Sarah Mishkin

Acer, the Taiwanese computer company, has struggled for a while to sell enough computers to stay profitable, but investors still found room for disappointment in its most recent results.

Shares were down nearly 4 per cent in Taipei today after management spoke with analysts and the media to explain its second quarter operating loss of NT$613m and its 19 per cent year on year fall in revenue to NT$89.4bn. Read more

A South Korean website has unearthed trademark and patent filings by Samsung regarding a possible smartwatch. That’s a reminder that – while Samsung and Apple squabble over old intellectual property – they will soon have a whole new set of designs to fight over.

In the drawings, Samsung’s device looks like a smartphone bent round a wrist. Unlike similar products from Sony, LG and Pebble, it has a flexible screen rather than the familiar usual strap. Read more

Anyone who has surfed the web in places like Marrakech or Jakarta knows that internet speed in many developing countries leaves much to be desired.

But a report published this week by internet company Akamai shows that a good number of those countries are catching up.

 Read more

Just a few weeks ago, Foxconn was apologising profusely for poor performance as rival contract manufacturer Pegatron was riding high on reports that it had won out over Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturer, for a contract to make Apple’s upcoming cheaper version of its iPhone.

Things have changed. Now it’s Pegatron’s shares that are falling, battered by local reports that it is will not get as many orders as initially forecast, with Foxconn getting them instead.

 Read more

The most interesting nugget in Yahoo’s second-quarter earnings presentation is arguably not the web portal company’s own performance; but rather that of Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce company in which Yahoo holds a 24 per cent stake.

With Alibaba gearing up for its highly anticipated initial public offering, the eye-popping numbers revealed on Tuesday by Yahoo are a must read for any potential investors.

 Read more

India has overtaken Japan to become the world’s third largest market for smartphones, joining China and the US on the podium.

In some ways, it’s unsurprising. With a population of over a billion people India is bound eventually to be among the largest markets for pretty much anything. What is interesting is how Indians are using their phones – and the local handset makers that are seeing lightning fast growth.

 Read more

Who’s buying?

PC companies just can’t get a break.

Shipments from the Taiwanese manufactures that make most of the world’s desktop and laptop computers hit a three-year low last quarter as consumers waited for fixes to Windows and decided to buy tablets and smartphones in the meantime. For those Taiwanese companies, those disappointing stats are one more reminder of the need to diversify away from their core PC business.

 Read more

It’s not just Apple that can generate sales buzz in China for new devices. A couple of weeks on from Amazon’s Kindle launch in China, and the new e-reading devices are becoming hot properties.

The company told beyondbrics in an email that the two Kindle tablets were sold out “almost immediately” and customers are leaving their contact information for the waiting list to be next in line for new stocks.

 Read more

As India’s IT sector looks to new markets for growth, the country’s fourth largest IT company, Wipro, has announced that it will pay $30m for a minority stake in the privately held Opera Solutions, a US organisation that works in predictive and prescriptive data analytics.

That translates into helping companies use data to manage costs, risks and other areas of the business. It’s a high-value element of the IT sector that many Indian companies are trying to expand into as growth in other services has tailed off.

 Read more

HTC, the bealguered Taiwanese phonemaker, expects sales to jump over 60 per cent between first and second quarter. That’s quite an uplift, and certainly better than last quarter, when sales significantly missed expectations, driving down its first quarter profits to record lows.

What’s behind the change? Well, it helps to have a flagship phone to sell.

 Read more

Robin Kwong

The rise of the chat apps continues. Japan’s Line now has 150m registered users, up from 100m at the beginning of this year, Asahi reports. That’s pretty impressive growth.

The volume of messages sent using apps such as Line, Tencent’s Wechat and Apple’s iMessage have already outstripped traditional texting at the end last year, and will double the volume of SMS by the end of the year. Whatsapp, which says it has 200m monthly active users, is as big as Twitter. Read more

Shares in Sina Corp, the Nasdaq-listed Chinese online media group, rose nearly 21 per cent during trading on Monday after the company said it had agreed to sell 18 per cent of Weibo, its Twitter-like micro-blogging service, to Alibaba Group for $586m. The two came close to a similar deal five months ago. Now they have tied the knot.

 Read more

Apple may be souring the market with its unimpressive forecasts, but not all the suppliers who rely on the US tech group for orders are suffering.

Shares in Largan Precision, a Taiwanese lens maker, gained 7 per cent on Friday after it reported stronger than anticipated earnings for the last quarter and, against expectations, forecast more growth ahead. Its secret? Growth of other brands has been strong enough to offset Apple. That’s a change from the days when Apple was component companies’ key driver of growth.

 Read more

Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.

The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.

“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more

Indian makers of tablet computers are elbowing their way into the domestic market, which is expected to expand rapidly in the next few years, writes Avantika Chilkoti

Although Samsung and Apple feature strongly in the Indian tablet market, figures from the International Data Corporation, an information technology research company, show India’s two leading domestic manufacturers have grabbed a market share of more than 20 per cent.

 Read more

The Google Glass isn’t even on sale yet but it may already have a Chinese competitor, writes Henry Mance.

Baidu, the company that now dominates Chinese internet search after Google’s partial retreat in 2010, has said it is developing its own “ocular wearable interface”, provisionally called the Baidu Eye, which will allow wearers to take pictures, and search using voice and images. Read more

Having now read Tim Cook’s letter of apology to Chinese consumers, I think the Apple chief executive has rather deftly achieved his objective – a public act of contrition – without admitting that his company did anything wrong.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

Michael Dell is ready to tear up the PC model on which he built his business in order to claw back market share lost to Asian rivals such as Lenovo and Asus.

The new high-stakes strategy is revealed in Dell’s 274-page proxy filing released on Friday and is likely to shake up competition in the ailing PC industry. Dell would switch from the build-to-order bespoke PCs that made its name to the “build-to-stock” model of more generic PCs made by its rivals that anticipate demand and are built before a purchaser has been identified.

 Read more

HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, has been fighting to turn around its plunging sales by learning a lesson or two from Apple. First: spend on branding, which Apple does well and HTC does not. Second: don’t ship scratched phones, which Apple did when it first launched the iPhone 5.

To the dismay of investors and consumers, the launch of HTC’s newest smartphone has been delayed. The reason has been the difficulty producing the phone’s camera and metal back — compounded, says its marketing chief, by a desire to avoid Apple’s error and waste his newly-enlarged ad budget by annoying buyers with scuffed gadgets.

 Read more

Already the third-largest online user base in the world, India has the potential to double its economic contribution from the internet in the next three years.

India could see a surge in the internet’s role in the economy from 1.6 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2011, to up to 3.3 per cent in 2015, putting it near developed countries on this measure, according to a McKinsey report.

 Read more