Asia

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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