Deutsche Telekom investors like the idea of selling its US mobile business much more than shareholders in the putative buyer, with shares in Japan’s Softbank down almost as much as those of the German telecoms group are up this morning.

As Telecoms correspondent Dan Thomas writes, weekend reports revived the prospect of a bid for T-Mobile USA by Sprint, which is 80 per cent owned by Softbank, although without coming to any conclusions about whether it would happen this time. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Google will double its investment in a new data centre it is building in Taiwan as internet use in Asia rockets beyond what the US internet group predicted a few years ago when it first planned the site, one of its first two data centres in Asia.

The search company already invested $300m in the massive centre on a flat plain outside a city in central Taiwan, and says it will double that in the next stages of the data centre’s development. Read more


For the first time in eight years, almost the entire top management team at Samsung Electronics will present themselves on Wednesday before an audience of about 350 analysts and investors at Seoul’s Shilla Hotel.

The full-day event will feature addresses from eight executives, who will also take questions. Chairman Lee Kun-hee and his son, vice-chairman Jae-yong, will not be on stage – but this represents a rare opportunity for the audience to press senior figures about Samsung’s long-term strategy, writes Simon Mundy.

So what are the key questions surrounding the future of the world’s biggest technology company by sales? Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Rihanna gives away a personalised HTC phone on stage

How badly is smartphone maker HTC doing?

By many measures, very badly. October sales are down 13 per cent year on year. Revenue next quarter could be as low as NT$40bn, a third less than the same quarter last year and lower than analysts’ expectations. And after reporting its first ever quarterly operating loss as a company in the third quarter, it shows no sign of returning to profit in the fourth.

But one measure in particular, released today with its full third quarter results, shows the Taiwanese company’s travails — its accounts payable. That measures how long it is taking the company to pay its bills to its suppliers, who make the parts of its phones. Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Mishkin

Smartphone-maker HTC spent relatively little time at its launch event today bragging about the technical specs of its new flagship phone, the HTC One.

Instead, the Taiwanese company focused in on the phone’s redesigned user interface and new offerings — including a homescreen with live
content feeds, a camera app that automatically creates montages of a user’s pictures and video clips, and stereo speakers sounding halfway decent — that company designers say reflect how they see people using their phones to consume, create and share increasing quantities of content. Read more

HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, is the latest foreign investor lured to Myanmar and the potential of its growing consumer base, writes Sarah Mishkin and Gwen Robinson

What edge does HTC think it has against Samsung, its much larger competitor that already has big operations in the country? Perhaps the fact that, as it has done most notably in China, HTC’s phones are designed specifically for the local market, with an operating system capable of handling Myanmar’s alphabet, not something supported by most software.

 Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Asus sales rise to $3.8bn

Asustek’s latest results confirm that the Taiwan-based company has some reason to feel as optimistic as it does. Its tablet sales, both of the Nexus 7 and its other convertible tabs, are already doing well, and, looking forward, reviewers and analysts have been relative positive on the new Windows 8 devices it launched this week.

A few weeks ago, its competitor Acer reported an 11 per cent fall in revenue, and global PC shipments are down more than 8 per cent this quarter. For the third-quarter, however, Taiwan-based Asus said its sales were up 9.2 per cent year-on-year to NT$111bn ($3.8bn), slightly more than analysts had been expecting. Read more

Tech has had a rough week, between the worries surfacing about Microsoft’s Windows 8 and doubts about Apple’s newly unveiled iPad mini and disappointing second quarter results.

Those worries have taken their toll on supply chain companies and computer makers in Taiwan, for whom the fourth quarter is not shaping up to be the holiday-led recovery many hoped for.

 Read more

Sarah Mishkin

At least one Android maker is optimistic right now.

Asus, the Taiwan based company behind Google’s Nexus 7 tab, announced some very ambitious sales goals on Wednesday, predicting that the company will grow leaps and bounds ahead of the overall flat PC market – and could even beat Samsung to become the number one manufacturer of Android tablets.

With the rest of the industry predicting far more modest growth, can Asus really deliver?

 Read more

Robin Kwong

HTC has had an amazing run as it grew from anonymity to one of the top Android phonemakers. This has been reflected in its shipments, which have been record-breaking for the Taiwanese company for each of the last six quarters.

But is that run about to end, amid intensifying competition and a weak global economy? HTC said on Monday that it expects fourth-quarter shipments, and revenues, to be down slightly from the third quarter. Read more

Robin Kwong

Google announced on Wednesday that it is spending more than $200m to build its first proprietary data centres in Asia, a move that reflects the growth in demand for internet and cloud-based services in the region.

These are not, of course, Google’s first servers in Asia, though they are the first in the region where Google is publicly disclosing their locations. They will also be the first that Google will build from the ground up, from acquiring the land to designing the customised servers. Read more

Robin Kwong

If MiCloud had been launched this week in the US, it would have been just the latest entrant into the growing market of cloud-based services aimed at developers and small companies, a la Amazon’s Elastic Computing Cloud.

But the venture, a joint effort by MiTAC, one of the world’s biggest IT distribution and systems integrators, and Joyent, whose cloud services power LinkedIn, had its debut in Taiwan. There, it makes the claim of being the island’s first public cloud service. Read more