satellite technology, particularly for use by China's military.
Mobile / Wireless
- China Unicom, with a reputation for billing problems and poor network coverage and aggressive competition by low-cost rival, is struggling to sell phones for its CDMA network in Guangdong. As a wealthy province, Guangdong is central to the company's plan of breaking even in providing the services nationwide by the end of this year. Unicom's other CDMA networks in Liaoning, Shandong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, and in Shanghai and Beijing, all have already broken even.
- Shenzhen Zhongxing Telecom, one of China's top telecommunications handset makers, is in talks for a new round of handset sales to China Unicom. ZTE's target of selling Unicom 500,000 handsets in the first half of next year matches its entire sales to the carrier this year, reflecting Unicom's accelerated direct purchasing of handsets in China's fiercely competitive mobile-phone market.
- Motorola Inc. is to produce television sets by hiring a Hong Kong company to build video products under its name. Motorola formed an alliance with Proview International Holdings Inc., a Hong Kong manufacturer of computer monitors, to produce flat-panel screens, televisions and other products under the Motorola brand. Proview annually makes about six million computer monitors, a third of which are flat-screen types, giving it about a 5% share of the world market. About half of its monitors are sold under its own name, chiefly via mass merchandisers in the U.S. and Europe. The rest are sold to other manufacturers who distribute them under their own brand.
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: