Tag Archives: China Unicom

China Unicom : latest financial, market & economic news and analysis from Doug Young

TELECOMS: China Mobile 4G Users Decline for First-Time

Bottom line: China Mobile’s first-ever drop in 4G subscribers in April owes to the company’s early arrival to the space, and reflects the broader market’s maturation that is also adding similar pressures to Unicom and China Telecom.

China Mobile 4G users takes first-ever dip

Much ado is being made about new data from the three big telcos that includes a first-ever drop in 4G subscribers for industry heavyweight China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL). This particular first seems to have been a long time coming, and really shouldn’t surprise anyone too much. The fact of the matter is that China’s mobile market has been nearing saturation for a while, and the nation’s big 3 telcos have been increasingly stealing customers from each other for the last two or three years as the number of unserved users dwindles.

The bigger question raised by this data is what the slowdown could mean over the longer term, when China Mobile and smaller peers Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU) and China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA) might see slow or negative growth in subscriber terms. The answer to that question is that this trio will be able to feast on their protected home market for many years to come, though they may be forced to innovate a bit more in order to get a tapped-out audience to keep paying more for services. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: More Proactive Stance Needed in Telco Fraud Fight

Bottom line: Chinese companies need to become more proactive in ending practices that harm consumers, or risk facing pressure from regulators and hurting their prospects for expansion abroad.

Telcos get tough with real name registration

A campaign requiring all mobile phone users to register with their real names was in the headlines for much of last week, in the latest step to curtail rampant phone fraud in China that has grabbed recent attention due to several high-profile cases. Notably, the real-name registration drive was led by 6 government ministries, rather than the nation’s 3 major wireless carriers whose networks are the primary platform for committing most of the fraud.

Both the government and carriers have known about this kind of fraud for years, but did little to aggressively tackle the problem until the recent wave of negative publicity. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: Huawei, New Cell Tower Firm on the Rise

Bottom line: Huawei’s ongoing surge should help to consolidate its position as China’s leading domestic smartphone brand, while a newly formed cell tower operator will relieve China’s 3 telcos of the burden of owning and operating such assets.

New cell tower operator takes shape

The telecoms space is buzzing on both the operator and consumer products sides, with surging smartphone maker Huawei and a new cell tower operator called China Tower both rising in the latest headlines. The higher profile of these 2 telecoms headlines has Huawei continuing its rise to become the world’s third largest smartphone brand, stealing the title from the fading Xiaomi. Meantime, all 3 of China’s big state-run telcos have come out with one of their simultaneous announcements saying they have formally transferred their cell tower assets to China Tower.

This pair of stories is quite different, but the bigger picture is one of trying to improve by becoming more efficient and diverse. In the case of Huawei the company is trying to leverage its long experience in making telecoms equipment to diversify into the consumer-oriented smartphone space. In the second case, China’s telecoms regulator is trying to improve efficiency among the nation’s 3 stodgy telcos by doing something that carriers in the west did on their own long ago. Read Full Post…

SMARTPHONES: New iPhone on Express Train to China

Bottom line: Apple is likely to log strong orders for its new iPhone 6S models, aided by its own strong reputation and aggressive promotions by China’s telcos for their new 4G service.

New iPhones on order in China

What a different 3 years makes. In that brief period China has transformed from ugly stepchild to a new Cinderella for gadget giant Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), whose newly announced iPhone 6S models will make one of their first global stops in the world’s largest smartphone market. That’s the word trickling out from China-based sources, which were leaking the information as Apple unveiled its latest iPhone models at a globally-watched event in California.

While most eyes were fixated on that launch for the new series of iPhones, China watchers were more focused on when the models will come to a market that is now Apple’s largest outside the US, and even briefly passed the US early this year. Apple’s China fans weren’t disappointed, with reports that the nation’s big 3 telcos would begin taking orders for the new iPhones just a day after the US launch event. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: Better Bosses Needed In Coming Telco Shuffle

Update: Since writing this post, China Telecom and Unicom have both announced that they will swap chairmen. Wang Xiaochu will resign from China Telecom and become head of Unicom, and Chang Xiaobing will resign from Unicom and become head of China Telecom. (Unicom announcement, China Telecom announcement)

Bottom line: A rumored shake-up in the top ranks of China’s big 3 telcos is long overdue, but will only be effective if Beijing installs experienced, marketing savvy managers rather than the usual government bureaucrats.

Leadership shuffle coming at big 3 telcos?

I was largely dismissive of the first reports to emerge last week of a brewing shake-up for the leadership at China’s big 3 telcos, saying the basis for the speculation didn’t seem too solid. But the chatter continued to gain momentum at the end of last week, leading me to change my view and predict that perhaps much-needed change is on the way and could be announced soon.

The buzz began when media first reported that the telecoms regulator had called a meeting last Friday of top leaders of China’s big 3 state-run telcos, China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL), China Unicom (HKEx: 763; NYSE: CHU) and China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA). (previous post) Now media are reporting that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has called another meeting for Monday, and some are citing unnamed sources saying that the main topic is a big leadership shuffle. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: China Mobile Finds Profit Growth, to Meet with Regulator

Bottom line: China Mobile’s return to profit growth is slightly encouraging but may be short-lived, while the MIIT isn’t likely to make any major new moves when it meets with China’s big 3 telcos on Friday.

Growth returns to China Mobile’s profit

After seeing its profits contract for the last few quarters, leading mobile carrier China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) finally wowed investors with an unexpected return to profit growth in its latest reporting quarter. But the euphoria was short-lived for China Mobile’s stock, which rose sharply after the report came out, only to give back all the gains by the end of the trading day. That would seem to show that investors are more worried about China Mobile’s top line revenue, which contracted during the quarter despite the profit growth.

At the same time, change could be coming soon for China Mobile and its 2 big state-run peers, China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA) and China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU), which have all been called to a meeting with the telecoms regulator on Friday. There are plenty of things the Ministry of Industry of Information Technology (MIIT) may want to discuss with these 3 slow-moving and bureaucratic telcos, but  at least one media is speculating the trio could be getting set for some top management changes. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: China Mobile Heeds Beijing’s Call With Salary Cuts

Bottom line: China Mobile’s latest salary reduction plan underscores that it and its 2 peers are just big state-run companies that act on orders from Beijing, with little to differentiate them from one another.

China Mobile slashes salaries

I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with China’s big 3 state-run telcos, partly because they lack any kind of originality or inspiration. About the only thing they know how to do is heed the call of Beijing, or sometimes protest orders they don’t like. Another thing they’re good at is launching promotions to try to steal business from each other in their highly protected market. But no one will ever accuse any of the trio or originality or innovation.

With that introduction, I’ll be quite direct and say that the latest news that leading telco China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) plans to slash salaries company-wide is just the same old behavior in response to a central government directive. That kind of directive comes regularly from Beijing, which recently has grown frustrated at China Mobile and its 2 peers, China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA) and China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU), for failing to innovate despite their control of the world’s largest telecoms market. Read Full Post…

INTERNET: Regulatory Toughness Needed Towards Alibaba, Telcos

Bottom line: China’s largest corporations need to face stiffer regulatory penalties to ensure their compliance with Beijing rules, as part of a campaign to clean up the country’s business climate.

More strictness needed in Alibaba, telco cases

Some of China’s leading high-tech firms were in the headlines last week for foot-dragging in response to government calls to change their business practices, in separate cases that show why Beijing needs to get more aggressive about enforcing its rules among big domestic corporations.

The first case saw e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) sued by one of the world’s top makers of luxury goods for allegedly refusing to clean up its popular sites of trafficking in pirated goods. The second saw critics accuse China’s 3 major mobile carriers of taking largely empty steps to improve their mobile data pricing and speeds, after Beijing called on them to take such action. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: China Telecom Sets Ambitious 4G Target

Bottom line: China could end 2015 with up to 450 million 4G subscribers, with telcos, 4G smartphone makers and mobile-focused Internet firms most likely to benefit from the massive migration.

China Telecom targets 100 mln 4G users

China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA) has just become the final of China’s big 3 telcos to announce an extremely aggressive subscriber target for its new 4G service, confirming my earlier prediction that the nation could end 2015 with as many as 450 million 4G users if everyone meets their goals. If they do reach those targets, it would represent a remarkable transformation that would see around one-third of the nation’s mobile users switching to 4G service by year end. That could provide a bonanza for not only the telcos, but also the smartphone makers and Internet service providers that would also benefit from such a mass migration. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: Management Shake-Up Dogs China Telecom

Bottom line: A new management shake-up at China Telecom could hint at a coming period of instability for the company, which could hamper its performance just as it gets set to launch commercial 4G service next year.

Management shake-up at China Telecom

I’ve been quite negative on China Unicom (HKEx: 763; NYSE: CHU) for quite a while now, as China’s second largest wireless carrier seems to be constantly undergoing new management reshuffles that have hobbled its performance since its creation 5 years ago through the merger of China’s 2 smallest telcos. But now the nation’s smallest wireless carrier China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA) is showing signs of similar issues, with word that the company is also undergoing its own management shake-up affecting a growing number of top provincial-level executives. Read Full Post…

TELECOMS – Unicom Aims High As 4G Era Draws Near

Bottom line: China could have as many as 400 million 4G subscribers by the end of next year, as the nation’s 2 smaller carriers join China Mobile in offering aggressive promotions starting in January.

4G to explode in 2015

After a period of relative quiet following the iPhone 6’s delayed China launch last month, we’re seeing a sudden flurry of news on the development of 4G service in China. None of the headlines are unexpected, but they do collectively point to a coming explosion in 4G service in 2015. Leading the headlines are reports that the telecoms regulator will give 4G licenses to China’s 2 smaller telcos, China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU) and China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA), by the end of this year. At the same time, another report is giving the latest national 4G figures, and yet another headline details Unicom’s aggressive 4G plans for 2015. Read Full Post…