Rakuten-Baidu E-Commerce Site to Break Up
Rakuten Inc, Japan's biggest e-commerce company, said it will terminate Rakuten.cn by the end of May, citing fiercer-than-expected local competition. The site is a Chinese online retailer Rakuten launched in partnership with Baidu Inc (Nasdaq: BIDU) in 2010. Rakuten's withdrawal also deals a blow to Baidu's plans to challenge major Chinese rivals such as Alibaba.com Ltd (HKG: 1688) and 360buy.com. Rakuten.cn captured a tiny 0.1% share of China's ¥240 billion B2C turnover in 2011, according to Analysys International.
China Mobile to Buy 6m 3G Phones
China Mobile Ltd (NYSE: CHL, HKG: 0941), the world's biggest wireless carrier by subscribers, said it will soon invite tenders for six million 3G-backed cellphones. Prospective bidders will be required to offer prototypes by May 15 and final products by July 15. China Mobile previously said it plans to sell 60 million handsets in 2012, 50% of them smartphones. Its Q1 net profit rose 3.5% year on year to ¥27.8 billion, lower than the ¥28.2 billion the market had expected.
CNOOC Announces Gas Discovery
CNOOC Ltd (NYSE: CEO, HKG: 0883), China's largest offshore oil and gas producer, said it has discovered a gas reserve in the South China Sea that is capable of rolling out 42.4 million cubic feet of natural gas daily. CNOOC said last week it found a block in the Bohai region capable of producing seven million barrels of crude oil per day, the biggest discovery since 2010.
Suning to Spend ¥1b on Online Sales
Suning Appliance Co (SHE: 002024), China's largest chain store by revenue, will invest as much as ¥1 billion building an operating center in Nanjing, Jiangsu's provincial capital, for its e-commerce platform. Suning.com, which went up online in 2010, aims to generate ¥30 billion in revenues this year before surging to ¥300 billion by 2020.
ZTE Looks to Higher Margin
ZTE Corp (SHE: 000063, HKG: 0763), China's second largest telecom device maker, said it hopes to reverse falling profitability in its cellphone manufacturing business and double its global sales of smartphones to 15 million units this year. Its consumer electronics' share of total revenue is expected to increase from 40% to 50% by 2015, executive director He Shiyou said. ZTE is struggling to crack the US market over web security concerns.
Lenovo to Pour ¥17b Into Wuhan
Lenovo Group Ltd (HKG: 0992), China's biggest personal computer maker, will invest ¥16.7 billion in Wuhan in the next three years developing and manufacturing mobile internet products.
$1 = ¥6.3