Permalink 11:09:11 am, by dacare, 312 words, 11 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Chip maker targets China's middle class

MediaTek Inc, a Taiwan-based mobile chip maker, is aiming at China's growing middle class for increased sales of mid-price smartphones and wearable devices.

"The current market structure is about to change dramatically because of the enlarging middle class population and weaker phone subsidies from carriers," said Johan Lodenius, chief marketing officer of MediaTek.

He estimated the number of users of mid-price smartphones in the market is set to triple in coming years as the global middle class nudges up to near 5 billion by 2030.

More than 65 percent of the population will come from China and other Asia Pacific economies, doubling from less than one-third in 2009.

Looking forward, the company will focus on more affordable mid-price devices, Lodenius said.

"Higher than $700 phone products are so expensive for customers," he said.

Wearable devices powered by MediaTek chips are likely to be released later this year.

The company expects to release the world's first eight-core LTE smartphone chip in the third quarter.

China is the world's largest smartphone market followed by the US, and shipped close to 300 million smart devices last year, according to Wu Lianfeng, associate vice-president of International Data Corp China.

The Chinese market will see explosive growth in smartphone and tablet sales this year, primarily through telecom operator and online channels, according to the IDC.

MediaTek has been known as a low-end mobile chip maker. It was the world's third-largest maker of chips in 2013 by shipment, following Qualcomm Inc and Broadcom Corp from the United States.

The company shipped more than 600 million smartphone chips in 2013, including 350 million for featured phones and the rest for smartphones and tablets.

Less than a month before MediaTek unveiled its attempt to enter a higher-end market, Intel Corp, maker of high-speed x86-based chips, announced it will provide cheaper products for Chinese original equipment manufacturers.

The move was believed to position the US company to gain market share.

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Permalink 01:47:00 pm, by dacare, 109 words, 18 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Microsoft to seal takeover of Nokia's handset business

Microsoft will complete its acquisition of Nokia's handset business this Friday, according to a Microsoft's statement, thus ushering a new chapter for Nokia.

In total, Microsoft will wrap up 5.4 billion euro ($7.5 billion) for the takeover this coming Friday.

"The completion of this acquisition follows several months of planning and will mark a key step on the journey towards integration," Microsoft said in Monday's statement.

Industry-watchers believe that this deal could open "a new chapter" for Nokia, rather than closing the book on the company.

With its market share greatly eroded, Nokia, once a giant of mobile phone business, fell victim of intense competition from its rivals Apple and Samsung.

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Permalink 11:01:36 am, by dacare, 170 words, 15 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Jobless rate 5.17 pct in march, survey says

China's polled unemployment rate in March was 5.17 percent, slightly lower than in February, said Li Pumin, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, on Wednesday.

It was the first reference to the jobless rate since Premier Li Keqiang mentioned it in an article in the Financial Times in September.

Traditionally, the government publicizes the urban registered unemployment rate. That number has long been criticized as a biased and deflated one. It also has rarely changed, staying at about 4.1 percent since 2010.

As an alternative, the government has administered a monthly survey in 65 major cities. The number is currently available only to policymakers and has not been made public.

Premier Li said in September that China's polled unemployment rate was 5 percent for the first half of 2013. Li Pumin did not elaborate on what the number was in February this year.

Citing the low unemployment and moderate inflation rates, Li Pumin said the economy is stable and healthy. As a result, the government does not foresee having to roll out stimulus measures.

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Permalink 03:58:30 pm, by dacare, 86 words, 28 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Toyota sells more than 10 million vehicles globally in FY 2013

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that its global group sales in fiscal 2013 gained 4.5 percent from the previous year to 10,133,000 units, becoming the first automaker whose annual sales topped 10 million units.

According to the corporation, the upbeat sales in the one-year period towards March were partly boosted by strong performances in North Korea and China. The consumption sales tax hike from April 1 also stimulated last-minute buying in domestic market.

The automaker also projects its group vehicle sales will total 10.32 million units in the next fiscal year.

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Permalink 02:21:53 pm, by dacare, 264 words, 33 views   English (US)
Categories: Banking & Financial Services

ZTE banks on patents to expand

ZTE Corp, a leading Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone manufacturer, aims to increase its presence in international markets and establish itself as a multinational firm through boosting the number of its patents.

"We've made the development of intellectual property rights our company's core strategy, especially when expanding to overseas markets," said Guo Xiaoming, vice-president of the company, which is based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Guo said that if a company doesn't have a solid foundation in intellectual property rights, it will be very difficult to establish itself in overseas markets, especially in matured markets such as the United States and Europe.

"We've been putting the development of intellectual property rights on top of our company's agenda. We've also been investing heavily in research and development," he told a media briefing on Monday.

Guo said ZTE invests about 10 percent of its annual sales on research and development every year. It has injected more than 40 billion yuan ($6.42 billion) on R&D over the past five years.

According to a report from the World Intellectual Property Organization in March, ZTE filed 2,309 Patent and Cooperation Treaty applications in 2013, becoming the world's second largest patent filer.

Panasonic Corp of Japan – with 2,881 published applications — was the top applicant last year. ZTE was the top applicant in 2011 and 2012, while Panasonic headed the applicants' list in 2009 and 2010.

Rather than the quantity of patents, Guo said ZTE eyes their quality.

"The cost of filing a patent in Western countries is quite high — usually 50,000 to 80,000 yuan for each application. We only file those inventions that have the biggest potential in monetization," he said.

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Permalink 01:43:43 pm, by dacare, 618 words, 56 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Weibo makes debut on Nasdaq

Weibo Corp, Twitter Inc's counterpart in China, made its debut on the Nasdaq in the United States on Thursday, becoming the first publicly traded Chinese social media company.

The micro-blogging service, owned by Sina Corp and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, priced its initial public offering at $17 per share, which was at the bottom of its planned range between $17 and $19. It opened unchanged at the issue price.

The Beijing-based company, which began trading publicly under the ticker WB, said it hopes to sell 16.8 million Class-A American depositary shares, less than its original plan of selling 20 million shares.

The IPO would allow Weibo to raise up to $328.44 million in capital. Twitter Inc raised $1.8 billion from its IPO in November 2013.

Charles Chao, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Sina Corp, said the setting of any IPO price is based on demand and supply in the stock market.

"Because of the recent downturn of the IPO market in the US, we are happy that we can still set Weibo's IPO price at the bottom of our initial targeted range," Chao said at an online media briefing to a group of reporters on Thursday night Beijing time, ahead of the IPO.

Weibo, which reported a monthly active user base of 144 million as of March this year, first filed for its IPO on March 14, joining seven other Chinese Internet companies seeking capital in the US. That doesn't include China's e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, which is approaching a highly anticipated IPO in the US.

Alibaba agreed a year ago to buy a 19 percent stake in Weibo for $586 million and plans to exercise an option to raise that stake to 32 percent.

Weibo was established in 2009. The company has only been profitable in the fourth quarter of 2013. The company reported a net loss of $47.4 million in the first quarter of this year. This is more than twice the $19.2 million loss it posted in the same quarter last year.

Revenues of $67.5 million in the first quarter of this year were more than double the previous year's, but they fell about 5.5 percent from the previous quarter. The company attributed the shrinking revenues to the seasonal effects of the Chinese Lunar New Year, saying the performance was in line with its expectations.

Analysts worried that Wall Street investors may not be as enthusiastic about Weibo as they were about Twitter's IPO five months ago.

Tian Hou, chief analyst with T. H. Capital LLC, an independent research and investment advisory firm, said it was no surprise Weibo failed to reach its initial target of raising $500 million as it suggested it would in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

"The primary reason is the downturn of the overall stock market in the US. Many US-listed Internet companies, such as China's e-commerce company Vipshop Holdings Ltd and China's search giant Baidu Inc, saw their share prices drop in recent weeks," Tian said.

Wang Xiaofeng, an analyst with US-based consultancy Forrester Research Inc, said Weibo missed the best time to go public because of the changing dynamic in the Internet industry in China, which has seen more powerful competitors emerging over the past year.

"We are all aware that it has been 'beaten up' by Tencent Holdings Ltd's WeChat, which is the most popular messaging app in China's mobile Internet sector," she said.

According to Wang, the two platforms differ in their potential for public broadcasting and promotional use, to which Weibo is currently better suited.

"The biggest challenge for Sina Weibo therefore is finding a way to increase the targeting ability of its current advertising and provide more effective marketing offerings to marketers before they find alternative social platforms on which to market or before user activity drops further," she said.

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