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Smartphone market outlook and the MediaTek Helio X10 based Xiaomi Redmi Note 2/Prime launched for $125, $140 and $156

Let’s start with an extremely good presentation video by Mrwhosetheboss:

And an actual experience video from Chinese sources (finished by comparing to iPhone 6):

Aug 16, 2015, Xiaomi Today: Xiaomi sold 800,000 Redmi Note 2 phones in 12 hours

Note that Xiaomi has already been the top Chinese company tracked here:
Dec 12, 2012UPDATE Aug’13: Xiaomi $130 Hongmi superphone END MediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA is available for Android smartphones and tablets of Q1 delivery
Aug 1, 2013Xiaomi, OPPO and Meizu–top Chinese brands of smartphone innovation
Aug 30, 2013Assesment of the Xiaomi phenomenon before the global storm is starting on Sept 5
Sept 5, 2013Xiaomi announcements: from Mi3 to Xiaomi TV
June 12, 2014Xiaomi’s global offensive with Hugo Barra in charge is threatening Apple—with 10.4 million smartphones sold in China it had already outsold Apple in Q1’14, having “just” 9 million iPhones sold there from which we must at least understand the market situation in China upto  Q1 2014 as the reference for the Xiaomi’s progress presented here:

With the Q3 2015 Redmi Note 2/Prime advancement Xiaomi will kill the much hoped (by some stock market analysts) incremental opportunities for the $199 Apple iPhone 6 and $299 iPhone 6 Plus in China and throughout the world. And recall that those were announced 11 months ago as “The Biggest Advancements in iPhone History

China smartphone market Q2 2015 by IHS Technology -- 23-July-2015

This report is similar to later Canalys findings: Xiaomi 15.9%, Huawei 15.7%, and Apple #3. But for the rest: #4 Samsung, #5 vivo. Globally Xiaomi became the #2 Chinese smartphone brand in Q2 2015 according to TrendForce with 5.9% market share, the #1 Huawei having 7.6%, but first time surpassing Lenovo, as well as continuing to distance itself from TCL (Alcatel) and OPPO. Similar to data from Counterpoint Research. See Chinese OEMs Rule. Considering Huawei’s aggressive push since 2011, when Xiaomi devices started in China, Xiaomi’s global achievement is a very remarkable feat.  

Why? Because being in the smartphone device business for just 4 years Xiaomi has already been on or around the top in China for the last 12 months, as well as has launched an impressive global march.

That global sales campaign has been going on in Asia, Russia and Turkey so far, but it is now expanding to Latin America with new model launching in Brazil [CCTV America YouTube channel, July 14, 2015]: “The world’s third largest smartphone maker is taking a different approach in its plans for global domination. Instead of looking to expand in the obvious markets like the U.S. and Europe, Xiaomi is looking to South America. CCTV’s Paulo Cabral filed this report from Sao Paulo.”

And it is not difficult to foresee a huge global success for the company as in India Xiaomi became “the 5th biggest seller of phones in the country, a feat accomplished in only 8 months“: Smartphone company Xiaomi expanding to India and beyond [CCTV America YouTube channel, March 20, 2015]
And now 
China’s Xiaomi Begins Making Smartphones in India [Voice of America, Aug 14, 2015]: “Xiaomi’s Redmi2 Prime smartphone [NOT the Note 2 one], priced at about $110, began rolling out from a factory in Sri City in southern Andhra Pradesh state this week. … entered the Indian market just a year ago, but since then price conscious consumers have snapped up 3 million phones.

Also this all happened after “The Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi, held a second flash sale of its new 4.7″ Redmi 1S [at $110/699 RMB almost of the same price level as this year’s $125/799 RMB Redmi Note 2on Tuesday [Sept 9, 2014], after selling out in just four seconds a week ago.“: Chinese smartphone Xiaomi competes with Apple [CCTV America YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

from which I will include the following Q2 CY2014 market share slide for China here:
Xiaomi - Q2 CY2014 smartphone market share for China by Canalys -- 9-Sept-2014
as this position of being “on the top or around it” has been kept by Xiaomi ever since. 

Then we should not forget what only 8 months ago was introduced as Xiaomi launches MiNote, a new iPhone competitor [CCTV America YouTube channel, Jan 15, 2015]: “The tech world is abuzz about Chinese tech company Xiaomi’s bid to compete with Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun unveiled the MiNote and MiNote Pro [at $313/1999 RMB and $391/2499 RMB a kind of twice as expensive predecessors to the new Redmi Note 2/Prime] on Thursday, both are cheaper than similar iPhone models. CCTV’s Xia Cheng reported this story from Beijing.

Finally we should look at the new specification comparisons by GSMinsider: Xiaomi - Redmi Note 2 vs iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus – Specs Comparison -- 14-Aug-2015

With that Xiaomi will kill Samsung high-end opportunities as well.

Let’s look first at the quite drastic decline of the Samsung smartphone business for the last year and a half (data from Strategy Analytics as it’s been represented in the Apple and Huawei move on Samsung article of July 30, 2015 from Telecom.com, with the vendor rankings in the table according to the latest quarter, i.e. Q2 2015): Strategy Analytics - Global Smartphone Share -- Q1 2014 - Q2 2015
Note that Coolpad (Yulong) and ZTE are also globally represented Chinese brands, not mentioned so far in this article.

Which unit-wise looks like as follows (in millions):Strategy Analytics - Global Smartphone Shipments -- Q1 2014 - Q2 2015

Then I can again refer to Samsung-related high-end specification comparisons produced by GSMinsider: Xiaomi - Redmi Note 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – Specs Comparison -- 14-Aug-2015
And don’t be fooled with the Qualcomm Snadragon 805 and 801 SoCs used by Samsung in these 2014 vintage devices as Samsung itself abandoned Qualcomm as an SoC supplier for its 2015 devices:Xiaomi - Redmi Note 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Specs Comparison -- 14-Aug-2015

CINNO Research - Q1 2015 China Smartphone Rear Camera Pixel Share -- 12-April-2015Note: Such Samsung move of abandoning the Qualcomm Snadragon 805 and 801 SoCs in its latest high-end products is not an accident but a hard-pressed necessity. The octa-core Qualcomm Snadragon 810 replacing the 805/801 had serious thermal throttling problems, and the Chinese brands were starting to use other octa-cores, among them the quite competitive MediaTek Helio X10. See the following Q1 2015 technology landscape presentation composed of the graphical views from the April 12 and April 24 reports by CINNO Research (in addition to the camera related view on the right):CINNO Research - Q1 2015 China Smartphone Display and CPU Technologies -- 12-24-April-2015

And software-wise Xaomi is already 5 years in the smartphone business with a lot of quite enthusiastic supporters for its Android based Mi User Interface throughout the world. The MIUI 5th Anniversary: Greetings From MIUI Fans From All Over The World testimonial video from the MIUI ROM YouTube channel dated August 12, 2015 is stating that: “MIUI is one of the most popular Android ROMs in the world. It is based on Android, featuring a rich user experience and user customizable themes. MIUI is updated every Friday based on feedback from its users. Now with over 100 million users and 34 MIUI fan sites worldwide, MIUI is the choice of many Android users globally.

What kind of “much hoped incremental opportunities (by some stock market analysts) for Apple” I was talking about?

From India Will Overtake US to Become World’s Second Largest Smartphone Market by 2017 [July 1, 2015] by Strategy Analytics the following chart has been produced for Dazeinfo’s Global Smartphone Sales 2015 – 2017: India Will Surpass The US [July 1, 2015] report: Strategy Analytics - Dazinfo - Global Smartphone Sales Forecast 2015 - 2017 -- 1-July-2015That chart has been used by  in his Why Apple’s Growth-Related Fears Are Overblown [Aug 12, 2015] article on Seeking Alpha for its final argument that:

the market sees China as imperative to Apple’s future growth outlook and while true at the moment, there’s a catalyst forming that should lessen the company’s reliance on China and lead to many millions of new iPhone sales.

China is not that “forming catalyst” that I mentioned earlier. Instead, Apple has a prime opportunity to grow in India over the next year or two, a market that’s growing rapidly with middle class consumers and is the world’s second largest economy by population behind only China.


… with India’s help, which includes the growth in middle class consumers through 2020, India might very well one day become just as important as China to Apple.

Before coming to such final argument Nichols is talking about the current market situation in China via a chart from Above Avalon’s China Mobile Is a Game Changer for Apple [April 29, 2015] research note and with the following comments around that:

Above Avalon - Total Customers for Largest Chinese and U.S. Mobile Carriers -- 28-April-2015

I expect Apple to find additional growth in China next year, regardless of what has transpired from a macro perspective over the last few months. The reason is simple: Improved network coverage. Fact of the matter is that most Chinese consumers are still using 2G or 3G networks, which are hardly compatible with the iPhone 6. At the end of the first quarter, China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) had 153 million 4G customers, up from 90 million in December of 2014 and just 1.3 million in February of 2014. However, China Mobile had 815 million total customers. So that means the majority of its subscribers are still on 2G or 3G networks. Given the rate at which China Mobile has added 4G customers during the last 16 months, investors can rest assured that its network and 4G customers will be far larger by this time next year. Notably, most of those 4G customers will need smartphones, and Apple has quickly become the most popular choice in China.

As for China’s second and third largest wireless carriers, China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA), they have nearly 500 million customers collectively. And believe it or not, China Unicom and China Telecom’s 4G network is even more underdeveloped than China Mobile’s network. However, both China Unicom and China Telecom are working just as fast to build their respective 4G networks. Once more, this increases Apple’s market opportunity in China, and is the key reason why I think Apple’s growth in China will continue through next year, probably at a very high double-digit rate.

So these are the speculations which IMHO do not take into account the new product waves from major Apple and Samsung competitors, especially Xiaomi.

Xiaomi’s new 5.5″  Redmi Note 2 launched in China just this week for $125/799 RMB (16GB version supporting TDD-LTE for a China specific 4G version of LTE as well as TD-SCDMA, the China specific 3.5G — targeted at China Mobile subscribers) and $140/899 RMB (16GB version supporting both TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE, i.e. both 4G versions — for the subscribers of any mobile operators, and especially of China Unicom and China Telecom) is the actual case in this regard. Watch the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Prime first look miui 7 pre-order video direct from the launch (the QR code at the start and the end has been positioned out of my embedded view): 

Announced: August 13 2015
Network Technology:
GSM / HSPA / LTE
Expected release:
August 16, 2015
Body Dimensions:
152 x 76 x 8.3 mm
Weight: 160 g
SIM: Dual SIM
Display
Type: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size: 5.5 inches (~72.2% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch: Yes
MIUI 7.0
Platform OS: Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
Chipset: Mediatek MT6795
CPU:
– Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
– Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU: PowerVR G6200
Memory Card slot: No
Internal Memory:
– 16 GB, 2 GB RAM – 2 GHz model
– 32 GB, 2 GB RAM – 2.2 GHz model
Camera:
Primary: 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR, panorama
Video: 1080p@30fps
Secondary: 5 MP, 720p
Sound Alert Types:
Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker: Yes
3.5mm jack: Yes
Comms:
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: v4.0, A2DP, LE
GPS: Yes,
with A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
Infrared port: Yes
Radio: FM radio
USB: microUSB v2.0
Features Sensors:
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging:
SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser: HTML5
Java: No
– Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/H.264 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
Battery: Li-Po 3060 mAh battery
Stand-by: Up to 144 h (3G)
Talk time: Up to 11 h 30 min (3G)
Music play: Up to 46 h
Misc Colors:
White, blue, yellow, pink, mint green

The 2.2 GHz Redmi Note 2 Prime version with 32GB storage and support of  TDD-LTE + FDD-LTE will sell at $156 (999 RMB).

More information:
Aug 13, 2015All About Redmi Note 2/Prime: Specifications, Price, Hands-on Pictures! review by Xiaomi MIUI Official Forum
– Aug 13, 2015Xiaomi New Product Launch: MIUI 7(China), Redmi Note 2(Prime), Mi Wi-Fi nano full launch information (not only the Redmi Note 2/Prime)  by Xiaomi MIUI Official Forum, from which the major Redmi Note 2 and 2 Pro Android competition (Huawei P8 and P8max with Hisilicon Kirin 930 and 935 SoCs, and Meizu MX5 (with the same MediaTek Helio X10 @2.2 GHz) on the Chinese market is described as:
Redmi Note 2 and 2 Pro Android competition on the Chinese market -- 13-Aug-2015
Note: regarding the benchmarked performance of each SoC I will recommend the results made available in the Exynos 7420 vs Snapdragon 810 vs MediaTek Helio X10 Turbo MT6795T vs Hisilicon Kirin 935: Benchmark Scores [July 3, 2015] GSMinsider article
For a much broader competitive comparison I will recommend the Redmi Note 2’s comparisons by GSMinsider  which currently contains comparisons (spec-wise):

vs Asus Zenfone 2 vs Asus Zenfone Zoom
vs HTC One M9 vs HTC One M9+
vs Huawei Honor 7 vs Huawei Honor 6 Plus
vs Huawei Ascend Mate 7 vs Huawei Honor 6 Plus
vs Huawei P8 vs Huawei P8 Max
vs iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus
vs Lenovo Vibe Shot vs Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
vs Lenovo ZUK Z1
vs LG G Flex 2
vs LG G4 vs LG G3
vs Meizu M2 Note vs Meizu M1 Note
vs Meizu MX5 vs Meizu MX4 Pro
vs Motorola Moto X Style vs Moto X Play
vs Nexus 6 vs Motorola Moto Maxx
vs OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus One
vs Oppo Find 7 vs Oppo Find 7A
vs Oppo N3
vs Redmi Note
vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
vs Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
vs Vivo X5 Pro vs Vivo X5 Max
vs Xiaomi Mi Note vs Xiaomi Mi Note Pro
vs Xiaomi Mi4
vs ZTE Axon Pro vs ZTE Axon Lux
vs ZTE Nubia Z9 Max vs Nubia Z9 Mini
vs ZTE Nubia Z9

Aug 13, 2015Additional videos from XiaomiHK YouTube channel:

Xiaomi – MIUI Introduction (with English subtitles)

Xiaomi – MIUI V7 Endurance

i.e. MIU 7 on [Xiaomi’s] Mi 4, Huawei Honor 6, Meizu MX4 and Samsung Galaxy S5

Xiaomi – MIUI V7 Performance

Xiaomi – RedmiNote2″>Xiaomi – RedmiNote2

Xiaomi – RedmiNote2 Camera

Important videos available on the Bloomberg Business website only, with 3 most important videos added to them from the CCTV America YouTube channel:

June 5, 2014: Here’s Why Hugo Barra Left Google to Be Xiaomi VP: Xiaomi Early Investor Robin Chan discusses Xiaomi’s hiring of Google’s Hugo Barra on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” Former Xiaomi Board Member Hans Tung also speaks.

July 17, 2015Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra: Studio 1.0 (Full Show 7/16): This week on Studio 1.0: Emily Chang sits down with Hugo Barra, vice president of global operations at Xiaomi. (Source: Bloomberg) 21 minutes from which I will include here the only slide displayed Xiaomi - Global ambition -- 17-July-2015

Plus a lot of other unique information is available in that interview: like the 2015 vintage business model of Xiaomi (investments into non-platform startups to build business partnerships, a whole ecosystem around Xiaomi etc.).

I will add to that the product shown in the Bloomberg interview as an example of such ecosystem generation. This has been documented in Xiaomi launches $13 fitness band [CCTV America YouTube channel, Aug 18, 2014] as: “Chinese Smartphone maker Xiao-mi has started selling an interactive wristband called the Mi Band. The device can measure one’s heart rate and monitor sleep patterns. It’s not the first such device to hit the market, but so far, it’s the cheapest.

I will also add the Xiaomi Buying Spree Gives Apple, Samsung Reason to Worry [Bloomberg Business YouTube channel, Jan 8, 2015] video stating that: “Xiaomi zoomed past Apple Inc. and Samsung in China smartphone sales just three years after releasing its first model. Founder Lei Jun is now on a buying spree to take that momentum beyond handsets. Bloomberg’s Edmond Lococo has more on “On The Move Asia.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Then remember the already known facts mentioned in the second video on the Bloomberg website like: “Xiaomi is not Apple“, “Xiami is an Internet company” (“an Internet platform and services brand” heard in another interview), “services are inherent part of Xiaomi“, “Xiaomi is one of the biggest e-commerce sites in China“, “the Xiaomi platform products are enhanced in functionality on requests from its users by around 50%” etc.

As the latest proof-point of such an Internet platform and service strategy of the company watch the Chinese mobile co. Xiaomi launches wallet app [CCTV America YouTube channel, March 26, 2015] video:

Other videos from Bloomberg Business YouTube channel:

Jan 15, 2015Xiaomi’s Rapid Rise to $45B Valuation Topping Uber: Xiaomi is Apple and Samsung’s rapidly growing threat. Now the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, Xiaomi is releasing its next phone on Thursday at an event in Beijing. Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson looks at how just fast this company is growing. (Source: Bloomberg)

June 5, 2014Meet the Billionaire ‘Steve Jobs of China’ Lei Jun:  Xiaomi co-founder and chief executive officer Lei Jun is known as the Steve Jobs of China, complete with a wardrobe of black shirts and a cult following. But what did he do before starting Xiaomi, and how has his personality helped drive Xiaomi’s success? Bloomberg West’s Emily Chang gives us an overview of this rock star CEO.

Jan 5, 2015Xiaomi Doubles Revenue to $12B as Phone Sales TripleXiaomi, whose investors include billionaire Yuri Milner, more than doubled its revenue in 2014, according to a blog posting by CEO Lei Jun.

Feb 13, 2015Xiaomi’s Barra: U.S. Market Is Important in Many Ways:  Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra discusses the company’s global expansion plans with Bloomberg’s Brad Stone on “Bloomberg West.”

June 4, 2015Xiaomi Grows Wearable Device Market ShareXiaomi is looking to elbow its way into the wearable device market. New figures suggest it took a quarter slice of global sales the first three months of the year. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Jitendra Waral discusses the sales figures on “Trending Business.”

Other videos from the CCTV America YouTube channel:

July 22, 2014Hugo Barra on latest Xiaomi products: Chinese tech firm Xiaomi showed off some of its latest products on Tuesday. The Beijing-based company unveiled its new Mi smartphone and billed it as a challenger to Apple’s iPhone. Analysts say the Mi 4 will be a make or break product for Xiaomi after sales of the older model proved disappointing.The company is also aggressively expanding overseas. Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s Vice President for overseas business spoke with CCTV’s Xia Cheng.

July 14, 2015Eric Schiffer on Xiaomi’s global strategy: For more on Xiaomi’s global strategy, CCTV’s Michelle Makori spoke to Eric Schiffer, CEO of Patriarch Equity.

Dec 22, 2014
Tech company Xiaomi flourishes in China, India despite patent disputes: China’s Xiaomi tech company is often compared to Apple. Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has quickly surpassed Samsung to become the top smartphone in China and third in the world. Xiaomi phones are currently only sold online and in China and India.

Dec 22, 2014
Ari Zoldan of Quantum Networks discusses Chinese companies, patent troubles: CCTV America’s Sean Callebs interviewed tech industry expert and CEO of Quantum Networks Ari Zoldan about the rise of Xiaomi and it’s legal battles.

 



Precedence for TD-LTE by Chinese government to benefit China Mobile to launch its China-originated 4G service as early as Dec 18, 2013

… it looks like the government was waiting till China Mobile was ready to launch, meanwhile delaying FDD-LTE by declaring a necessity to “test a converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network at a later date”.

4G TD-LTE Licenses Officially Issued by MIIT [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Dec 4, 2013]

After months of waiting and dithering, China is moving into the 4G era.

Today Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has finally issued the first batch of 4G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. China Mobile gets access to 130MHz of spectrum (1880-1900 MHz, 2320-2370 MHz, 2575-2635 MHz), China Unicom gets 40MHz (2300-2320 MHz, 2555-2575 MHz) and China Telecom has 40MHz (2370-2390 MHz, 2635-2655 MHz) for TD-LTE operation. The commercialization of TD-LTE in China by these three operators will certainly promote the TD-LTE scale deployment globally.

China issues 4G licenses [Xinhua, Dec 4, 2013]

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Wednesday issued 4G licenses to three Chinese telecom operators, marking the beginning of a new era in China’s high-speed mobile network.

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom received permits to offer fourth-generation (4G) mobile network services employing homegrown TD-LTE technology.

The ministry said the three companies have conducted large-scale tests of TD-LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, one of two international standards, and their technology is ready for commercial service.

Zhang Feng, the MIIT’s spokesman, said 4G technology will lower bandwidth costs and promise faster mobile broadband.

The ministry’s figures showed that the Internet speed of 4G networks is 10 times that of 3G services, and allows mobile users to download a 7-megabyte music file in less than one second.

China Mobile said the rates for 4G services will be cheaper than those for 3G. In some cities where the company has launched the 4G network for trial commercial use, the tariff is 20 percent less than similar 3G network plans.

Li Yue, president of China Mobile, said the price of 4G smartphones will go down quickly following the approval of the 4G network for commercial use.

Now only a number of smartphone models in China are equipped with modules that support home-grown 4G TD-LTE technology, with their prices ranging from 350 U.S. dollars to 800 U.S. dollars.

Li said 4G terminals for as little as 150 U.S. dollars will be available on the market by the end of this year.

The MIIT also said Wednesday it will test a converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network at a later date.

China is the major promoter of the TD-LTE standard and is also a major owner of the standard’s core patents. LTE FDD is the other international 4G standard and is popular in Europe.

The MIIT said the convergence of the two standards is gaining momentum in the global telecom industry. A total of 10 converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD commercial networks have been established so far worldwide.

China will issue licenses for LTE FDD when the condition is ripe,” said the ministry.

Experts believe the commercialization of TD-LTE will create a new impetus for China’s economic growth, as the country is home to the largest number of mobile phone users in the world.

The ministry’s statistics showed that the 3G network contributed 211 billion yuan (34 billion U.S. dollars) to China’s GDP in its first three years of commercial use.

“The 4G industry chain, which involves terminal manufacturing and the software sector, will further improve the services of China’s telecom sector,” said spokesman Zhang Feng.

60% of phone users in China have no plans to upgrade to 4G: report [Want China Times, Dec 6, 2013, 14:46 (GMT+8)]

More than 60% of China’s cell phone users have no plans to switch to the latest 4G technology, the Guangzhou-based Souther Daily reported on Dec. 5.

Though the paper did not give detailed information on how its poll was conducted, it said more than 60% of the people it surveyed said they are happy with their 3G smartphones and that they do not feel the need to upgrade.

Those polled said they have a greater choice of 3G smartphones at more competitive prices than the 4G options currently available.

Southern Daily said 4G services, for which the government began to issue licenses this week, would be attractive for the younger generation in particular but telecom carriers may need to offer more promotions and incentives to persuade people to retire their current cell phones.

3G vs. LTE Network Architecture – SixtySec [ExploreGate YouTube channel, May 4, 2012]

Visit http://www.exploregate.com for more videos on this topic.

What are the differences between TDD LTE (TD-LTE) and FDD LTE (FD-LTE)? [Global TD-LTE Initiative, Nov 4, 2013]

FDD LTE and TDD LTE are two different standards of LTE 4G technology. LTE is a high-speed wireless technology from the 3GPP standard. 3G growth reached its end at HSPA+, and mobile operators have already started deploying 4G networks to provide much more bandwidth for mobile users. 4G speed will provide a virtual LAN reality to mobile handsets by offering very high speed access to the Internet to experience real triple play services such as data, voice and video from a mobile network.

LTE is defined to support both the paired spectrum for Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and unpaired spectrum for Time Division Duplex (TDD). LTE FDD uses a paired spectrum that comes from a migration path of the 3G network, whereas TDD LTE uses an unpaired spectrum that evolved from TD-SCDMA.

TD-LTE does not require a paired spectrum since transmission and reception occurs in the same channel. In FD-LTE, it requires a paired spectrum with different frequencies with a guard band.

TD-LTE is cheaper than FD-LTE since in TD-LTE there is no need for a diplexer to isolate transmission and receptions.

In TD-LTE, it’s possible to change the uplink and downlink capacity ratio dynamically according to the needs. In FD-LTE, capacity is determined by frequency allocation by regulatory authorities, making it difficult to make a dynamic change.

In TD-LTE, a larger guard period is necessary to maintain the uplink and downlink separation that will affect the capacity. In FD-LTE, the same concept is referred to as a guard band for isolation of uplink and downlink, which will not affect capacity.

Cross slot interference exists in TD-LTE, which is not applicable to FD-LTE.

What are TD-LTE’s technical highlights? [Global TD-LTE Initiative, Nov 4, 2013]

TD-LTE transmissions travel in both directions on the same frequency band, a methodology formally known as “unpaired spectrum.” It is distinct from “paired spectrum,” where two frequencies are allocated, one for the transmit channel and the other for the receive channel (formally called “Frequency Division”). “Time Division” means the receive channel and the transmit channel take turns (i.e., divide the time between them) on the same frequency band. The time divisions are asymmetric, meaning that more time-slots are allocated to data going from the tower to the phone than from the phone to the tower. The usage patterns of the future (fewer phone calls, more Internet) are asymmetric in this manner.

The frequency bands used by TD-LTE are 3.4–3.6 GHz in Australia and the UK, 2.57−2.62 GHz in the US and China, 2.545-2.575 GHz in Japan, and 2.3–2.4 GHz in India and Australia. The technology supports scalable channel bandwidth, between 1.4 and 20 MHz. A typical range measures up to 200 meters indoors on a 2.57–2.62 GHz radio frequency link.

China Telecommunications: Who says TD-LTE doesn’t work? [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Nov 25, 2013]

Our existing ‘counter consensus’ view on the outlook for Chinese Telecoms is based on the belief that LTE will cause a reversal of fortune among the key players. China Mobile will solve the biggest problem identified in our consumer research (slow data speeds) and will once again have the ‘best’ mobile network in China on all dimensions. China Unicom, having gained strong momentum on the basis of their superior 3G data speeds will face a slowing of momentum – at least among high value customers seeking the latest technology

Over the last few weeks we have heard many arguments from China Mobile Bears as to why our hypothesis will be wrong. The initial arguments are usually targeted at the technology itself – that TD-LTE is a Chinese standard and a poor cousin to the much better FD-LTE more popular in Europe (it isn’t), that it doesn’t handle voice calls well (irrelevant – no operator in the world has launched a new LTE network with voice over LTEin all cases they use existing 2G or 3G networks for voice), that handsets will not be available (ever heard of the iPhone? Not to mention Samsung, Sony, HTC, Huawei…)

China Mobile launched its TD-LTE network in Shenzhen for ‘test’ operations in early November. We thought the best way to address the Bear’s technology concerns was to go test the network for ourselves. Nearly 120 speed tests conducted from different indoor and outdoor locations supported our hypothesis that TD-LTE will be demonstratively better than Unicom’s existing 3G network in data speeds. On average we experienced download speeds 10 times faster, upload speeds 7 times faster and a dramatic improvement in latency. We concur that service coverage for LTE is currently weaker, but locations meaningful to high value customers are already largely covered. Coverage will continue to improve as China Mobile rolls out new sites.

Over the last few years, China Mobile has underperformed the market while Unicom has outperformed – we attribute most of the difference in fortune of these two companies to the relative data speed of their respective 3G networks. We believe the launch of TD-LTE services by China Mobile will start the process of reversing this. Speed test in Shenzhen affirm our belief that TD-LTE technology works and is demonstratively superior to W-CDMA in data speeds.

Click to download:
China Telecommunications: Who says TD-LTE doesn’t work?
We experienced lightning speeds in Shenzhen

[a 10 pages long whitepaper by Berstein Research, Nov 18, 2013]

Some important excerpts from that:

China Mobile has been selling TD-LTE devices and rate plans in Shenzhen since November 1st. As 4G licenses are not yet issued, these sales are described as “trials” and are limited to a small number of devices and are only available in a few cities. The LTE rate plans are provisional: service contracts are signed under a 3G rate plan which will transfer to a 4G plan in January. We believe that sales of 4G services in advance of an actual license is an aggressive move, and highlights how important 4G is for China Mobile’s management.

We conducted over 100 speed tests in Shenzhen to compare the new TD-LTE network versus Unicom’s existing 3G network. Unicom has benefited tremendously from China Mobile’s misfortune with TD-SCDMA and its own good fortune of being licensed with WCDMA. Unicom also stands to suffer the most if its leadership on speed is lost. Our proprietary customer research indicated this was a key buying factor for many of Unicom’s existing customers. We went to Shenzhen (one of the cities where China Mobile is already selling 4G services) to pit China Unicom and China Mobile’s networks head-to-head. We conducted ~120 tests across various locations (indoors, outdoors, in-transit, and under-ground) to reach robust conclusions on speed, latency and coverage. Our test approach and sampling criteria are shown on Exhibit 1; our 4G test equipments are shown in Exhibits 2 and 3.

As expected, our test highlighted that TD-SCDMA lags Unicom’s WCDMA in 3G data speeds. First we wanted to confirm Unicom’s data speed superiority over China Mobile on 3G network. As expected we found Unicom’s WCDMA to download and upload around 3 times faster than China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA. TD-SCDMA clocked an average of 1.1MB/s on download and 0.2MB/s on upload, compared to 2.7MB/s and 0.7MB/s for WCDMA. These results were broadly similar to field tests done by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in 2010 (see Exhibits 4 and 5).

However, China Mobile’s TD-LTE is everything it is promised to be: the new leader in data speed. We then moved on to test TD-LTE… We found it had 3 times less latency (Exhibit 6) which improves the browsing experience making the phone feel more responsive. Download speeds clocked an average of 26.2MB/s, which was ~10 times faster than Unicom’s 3G network (Exhibit 7). Upload speeds averaged 5MB/s, which was 7 times faster than Unicom’s 3G (Exhibit 8). These performance levels were consistently observed across all locations where there was a signal. Part of TD-LTE’s outperformance is due to a lack of users on the network, however, given the large amount of spectrum expected to be allocated for LTE services we believe there will continue to be a material performance advantage over WCDMA even as the subscriber base expands.

The TD-LTE network had more coverage gaps but this will improve over time. China Mobile’s TD-LTE network did have some coverage issues, even within urban Shenzhen. However the problem was less significant than feared. All the outdoor sites tested received good signals, and high traffic indoor locations (e.g. shopping malls, cafes) are also covered. The only test site where we failed to receive a signal was the underground metro station (Refer back to Exhibit 1). We suspect there are many more ‘gaps’ around, but these will be progressively fixed over time.

Anecdotally there appears to be pent-up demand for TD-LTE services; improving availability of handsets will be key to unlocking this. Currently there are only two LTE handsets available from China Mobile: a Samsung Galaxy Note II at 5299RMB [$871] and a cheaper Huawei model at 2888RMB [$475]. One clerk told us that since launching 4G “trials” 2 weeks ago, her store had only sold one TD-LTE phone. However many customers with TD-LTE compatible iPhones (5S/5C models bought in Hong Kong) are signing up to 4G plans. We are wary of making too much from this, but agree that improving handset availability will be key to a broader uptake of the service. With integrated 2G/3G/4G chipsets available and China now being the largest smartphone market, we believe it will not be long before a large number of mid to low end devices start to appear on the market.

More than Half of Asian Population Will Be Covered by LTE-TDD by 2018 [ABI Research News, Nov 4, 2013]

LTE network deployments will continue to grow rapidly globally. Time-division duplex (TDD) network is picking up the pace and gaining more market traction. In Asia-Pacific, LTE-TDD networks will cover more than 53% of the population by 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.1% between 2012 and 2018, while frequency-division duplex (FDD) networks will reach 49% population coverage by the end of 2018.

“The increase of LTE-TDD population coverage is mainly driven by wide deployment in some Asian countries with large populations, such as China, India, and Japan,” comments Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research. “Due to its complementarity of using unpaired spectrum, a number of LTE-FDD operators will expand their networks with LTE-TDD in additional spectrum to improve network capacity.”

Among Asia-Pacific’s recently completed, on-going, and upcoming 4G spectrum auctions, 25% concern 2,600 MHz, 25% 1,800 MHz, and 20% 800 MHz, which is consistent with the popularity of the 2,600 MHz band for LTE-TDD networks. “Asia-Pacific will be the region with the most LTE-TDD networks,” adds Jake Saunders, VP and practice director. “Of global LTE-TDD concluded contracts awarded to vendors so far, 47% come from Asia-Pacific and the second largest portion of 18% is contributed by the Middle East.”

Considering spectrum efficiency, spectrum bandwidth, network capacity, etc., a number of operators are preparing to upgrade LTE networks to LTE-Advanced networks. In ABI Research’s latest survey, there have been 29 LTE Advanced network commitments worldwide by Q3 2013, of which 10 commitments come from Western Europe, 9 from Asia-Pacific, and 5 from North America.

TD-LTE global market overview [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Sept 13, 2013]

With the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard continuing to develop, international differences in plannings and frequency allocation timetables have resulted in different frequency bands being used in different countries. TD-LTE standard’s greater efficiency in terms of frequency spectrum usage has attracted the attention of carriers in a number of other countries.

21 TD-LTE commercial networks have been launched as of August, 2013, and 39 LTE TDD commercial networks are in progress or planned. (Source: GSA)

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TD-LTE’s unique features have also played an important part in the technology’s growing stature in the market. Because TD-LTE makes asymmetrical use of unpaired spectrum, for both uplink and downlink, it is a spectral efficient technology. Spectrum is a valuable commodity for mobile operators, especially those who operate in countries where there is a limited amount of available FDD spectrum; or where only single unpaired frequency is available. Driven by its spectral efficiency, TD-LTE is now increasingly being viewed as an attractive proposition in markets.

GSA confirms 244 LTE networks are commercially launched, LTE1800 now mainstream [news article by GSA, Dec 5, 2013]

The latest update of the Evolution to LTE report from GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) confirms that 244 operators have commercially launched LTE services in 92 countries.

98 LTE networks have been commercially launched so far in 2013.

The report confirms that 499 operators are investing in LTE in 143 countries. This is made up of 448 firm operator commitments to build LTE networks in 134 countries, plus 51 additional operators engaged in various trials, studies, etc. in a further 9 countries.

From amongst the committed operators, 244 have commercially launched services, which is 78% more than a year ago.

GSA forecasts there will be 260 LTE networks in commercial service by the end of this year.

The majority of LTE operators have deployed the FDD mode of the standard. The most widely used band in network deployments continues to be 1800 MHz which is used in over 44% of commercially launched LTE networks. 108 operators worldwide have launched LTE1800 (band 3) systems, 157% more than a year ago, in 58 countries, either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment.
1800 MHz spectrum is typically refarmed from its original use for 2G/GSM, facilitated by technology-neutral licensing policies.
As 1800 MHz is the prime band for LTE deployments worldwide, it will greatly assist international roaming for mobile broadband. Mobile licences for 1800 MHz have been awarded to 350+ operators in nearly 150 countries.
The number of LTE1800 terminals has tripled in each of the past 2 years. One third of all announced LTE user devices can operate in 1800 MHz band 3 spectrum. LTE1800 is a mature, mainstream technology.
The next most popular contiguous bands are 2.6 GHz (band 7) as used in 29% of networks in commercial service today, followed by 800 MHz (band 20) in 12% of networks, and AWS (band 4) in 8% of networks.

Interest in the TDD mode continues to be strengthening globally ahead of the large-scale commercial deployments in China. Worldwide, 25 LTE TDD (TD-LTE) systems are commercially launched in 20 countries, of which 12 are deployed in combined LTE FDD & TDD operations.

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The report includes a growing list of operators who have commercially launched or preparing to introduce enhancements to their networks including multicarrier support for Category 4 user devices (150 Mbps theoretical peak downlink speed), and LTE-Advanced features, especially carrier aggregation, which is a key trend.
The report also confirms how voice service has moved up the agenda for many LTE operators as network coverage has improved (nationwide in many cases) and as the penetration and usage of LTE-capable smartphones has increased. VoLTE services have been launched by operators in Asia, Europe, and North America and several more operators have committed to VoLTE deployments and launches over the next few months.
The Evolution to LTE report (December 5, 2013) is a free download for registered site users
Registration page for new users: http://www.gsacom.com/user/register
Numerous charts, maps etc. confirming the progress of mobile broadband developments including LTE are also available on the home page and at www.gsacom.com/news/statistics.

GSA confirms 1,240 LTE user devices launched, support building for LTE-Advanced systems [news article by GSA, Nov 7, 2013]

The latest update to the ‘Status of the LTE Ecosystem’ report published by the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) confirms that 120 manufacturers have announced 1,240 LTE-enabled user devices, including frequency and carrier variants.
680 new LTE user devices were announced in the past year. The number of manufacturers increased by 44% in this period. Smartphones continue to be the largest LTE device category with 455 products released, representing 36% share of all LTE device types. 99% of LTE smartphones also operate on 3G networks (HSPA/HSPA+ or EV-DO or TD-SCDMA technologies).

The report embraced devices that operate on the FDD and/or TDD modes of the LTE system. The majority of products are designed for operation in the FDD mode. However, 274 devices can operate in the LTE TDD (TD-LTE) mode, and this figure is 159 higher than a year ago.

The largest LTE device ecosystems for the FDD bands are as follows:
– 2600 MHz band 7 = 448 devices
– 1800 MHz band 3 = 412 devices
– 800 MHz band 20 = 314 devices
– 2100 MHz band 1 = 305 devices
– 700 MHz bands 12, 17 = 289 devices
– AWS band 4 = 279 devices
– 700 MHz band 13 = 250 devices
– 850 MHz band 5 = 189 devices
– 900 MHz band 8 = 174 devices
– 1900 MHz band 2 = 134 devices
TDD bands:
– 2600 MHz band 38 = 197 devices
– 2300 MHz band 40 = 184 devices
– 1900 MHz band 39 = 71 devices
– 2600 MHz band 41 = 63 devices
– 2500 MHz bands 42, 43 = 15 devices
(totals include carrier and operator variants)

The Evolution to LTE report (October 17, 2013) is also available as a free download to registered site users via the link at http://www.gsacom.com/gsm3g/infopapers

Note that by the time of 4G based on TD-LTE the leading edge of LTE will much further ahead as SK Telecom Demonstrates 225 Mbps LTE-Advanced [press release, Nov 28, 2013]

  • Successfully demonstrates the upgraded LTE-Advanced: Aggregates 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band to offer up to 225Mbps of speed
  • Expects to launch the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ LTE-Advanced service in the second half of 2014 and plans to introduce 3 Band Carrier Aggregation in an early manner
SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) today held a press conference to demonstrate the upgraded LTE-Advanced service that offers up to 225Mbps of speed by aggregating 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band.

LTE can only offer up to 150Mbps of speeds using a maximum of 20MHz of continuous spectrum in one band, while LTE-Advanced can support speeds over 150Mbps by combining different bands through Carrier Aggregation (CA).

Insert of mine:
[WIS2013] SK텔레콤 LTE-Advanced [SK telecom YouTube channel, May 20, 2013]

SK텔레콤도 World IT Show 2013에 ‘선을 넘다.’라는 테마로 함께 했습니다. LTE를 넘어서는 LTE-Advanced! WIS2013도 SKT와 함께 하세요! 🙂 (Bing translation: SK Telecom also World IT Show 2013 ‘ Over the line ‘ called the theme together. LTE beyond LTE-Advanced! W I S – SKT with now!)
In June 2013, SK Telecom has commercialized, for the first time in the world, LTE-Advanced service using 10MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band. Backed by a wide range of mobile value added services specially designed for the LTE-Advanced network, and a rich lineup of LTE-Advanced capable devices (8 different smartphone models), SK Telecom’s LTE-Advanced service is attracting subscribers at a rapid pace.
Moreover, on August 30, 2013, SK Telecom has gained authorization to operate the 35 MHz bandwidth (20 downlink + 15 uplink) in 1.8GHz band, and immediately launched diverse measures to strengthen both its LTE and LTE-Advanced services by utilizing the newly acquired bandwidth.

Once SK Telecom commercializes the upgraded LTE-Advanced (20MHz+10MHz), customers will be able to download an 800MB movie in just 28 seconds, significantly faster than other networks. Measured at their maximum speeds, downloading the same movie file via 3G, LTE, and the existing LTE-Advanced (10MHz+10MHz) would take 7 minutes and 24 seconds, 1 minute and 25 seconds, and 43 seconds, respectively.

The company said that it expects to launch the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ LTE-Advanced service nationwide through smartphones in the second half of 2014 as the smartphone chipset that supports 225 Mbps of speeds is currently being developed.

Furthermore, by successfully demonstrating the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ CA, SK Telecom moves one step closer to realizing the next level of LTE-Advanced technology: Aggregating three component carriers (20MHz+10MHz+10MHz) to support up to 300Mbps of speed.

Alex Jinsung Choi, Executive Vice President and Head of ICT R&D Division at SK Telecom said, “SK Telecom has been leading the development of wireless networks since it commercialized CDMA (2G) technology for the world’s first time in 1996. Today’s successful demonstration of 225 Mbps LTE-Advanced will serve as a momentum for SK Telecom to realize more innovative network technologies, which will also lead to the growth of relevant industries, including device, content and convergence fields.”
But already SK Telecom, China Mobile agree on automatic LTE roaming service [Yonhap, Dec 5, 2013]
SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile operator, said Thursday that it has agreed to launch an automatic international Long Term Evolution (LTE) roaming service with China Mobile Ltd., as well as other LTE services.
Under the deal, travelers and businesspeople will be able to use their regular LTE services offered by the two mobile carriers more easily between the two countries, according to SK Telecom.
About 6.8 million Koreans and Chinese traveled between the two countries last year.
Early this year, SK Telecom and CSL Ltd. of Hong Kong successfully demonstrated the compatibility of their two LTE networks. The international automatic LTE roaming service has been available since June this year.
Since October, SK Telecom also has offered a similar roaming service with Saudi Arabia.
image
SK Telecom CEO Ha Sung-min (R) and China Mobile’s Chairman Xi Guohua
pose for a photo at SK Telecom’s headquarters in Seoul.


China Mobile:

New era for mobiles as 4G licenses issued to carriers [Xinhuanet, Dec 5, 2013]

China issued long-awaited 4G licenses to three telecommunications carriers yesterday, which would offer mobile Internet access 20 to 50 times faster than the current 3G network and create a new trillion-yuan market for devices and services.
China, the world’s biggest mobile phone market, has now officially entered the 4G era five years after it issued 3G licenses. The technology is widely adopted in the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and other regional markets.
The network, along with e-commerce and software businesses, is expected to boost information consumption and market demand, and encourage innovation in China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China Mobile will launch 4G services in Shanghai, Beijing and 11 other cities by the end of this year. The number of cities will expand to 340 by the end of 2014.

Users can upgrade to the 4G network without changing phone numbers, China Mobile said yesterday. It has been testing 4G networks for two years.

China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom all got 4G licenses based on TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution) technology. China Unicom and China Telecom also got approval to test another 4G technology FD-LTE (frequency division-LTE), which is mainly used in overseas markets.
China will issue FD-LTE 4G licenses later, the ministry said.
China Mobile also got the approval to operate fixed-line business including family broadband, which makes it possible to launch bundled services, the ministry added.
“It’s a national strategy to boost commercial 4G development to boost consumption and fuel-related investment,” the ministry said on its website.
The ministry said that 4G had become an engine for the development of the whole IT industry, fueling demand for the latest smartphones. With greatly improved speed and more powerful phones, new mobile Internet services will appear that will enrich people’s daily lives, the ministry said.
With 4G, mobile users can download a film (700 megabytes) in two minutes and a high-quality song (7MB) in less than a second. More 4G-related services such as video on demand, conferencing, high-quality music streaming, multiplayer games and remote video monitoring for medical and security services are being tested, industry insiders said.
The initial investment for 4G will reach 500 billion yuan (US$82 billion) in a few years, and is expected to hit 1 trillion yuan with the industry’s development.
“4G LTE is the fastest growing mobile technology since the inception of mobility some 25 years ago. And we know that mobile broadband will have a huge impact on people, business and society and be one of the most critical infrastructures for any country,” Hans Vestberg, chief executive of Ericsson, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment vendor.
By 2019, China will be home to 700 million mobile subscribers on 4G, making it the world’s biggest 4G market, according to Ericsson.
Equipment makers including Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell are going to benefit from the 4G wave.
“We are fully prepared for providing handsets for China’s own 4G technology, from entry-level to high-end phones,” said Cher Wang, HTC’s chairman.

China Mobile is going to launch 4G services with a new brand He, meaning harmony in Chinese, on December 17. The carrier may offer iPhones supporting TD-LTE then, according to industry sources.

In cities such as Beijing and Shenzhen, China Mobile have allowed users to apply for trial commercial use of 4G services with their own devices. In Shanghai, more than 1,800 people had been invited to test 4G services.

Its target is to cover 100 cities by the middle of next year and 340 by the end of 2014, when it plans to launch 4G phones that cost less than 1,000 yuan each. In the first half, it will launch 50 new 4G phones.

In Shanghai, nine TD-LTE phones will be available by the end of this year. Users can apply for 4G services at China Mobile’s outlets on Madang Road and Minsheng Road initially, to be expanded to 20 outlets citywide.

Shanghai Mobile also plans to establish an additional 3,000 4G base stations next year from the current 700, to cover the whole city including suburban and rural regions.

(Source: Shanghai Daily)

From 2013 Interim Results Presentation as of Aug 15, 2013

image

From China Mobile 2012 Annual Report [April 25, 2013]

Business Overview

… starting from 2013, we commenced investments in the development of TD-LTE network. We intend to use the TD-LTE network to primarily carry high bandwidth and high quality wireless broadband businesses. In 2012, the extended large scale trial of the TD-LTE network was carried out in 15 cities in Mainland China and approximately 20,000 base stations were built. The quality and scale of the TD-LTE networks in Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have reached pre-commercial standard. In addition, we started providing commercial 4G services in Hong Kong in 2012 with the LTE FDD and TD-LTE bandwidths we previously obtained from the Office of the Telecommunications Authority of Hong Kong in 2009 and 2012, respectively. We plan to construct more than 200,000 TD-LTE base stations in 2013. [Certain 3G base stations may also be upgraded to TD-LTE base stations.]

China Mobile lifts hopes of Apple deal and 4G launch [Shanghai Daily via Xinhuanet, Oct 31, 2013]

China Mobile is raising consumer hopes that the next-generation 4G mobile network will be launched soon and that a long-awaited deal between the world’s largest telco and Apple Inc may be unveiled as early as next week.

The telco’s website displays a cartoon tornado advertisement that announces “the invasion of 4G” and “November 9-11.” The ad links to a page showing two images of smartphones that resemble iPhones and a caption that says “special discounts.”

November 11, or Singles’ Day, is the busiest shopping day of the year in China. Last year, it generated 4 billion U.S.dollars in online sales alone, according to retail consultant McKinsey Global Institute.

China Mobile declined to comment but its senior executives said earlier that it would distribute 4G phones, including Apple’s latest iPhone 5S, after China issues 4G licenses expected by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has approved the sale of several 4G models made by Sony, ZTE and other vendors.

China Mobile hopes the expected tie-up with Apple will boost revenue and profit, especially in the high-end market segment, after its net profit for the first three quarters of this year fell for the first time by 1.9 percent to 91.5 billion yuan (14.8 billion U.S.dollars).

China Mobile’s Beijing branch jumps on 4G technology wave [China Daily USA, Nov 6, 2013]

Carrier to begin sales of newest network-enabled smartphones
Beijing has become the latest Chinese city to join the wave of tests for fourth generation, or 4G, mobile networks, despite the fact that the government has yet to issue 4G licenses to telecom carriers.
On Tuesday, China Mobile Ltd’s Beijing branch said it would start sales of 4G smartphones on Wednesday. The first batch of 4G handsets includes two models – Sony Corp’s M35T and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy Note 2.
Customers do not need to change their phone numbers but just have to get a new SIM card for their 4G handsets, according to a statement from China Mobile. Fourth-generation wireless networks achieve data download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second, four times faster than 3G networks.
However, the coverage of 4G networks in Beijing is limited, said Gao Shu, a spokeswoman for China Mobile’s Beijing branch. Only people in areas inside the capital’s Third Ring Road will be able to access the network.
“Our 4G smartphones are aimed at high-end, white-collar workers in Beijing,” Gao said.
Before Beijing, a handful of affluent Chinese cities, including Guangzhou and Hangzhou, have started offering 4G services on a trial basis.
China Mobile – the only operator in the country currently testing 4G networks – has adopted the domestic Time Division-Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) 4G technology.
The number of applicants for 4G services is expected to surpass 100,000 in major cities, according to a China Mobile official, who asked not to be named.
Meanwhile, the lack of mature 4G smartphones has long been seen as a major obstacle for the expansion of China Mobile’s 4G business. But the situation has improved in recent months. According to a report from Bank of China International Securities, as of Sept 11, smartphone models received the permission from Chinese authorities to run on 4G networks. The new smartphones are being made by domestic and international companies, including Samsung, Sony, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, the report said.
“The planned 4G commercial rollout is very good news for China Mobile, as well as for smartphone companies and mobile Internet companies,” said Wang Jun, an analyst with Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.
China Mobile’s net profit dropped 9 percent in the third quarter partly due to the increasing challenges posed by mobile Internet applications such as Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat.
“The 4G business can help the carrier to attract more high-end users from rivals,” Wang said.
Apple Inc has also said that its latest iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C handsets may support TD-LTE technology.
James Yan, an analyst with IDC China, pointed out that the timing for launching 4G services in China is right.
“The environment could not be better. Customers favor smartphones, carriers have the motivation to do 4G services, and distributors know how to sell 4G products to people,” Yan said.
The launch of 4G services in China will definitely be a new driver for the growth of the nation’s smartphone market, he added.
“4G will be an important factor to make people buy new phones,” Yan said.
Ryan Reith, program director at IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said that China has become one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, accounting for more than one-third of total shipments in the third quarter of the year.

China Mobile to launch all-service brand [China Daily, Nov 20, 2013]

China Mobile Ltd, the nation’s biggest telecom carrier by subscriber numbers, revealed onTuesday that it would officially launch a new brand “He” (And) on Dec 18, mainly targeting the upcoming fourth generation (4G) mobile business.

The new brand’s logo features grass green and peach blossom colors. According to ChinaMobile officials, the company’s current-running brands – GoTone, EasyOwn, M-Zone and G3for 3G mobile services, will be phased out after the launch of “He”.

That means “He” will take the stage as an all-service brand for China Mobile and provide customers with integrated 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services.

Commercial 4G to start December 18 [Shanghai Daily, Nov 25, 2013]

China will start commercial 4G mobile communications services on December 18, bringing the most advanced telecommunications technology to the country’s more than 1 billion mobile users.
China Mobile, the country’s No. 1 mobile operator with over 700 million users, will start 4G services on that date with a new brand He, meaning harmonious in the Chinese language.
China is expected to issue licences for 4G before the telco’s new services start.

“It will be a national event and users are allowed to apply for 4G services without changing numbers,” said a Shanghai Mobile official.

Users in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing will be the first to enjoy commercial 4G, or fourth generation, services. Shanghai, which is still building a citywide 4G network, will launch the services later.

Though China is the world’s biggest mobile phone market with more than 1 billion users on its mainland, it lacks the 4G technology that is used in some other countries and regions including the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The 4G phone will become rapidly popular on China’s mainland, thanks to the low cost of 4G phones, according to Li Yue, China Mobile’s president, who expects some 4G phones priced below 1,000 yuan (US$162) to appear in the second half of next year.

Apple Inc is also set to introduce iPhones supporting the 4G network in China, industry insiders said. The US giant and China Mobile are in negotiations over the 4G iPhone and they will launch it officially on December 18.
China Telecom and China Unicom are now Apple’s carrier partners for its smartphone on the Chinese mainland.

Apple will partner with China Mobile [CNN YouTube channel, Dec 5, 2013]

Sanford Bernstein Senior Analyst Mark Newman discusses reported China Mobile iPhone deal.

China Mobile still talking to Apple on iPhones [Reuters, Dec 5, 2013 9:27am EST]

Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the two giants had signed a deal, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.

We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce,” China Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei said, declining to elaborate. Apple also declined comment.

Moody’s: TD-LTE License Is Credit Positive for China Mobile [Moody’ Global Credit Research announcement, Dec 6, 2013]

Hong Kong, December 06, 2013 — Moody’s Investors Service says that the Chinese government’s decision to issue a Time-Division Long-Term Evolution (TD-LTE), or 4G, license, is credit positive for China Mobile Limited (Aa3 stable) as this will help strengthen its market position in the growing wireless data business.

On 4 December, China Mobile announced that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had granted its parent, China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC, unrated), permission to operate the TD-LTE business and China Mobile will assist CMCC in the construction and operations of the TD-LTE network.

China Mobile is likely to enjoy the first mover advantage in the TD-LTE business as it has been investing in the technology since early 2013, well ahead of its competitors.

China Mobile targets to build over 200,000 commercial-ready base stations and expand its network coverage to 100 major cities by the end of this year. It has already started trials in some of the major cities, including Beijing.

While its two major competitors — such as China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd (China Unicom, unrated) and China Telecom Corporation (unrated) — also obtained TD-LTE licenses at the same time, we expect these companies to only start major investments in 2014.

In fact, these companies plan to use Frequency Division Duplex (FDD)-LTE — an international standard used outside China — as their mainstream 4G technology. However, the FDD-LTE licenses have not yet been granted and any delay in the issuance of the licenses will be advantageous for China Mobile.

Although TD-LTE is a home-grown technology, China Mobile is unlikely to be hampered by the lack of choice in 4G handsets, as was the case with its 3G indigenous technology platform (Time Division-Code Division Multiple Access, or TD-SCDMA).

TD-LTE technology has been accepted internationally, with 59 operators and 54 manufacturers joining the global TD-LTE initiative as of H1 2013. In addition, 25 models of TD-LTE trial devices were launched and over 100 models are under development, of which 15 handsets are intended for commercial use.

Moody’s believes that Apple’s new iPhones have also become technologically compatible with TD-LTE, as well as TD-SCDMA, although China Mobile has not yet started selling iPhones.

The launch of TD-LTE is strategically important for China Mobile to strengthen its market position in the growing wireless data business.

China Mobile had about 759 million customers as of October 2013, of which 176 million were 3G customers. Its 3G subscribers are growing rapidly with over 100% growth since May 2013 on a year-over-year basis.

Moody’s expects its wireless data business to continue its solid growth. The wireless data revenue has grown 62% in H1 2013 on a year-over-year basis. In H1 2013 the business accounted for 17% of its telecommunications services revenue, up from 11% in H1 2012.

However, China Mobile’s market share for 3G services has been much smaller than its overall mobile market share. As of October 2013, its 3G market share was 45% (China Unicom 30% and China Telecom 25%) while its overall mobile market share was 62% (China Unicom 23% and China Telecom 15%), largely because of the use of TD-SCDMA despite the recent improvement in its 3G market share.

Moody’s expects the launch of TD-LTE will help China Mobile improve its market position in the wireless data segment and slow the pace of declines in average revenue per user (ARPU), as the ARPU of data users tends to be higher.

The large investments in TD-LTE will continue to pressure China Mobile’s cash flow. Moody’s expects its adjusted free cash flow (FCF)/debt to fall to below 0% in 2013 and 2014 from over 60% in 2012.

Moody’s expects that the company’s adjusted capital expenditure as a percentage of revenue from telecommunications services will increase to over 30% in 2013 and 2014, from below 25% of its revenue in 2012.

Nevertheless, its overall credit profile will remain in line with its rating, supported by its solid overall operating and financial profiles, as well as its excellent liquidity. For example, Moody’s expects China Mobile’s adjusted debt/EBITDA to remain at approximately 0.3x.

The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Telecommunications Industry published in December 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on http://www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

China Mobile is the leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in China, offering voice and data services in all 31 provinces and autonomous regions, as well as in Hong Kong. It is 74% owned by CMCC, which in turn is wholly owned by China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.


China Telecom:

LTE/4G DIGITAL CELLULAR MOBILE SERVICE OPERATION PERMIT [China Telecom’s regulatory announcement for Hong Kong Exchange, Dec 4, 2015]

This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 13.09 of the Rules Governing the Listing of the Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong).
 

The Board (the “Board”) of directors of China Telecom Corporation Limited (the “Company”) announced that the Company was notified by China Telecommunications Corporation (the parent company of the Company) that China Telecom has been granted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the PRC the permit to operate the LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE). Meanwhile, China Telecom will apply for the permit to operate the LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (LTE FDD) as soon as practicable.

In order to proactively implement national innovation strategy and leverage collaborated use of different spectrum resources to meet customers’ demand, the Company aims to adopt a flexible approach in deployment of LTE network with one hybrid network of integrated resources. The Company will flexibly deploy the LTE network with regard to data business growth and value chain development. In particular, the LTE deployment would only start from densely populated areas, overlaying on existing superior 3G network for long-term integrated operation. The Company would grasp the rapidly growing data business opportunities with an aim to better enhance customers experience and corporate return.
The Company believes that the issue of 4G digital cellular mobile service operation permit will be beneficial to the sustainable development of the telecommunications industry. It will also foster the informatisation consumption and economic growth. However, it will simultaneously intensify market competition. The Company will proactively leverage its operation edge and strive to foster the sustainable development of its business.
In the meantime, investors are advised to exercise caution in dealing in the securities of the Company.
By Order of the Board
China Telecom Corporation Limited
Wang Xiaochu
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

From Edited Transcript of 2013 Interim Results Investor Presentation and 2013 Interim Results Presentation of Aug 21, 2013:

image

Slide 10: To Deploy LTE Trial Network Timely & Appropriately
To support national technology innovations and allow flexible use of spectrum resources to meet customer demand, we plan to deploy one hybrid LTE network of integrated resources, sharing the core network with wireless access through both TDD and FDD. Thus, most of the LTE network investments would support both TDD and FDD services, offering us flexibility in long term development and return enhancement.
We will continue to fully leverage existing nationwide superior 3G and fibre broadband networks to serve our customers. LTE deployment would only start from densely populated areas.
We plan to flexibly deploy LTE network with regard to future LTE licensing, data business growth & value chain development, overlaying on existing superior 3G network for long-term integrated operation to enhance customer experience & return.

China Telecom to launch TD-LTE trial network construction [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Oct 25, 2013]

According to informed sources, the Ministry has recently approved the China Telecom launched TD-LTE trial network construction and pre-commercial related business. This means that China Telecom 4G future will get two licenses for FDD LTE/TD-LTE network integration.

“China Telecom will use FDD LTE/TD-LTE network integration approach build 4G network.” China Telecom Chairman Mr. Wang had previously publicly stated that “since the frequency is restricting the operator’s core resources in the 4G era, network integration is inevitable.”

A week ago, China Telecom completed the LTE core network master device EPC Jicai tender. It is understood that although China Telecom’s LTE core network master device bidding amount is not large, but the coverage of the country’s 31 provinces, including ZTE, Huawei, Shanghai Bell, Ericsson and other equipment manufacturers, including domestic and international mainstream have received certain share, which, ZTE, Huawei, Shanghai Bell’s winning share is relatively large.

It is understood that the successful vendor device support FDD/TDD multi-mode network, this also shows that China Telecom has begun preparations related to the deployment of TD-LTE.

Late last year, China Telecom in Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities in Guangdong 4G trial, however, was mainly dominated by FDD LTE trial network. The Ministry of approval, indicating that China Telecom has determined will be FDD LTE/TD-LTE 4G mode hybrid network test network construction.

Prior to the introduction, according to Mr. Wang in China Telecom’s 4G network planning, large-scale, wide coverage 4G networks will use FDD standard, while the urban area densely populated areas will use TDD system, using this integrated program will be able to achieve all of the user needs.

In addition, from China Telecom’s terminal planning can be seen that China Telecom in 4G mobile phones mainly uses standard FDD LTE multimode phones, but in the data card is the main use of TD-LTE network resources.


China Unicom:

Announcement LTE/4G Digital Cellular Mobile Service Operation (TD-LTE) Permit [China Unicom’s regulatory announcement for Hong Kong Exchange, Dec 4, 2015]

This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 13.09 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the “Listing Rules”) and Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571).

On 4 December 2013, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (the “Company”) was notified by its ultimate parent company, China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (中國聯合網絡通信集團有限公司) (“Unicom Parent”), that Unicom Parent has been granted the license to operate LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE) by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China (“MIIT”) on 4 December 2013. MIIT has also granted approval for Unicom Parent to license China United Network Communications Corporation Limited (中國聯合網絡通信有限公司), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, to operate LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE) nationwide in China

Meanwhile, the Company will continue to proactively apply for the launch of LTE FDD technology test run. It aims to leverage on the 3G network in order to provide users with mobile broadband data services with a higher speed.

By Order of the Board
CHINA UNICOM (HONG KONG) LIMITED
CHU KA YEE
Company Secretary

From 2013 Interim Results Presentation as of Aug 8, 2013

image

From INTERIM REPORT 2013 as of August 8, 2013

[p. 3]

To support its sustainable growth in the future, the Company further enhanced its network capabilities with a focus on network architecture as well as mobile, broadband and transmission networks so as to strengthen its network advantages in broadband and mobile Internet. In the first half year, the Company added 33 thousand new 3G base stations, and opened HSPA+ 21Mbps services over the whole 3G network, with speed up to 42Mbps at some urban hot spot areas. The Company accelerated fiber optic deployment. Its broadband access ports increased by 19.9% year-on-year, and FTTH/B accounted for 63% of total access ports, representing an increase of 10 percentage points over the same period last year. In order to better meet the demand from HSPA+, LTE and integrated services, the Company optimised the structure and enhanced the coverage of its infrastructure and transmission networks.

From China’s telecom firms reveal 4G strategies [Xinhuanet, June 27, 2013]

… the other two smaller Chinese telecom operators – China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd – have expressed their willingness to adopt the Frequency Division Duplex-Long Term Evolution, or FDD-LTE, technology, or at least to build a converged network under both standards.

TD-LTE and FDD-LTE are the two major 4G international standards, but the latter has gained more popularity across the globe and has stronger industry support.

Lu Yimin, general manager of China Unicom, said the company is conducting tests for 4G wireless networks with mixed technologies. It is the first time that China Unicom has admitted that it is actively preparing to launch 4G services.

However, Lu added that because the Chinese government has not yet awarded the 4G licenses, China Unicom’s final strategy is still “uncertain.” Lu also made the remarks at Shanghai’s Mobile Asia Expo.

Last weekend, Wang Xiaochu, China Telecom’s chairman, confirmed that the company is stepping up efforts for its LTE network trials.

“It’s inevitable (for China Telecom) to adopt a converged network, since the spectrum is at the core of every carrier’s resources,” Wang said.

China Unicom tests 4G network [China Daily via Xinhuanet, Aug 9, 2013]

China United Network Communications Co Ltd, known as China Unicom, said on Thursday that it has started testing a TD-LTE 4G network, which it will use if the government doesn’t allow it to use its favored FDD-LTE technology in the upcoming 4G licensing process.

China’s second-biggest mobile operator by subscribers is said to have taken the preemptive action because it expects the government to follow a similar strategy as in its 3G auction, when it first awarded licenses for TD-LTE networks, a technology which is mostly backed by its arch-rival China Mobile Ltd, which has the most subscribers in the country.
The government is widely expected to award 4G licenses before the end of the year. And if it licenses TD-LTE networks first, it will give China Mobile a big edge in the 4G market over its competitors.
After reporting a 55 percent jump in its first-half profit, Chang Xiaobing, the company’s chairman, said investment on TD-LTE technology has already started and testing will begin in major cities. Funds will come from Hong Kong-listed China Unicom, rather than from its controlling company China United Network Communications Corp Ltd, which previously funded some of China Unicom’s network tests.
“I expect Beijing to license TD-LTE first, so we have to prepare,” Chang told a news conference in Hong Kong on Thursday.
Beijing favors TD-LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, because the network’s core technologies are developed by Chinese companies. The technology was developed specifically for the Chinese market and is expected to serve a quarter of the global market by 2016.
China Unicom’s infrastructure mainly supports FDD-LTE, or Frequency Division Duplexing Long-Term Evolution, which is the world’s dominant 4G technology. Out of the 156 commercial 4G networks operating around the world in March 2013, 142 were FDD-LTE and 14 were TD-LTE networks. China Mobile operates a FDD-LTE network in Hong Kong and is trying to integrate it with the mainland’s TD-LTE market.
Chang said China Unicom’s capital expenditure will stay within the full-year budget of 80 billion yuan (12.96 billion U.S. dollars), despite the planned investment in TD-LTE networks.
Media reports said that China Telecom Corp Ltd, the other major operator in China, will rent China Mobile’s TD-LTE 4G infrastructure. Chang refused to say if China Unicom will do the same.
China Unicom’s first-half profit surged to 5.32 billion yuan compared with 3.43 billion yuan in the same period in 2012. Revenue was up 18.6 percent to 144.3 billion yuan, boosted by a 52 percent increase in income from 3G services to 40.9 billion yuan. The company’s 3G subscribers grew a stunning 74 percent to more than 100 million.
China Unicom shares gained 2.67 percent on Thursday. Trading of the stocks was suspended in the afternoon, after the website of the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission published the company’s earnings before they were reported to the Hong Kong stock exchange. China Unicom shares surged after the disclosure at around 3:30 pm.
A China Unicom spokesman apologized for the incident and promised it won’t happen again.

China Unicom to procure TD-, FDD-LTE equipment, says report [DIGITIMES, Oct 24, 2013]

China United Network Communications (China Unicom) has started an open-bid process for procuring 34,000 FDD-LTE base stations, 10,000 TD-LTE base stations and 8,000 FDD-LTE small cells, according to China-based tech.sina.com.

Of the mobile telecom carriers in China, China Mobile has adopted TD-LTE only, while China Telecom and China Unicom have adopted FDD LTE as their main 4G standard and TD-LTE as an auxiliary in line with the China government’s policy promoting TD-LTE.

China Telecom procured about 50,000 FDD-LTE base stations and about 20,000 TD-LTE ones in the third quarter of 2013.

The Upcoming Mobile Internet Superpower

download this PDF-format mini e-book
(now with an extensive follow-up & ‘The global forces behind …’ analysis, later in this post)

Subtitle:
China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web

Put* together by Sándor Nacsa in August 2013

This mini e-book is a follow-up to the findings of “China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web” [Aug 5, 2013] post from my trend-tracking blog “Experiencing the Cloud”, as well as the following posts which lead to those findings:

IMT-Advanced (4G) for the next-generations of interactive mobile services, China is triumphant [Oct 24, 2010]
Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [July 13, 2011 – Feb 8, 2012]
TD-SCDMA: US$3B into the network (by the end of 2012) and 6 million phones procured (just in October)[ Oct 18, 2011]
China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011]
MWC 2012: the 4G/LTE lightRadio network [Oct 16, 2012]
China: 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 13 cities by the end of 2012 and about 200,000 base stations in 100 cities launched in 2013 with the 2.6GHz TDD spectrum planning just started—SoftBank with TD-LTE strategy in Japan getting into global play with Sprint (also the 49% owner of US TD-LTE champion, Clearwire) acquisition [Oct 16, 2012]

download this PDF-format mini e-book

Now an extensive FOLLOW-UP
(& ‘The global forces behind …’ analysis after that)

China emerging as ‘mobile only’ in sharp contrast to the US multiscreen market [DIGITIMES, Aug 19, 2013]

With smartphone penetration still in the early stages in China, a new study indicates that the country could become a “one screen nation,” outpacing the US in consumers who use smartphones as their sole or primary media device, according to research developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Interactive Internet Advertising Committee of China (IIACC).
The research revealed that media consumption is more impacted by smartphone ownership in China. More than a quarter of China-based smartphone owners report less TV watching and reduced print consumption as a result of owning a mobile connected device (28% and 27% respectively). In comparison to their US counterparts, China-based smartphone owners are 86% more likely to report less TV usage and 42% more likely to report less print usage.
In contrast to China smartphone owners’ concentrated focus on the small screen, US smartphone owners are much more likely to consume other media with their mobile devices in hand. For example, while watching TV, smartphone users report participating in Internet communication (51% US vs. 10% China), reading social media (38% US vs. 9% China), and conducting a local search (34% US vs. 8% China). The data shows similar disparities when it comes to reading print media, the research found.
The two firms said the research also illustrates Americans’ greater dependency on their smartphones as devices that they would “never leave home without” (69%). In comparison, merely 6% of their China counterparts said the same. Approximately one-third (34%) of Americans said that their smartphone is the “first thing I reach for when I wake up,” as opposed to 7% of China-based smartphone owners.
China-based consumers are also more apt to use their smartphones for web browsing than Americans (32% China vs. 21% US), the research found. More than one fifth (23%) of China-based respondents said that they spent three hours or more per day in the last week accessing the Internet with their smartphones. The top reason they cited for turning to their smartphones was “entertainment.”

Slush 2012: Keynote by John Lindfords (Digital Sky Technologies – DST) [startupsauna YouTube channel, Nov 24, 2013]

Nov 21, 2012 [16:30-16:50]: John Lindfors of DST chats about how the Internet and especially mobile are changing the world as well as the ample startup opportunities that ensue out of that unprecedented connectedness. But what has he to say of Asia’s perception of European startup activity? John Lindfors is a Partner of Digital Sky Technology (DST) and Managing Director of the Asian office in Hong Kong. He joined DST in 2010. Prior to joining DST, he was the Partner in charge of the European Technology and Media department for Goldman Sachs. He joined Goldman Sachs in London in 1993 and worked in London and New York during his 17 years at the firm focusing on the technology and media sectors. John has a M.Sc. (Econ) from the Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki.

How Social Media & E-Commerce Operate in China [Tim Swanson YouTube channel, Aug 13, 2013]

Tim Swanson, author of Great Wall of Numbers, interviews Matt Garner, a seasoned China specialist about companies such as Tencent and Alibaba — the giants of the Chinese Internet. Matt worked for a brand marketing consulting company and large NGO in Shanghai and is an expert on Chinese web trends and market analysis. Website: http://www.ofnumbers.com

China’s E-Commerce Boom: Millennials Shop Alibaba & ASOS [ForaTv YouTube channel, Aug 3, 2013]

Full video available at: http://fora.tv/2013/07/11/Around_the_World_in_Almost_10_Slides Matt Hiscock, senior vice president for ASOS US, describes how the fashion e-commerce company plans to work with the demands of shoppers in China.

Weibo: How Chinese Microblogs Sneak Fashion Past Censors [ForaTv YouTube channel, June 14, 2013]

Full video available for purchase at: http://fora.tv/2013/05/21/Do_in_Rome_as_the_Romans_Do_-_Winning_Strategy_in_a_Fast-Changing_Market Executive vice president of Shanghai Jahwa United Co. Ltd. Hua Fang shows how microblogging tools like Weibo – the equivalent of Twitter in China – are helping to globalize brands.

Alibaba investment spooks some of China’s online shoppers [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 4, 2013]

Aug. 5 – E-commerce giant Alibaba’s investment in the Weibo microblogging service has resulted in users being bombarded with targeted ads for everything from bikinis to coffins. Anita Li examines the reaction.

Chinese Tech Giant Sets Sights on $265 Billion “Smart TV” Market [TheMotleyFool YouTube channel, July 24, 2013]

It’s no secret that the television will be the next great tech battleground. But what is less clear— and what will ultimately prove most profitable to tech-oriented investors— is what company will be the last one standing. Motley Fool analyst Lyons George discusses Alibaba, a Chinese Internet giant that deals in e-commerce, online auctions, and— as early this week— “smart television” operating systems. With an IPO expected any day now, Alibaba’s entrance into the projected $265 billion next-gen TV market is raising investor eyebrows around the globe.

In China smartphone market, cheap rules – and Apple suffers [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 19, 2013]

Aug. 19 – Apple’s seen its market share in China dwindle as homegrown smartphone makers crank out feature-packed budget models. Could the launch of a cheaper iPhone restore its flagging fortunes?

FACTBOX: Will China Mobile deal widen Apple’s wedge? [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 20, 2013]

Aug. 20 – Apple is losing market share to cheaper rivals in China. But a tie-up with top carrier China Mobile seems to be getting closer, and could quickly alter the country’s billion-strong playing field.

‘Broadband China’ aims to speed up network [CCTV News YouTube channel, Aug 18, 2013]

In its emphasis on ensuring that information technology becomes a key driver of growth, China has unveiled its new Broadband China strategy. As in the US, and Europe, the goal is that faster broadband should result in greater industrial efficiency, and, convenience for households.

More foreign carriers to deploy TD-LTE [China Daily video published on March 14, 2012 via SPHRazorTV YouTube channel]

March 14, 2012: Wang Jianzhou, Chairman of China Mobile Communications Corporation and a CPPCC member, talked about the current situation of TD-LTE’s development and promotion as an international 4G standard.

TD-LTE Subscriptions to Surpass 500 Million by 2017, Representing Annual TD-LTE Operator Service Revenues of $91 Billion Worldwide [Research and Markets announcement via PRNewswire, Aug 16, 2013]

More than 50 mobile carriers worldwide have so far committed to TDD LTE technology, and over 30 OEMs have commercially launched TD-LTE compatible devices, with a major proportion of these devices supporting both FDD and TDD modes of operation.
This forecast datasheet presents revenue and shipment market size and forecasts for both infrastructure and devices, along with subscription and service revenue projections for the LTE market as a whole, as well as separate projections for the TD-LTE and FDD-LTE sub-markets from 2012 through to 2017. Historical figures are also presented for 2010 and 2011, along with vendor market share data.
Driven by large scale TDD spectrum availability and the technology’s lower deployment costs, the industry witnessed several prominent TD-LTE network deployments in late 2011 and early 2012, including Softbank in Japan, Etisalat Mobily and STC in Saudi Arabia, and Bharti Airtel in India. More recently, in October 2012, the TD-LTE ecosystem received a major boost when China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that the entire 190 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5/2.6 GHz band will be allocated for TD-LTE deployments in China, which harmonizes its TDD spectrum with Japan and the US, two major LTE markets.
These developments could allow the TD-LTE ecosystem to reach significant economies of scale, boosting further infrastructure and device investments in TD-LTE technology.

20130430 SoftBank、Sprintについての会見。質疑最終部分と囲み [Tamotsu Hashimoto YouTube channel, May 1, 2013]

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son arguing against Dish Network counteroffer to acquire Sprint.

Sprint shareholders approve $21 6 billion deal with SoftBank [KansasCityNews YouTube channel, news article and video on June 25, video published via YouTube on Aug 13, 2013]

By combining their interests, Sprint and SoftBank hope to be able to negotiate better deals with network equipment companies, cellphone makers and lenders. Their aim is turning Sprint into a stronger competitor for Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint and SoftBank’s plans rely heavily on valuable wireless spectrum controlled by Clearwire Corp. Spectrum are the licensed airwaves that carry video, downloads and other data-heavy activity of smartphone customers. Sprint has a deal to buy the roughly half of Clearwire it doesn’t already own for $5 a share. The Clearwire merger is part of the plans Sprint and SoftBank submitted to the FCC’s review. Clearwire shareholders vote July 8 on the merger with Sprint. Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/25/4311893/sprint-shareholders-approve-deal.html#storylink=cpy

Sprint CFO: SoftBank deal lets us take Clearwire spectrum nationwide [FierceWireless, July 30, 2013]

Sprint (NYSE:S) will be able to deploy Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum for TD-LTE service on a nationwide basis now that it is flush with fresh capital from SoftBank, which now controls 78 percent of Sprint, according to Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer. Sprint formally took control of Clearwire earlier this month.
Steve Elfman, president of network operations at Sprint, noted during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call that Sprint now plans to deploy Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum on all 38,000 of its planned Network Vision cell sites and even more sites than that in a nationwide rollout. Previously, Sprint had said it would use Clearwire’s spectrum as a “hotspot” LTE network to offload traffic in urban markets.
In an interview with FierceWireless, Euteneuer said SoftBank’s $21.6 billion acquisition–which includes $5 billion in new capital and allowed Sprint to buy Clearwire–spurred Sprint to make the shift in strategy. The move will let Sprint add more capacity to its own FDD-LTE network, which it is still in the process of being built out. Euteneuer noted that Sprint and Clearwire originally planned to deploy Clearwire’s spectrum on around 5,000 cell sites as an offload network in urban markets. Those plans are still proceeding this year, but Sprint now wants to expand that to improve the customer experience.
“Now that we own 100 percent of Clearwire, with the help of SoftBank, we said, how do we take full advantage of the 2.5 GHz spectrum?” Euteneuer said. “The best way to do that is to have it fully integrated with the rest of your spectrum capabilities. And to do that you really need to put it on every tower.”
The Sprint CFO said because of the weaker propagation characteristics of 2.5 GHz, Sprint will deploy small cells and other sites beyond the 38,000 Network Vision sites the company has mapped out. He said it is unclear at this point if the nationwide deployment of Clearwire’s spectrum will be finished by the end of 2014. Clearwire commands around 160 MHz of spectrum in the top 100 markets.
It is unclear exactly how many TD-LTE cell sites using Clearwire’s spectrum will be online by year-end. Iyad Tarazi, head of network development and integration for Sprint, recently told CNET that Sprint will have 5,000 Clearwire sites on air by year-end, but on Tuesday Elfman was less specific, and said “we’ll have several thousand sites up this year because of the work that Clearwire was doing before us.”
“We are working with Clearwire on plans and will share more soon,” Sprint spokeswoman Roni Singleton said in a follow-up statement.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the deployment of a nationwide LTE network on 2.5 GHz will help give Sprint “competitive parity” with its rivals. “And the important thing in terms of what we believe will be a better, a superior network experience will depend upon how quickly we roll out the 2.5 [GHz spectrum], because that will give us extraordinary capacity and some speed and performance advantages in the market,” he said. …

Xiaomi CEO: Don’t call us China’s Apple [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 15, 2013]

Aug. 15 – China’s Xiaomi has sparked a frenzy with a low-cost smartphone that may help the tech firm widen its lead over Apple in the local market — but CEO Lei Jun says it has very different ambitions.

China’s Tencent tops leaderboard, but rivals loom [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 15, 2013]

Aug. 15 – China’s biggest Internet firm, Tencent, has been signing up users and burning up the stock charts. But its recent results point to a tougher future marked by higher costs and tougher competition.

WeChat, Made-in-China Messaging App Grows in Popularity [CCTV News YouTube channel, July 30, 2013]

As SMS messaging continues to grow, more and more players has entered this competitive space. One of those grabbing a bigger and bigger share of this market is the App – WeChat – owned by the Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. WeChat is currently the number one messaging App in China. Follow us on Twitter/Facebook/WeChat @CCTVNEWS

Tencent Corporate Video [Alison Lee YouTube channel, Aug 6, 2013]

 


The global forces behind the overall setup of Chinese Internet giants:

China’s doors may be closed to social network company Facebook, but for its pre-IPO investor DST Global, the gates are wide open.
As a result, the firm has managed to invest about $1.5 billion into China-based companies over the past four years, translating into around half the amount of capital it has invested worldwide, Partner John Lindfors told Venture Capital Dispatch.
Unlike some foreign investors, DST Global is happy to take a minority shareholding in portfolio companies, and being a late-stage investor with the ability to write bigger checks, it has also encountered less competition among China-focused investors when targeting new deals.
“We don’t want to take control. If you think about it, some of the most successful companies have been run by their owners. We’re trying to find the next Bill Gates, and back him,” said Lindfors.
DST Global counts Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and online retailer Jingdong Mall as part of its Asian portfolio. DST, alongside other private equity firms like Silver Lake agreed to buy shares in Alibaba at a tender offer of $1.6 billion in 2011. That same year, DST Global also participated in a $1.5 billion third round of funding in Jingdong, with media reports stating that DST bought a 5% share in the online retailer for $500 million.
Although DST Global spent around $1.5 billion on both of those deals, said Lindfors, he noted that the firm is also “happy” to invest far less in a deal, even from $50 million, as deal sizes in China can often be smaller due to the general market size.
Other firms active in China’s Internet space include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, which typically target lesser-sized deals than DST Global, opening the playing field for the Russian investment firm.  In fact, KPCB China Investment Partner Wei Zhou last year told Venture Capital Dispatch that it had even started investing in pre-Series A deals.
DST Global, headed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, expects to invest in a “few” more deals in the next year or two across China’s Internet sector, specifically in e-commerce and mobile Internet, on expectations that growing domestic consumption and increasing users of mobile devices will bolster growth in these areas, said Lindfors.
“We see an explosion of smartphone usage,” said Lindfors. Indeed, industry insiders, including Kai Fu Lee, founder of Chinese investment firm Innovation Works, predict China will have 500 million smartphone users by the end of this year, jumping up from the current 330 million.
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, DST Global has invested in the likes of Twitter and now-Nasdaq-listed Facebook–which faces restricted use in China–and manages three funds. Last year, Bloomberg reported that DST Global was raising $1 billion for a new technology fund, and separately reported that DST Global I achieved an annual 151% gross internal rate of return. Lindfors declined to comment on the firm’s funds.
DST Global likes other countries across Asia such as Indonesia and India, but for the meantime, opportunities are too early stage, said Lindfors, who previously worked at investment bank Goldman Sachs.
DST Global, which has an Asia-based office in Hong Kong, was set up by entrepreneur Milner, and is best known for investing $200 million in Facebook in 2009, and then a subsequent round in 2011 worth $500 million with Goldman Sachs.

Milner Discusses Social Networking Companies, Facebook: Video [Bloomberg YouTube channels, March 23, 2012]

Yuri Milner, chief executive officer of Digital Sky Technologies, talks with Bloomberg’s Cris Valerio about his company’s investment strategy in social-networking companies like Facebook Inc. Digital Sky is a privately held company investing in Internet related companies. Bloomberg’s Betty Liu also speaks.

2012 – My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow – Mr. Yuri Milner [PresidentialConf YouTube channel, June 24, 2012]

The fourth Israeli Presidential Conference, Facing Tomorrow 2012. Plenary: My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow. Speaker: Mr. Yuri Milner.

Encouraging Innovation – Yuri Milner at European Zeitgeist 2011 [zeitgeistminds YouTube channel, May 17, 2011]

Yuri Milner talks about his primary aims, which include finding investors for new businesses and to encouraging innovation. He calls social a dominant theme and says that innovation happens when there is concentration and a critical mass.

Юрий Мильнер с 2005 года началась эра социального Интернета [Umid Matnazarov YouTube channel, Sept 20, 2011]

Президент компании Digital Sky Technologies Юрий Мильнер – член президентской комиссии по модернизации и технологическому развитию экономики. В интервью “Вестям” он рассказал о направлениях работы комиссии и о тенденциях развития Интернета.

Alibaba Said to Have Applied for HK Listing [The China Perspective, July 23, 2013]

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China’s dominant e-commerce service provider, has lodged its application for listing at the Hong Kong stock exchange aimed at raising up to $20 billion, Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily reported. The company is expected to float in October with a valuation of $100 billion. Approximately $7 billion from the money raised will be used to buy back Alibaba’s share owned by Yahoo! Inc (Nasdaq: YHOO), the source said. Alibaba delisted its B2B site Alibaba.com a year ago in preparation for the initial public offering of the group as a whole. Its Taobao.com is China’s top C2C site; its Tmall.com is China’s top B2C site; its Alipay is China’s top third party billing service provider. Japan’s Softbank is Alibaba’s largest shareholder, holding a 35% stake; Yahoo owns 23%, Alibaba’s management owns 24.7%; some private equities and institutional investors own 10.3%; its founder Jack Ma owns 7%.

Masayoshi Son [Wikipedia]

Masayoshi Son (Japanese: 孫 正義 Hepburn: Son Masayoshi?, Korean: 손정의 Son Jeong-ui; born August 11, 1957) is a Japanese businessman and the founder and current chief executive officer of SoftBank, the chief executive officer of SoftBank Mobile, and current chairman of Sprint Corporation. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth is $8.1 billion as of 2011 and he is the second richest man in Japan,[1] despite having the distinction of losing the most money in history (approximately $70 billion during the dot com crash of 2000). [2] Forbes also describes him as a philanthropist.

Masayoshi Son is known for his extreme persistence to achieve his business goals. As example, when Japan’s Post and Telecommunications Ministry denied his application for a particular telecommunications license, he is reported[3][4] to have threatened to set himself on fire inside the Ministry if his company is not awarded the desired license (however, he is reported[5] not have brought any fuel along to back up his threat).

Former Amazon manager takes Chinese e-commerce company global [GeekWire, Aug 16, 2013]

Watch out, Amazon.com. A Chinese e-commerce company is out to redefine notions of customer service. If you think free shipping in two days is fast, how about in three hours?
In cities across China, customers can order everything from fresh produce to a new laptop, get it delivered for free the same day, pay cash on delivery and even refuse the goods at the door if they fail to meet expectations.
It’s all part of a strategy of JD.com (formerly 360buy) to become China’s largest e-commerce company and expand globally. China’s booming and highly competitive e-commerce market gets more interesting all the time, and JD.com is a major player to watch.
JD.com stands for parent company Jingdong, which has grown to become China’s largest online company that sells directly to consumers, with 100 million registered users, 5 million orders a day, and a whopping 60 billion RMB in sales ($10 billion) in 2012. The company rebranded itself earlier this year and may be planning a U.S. IPO.
Jingdong Vice President and General Manager Shi Tao, who spent more than three years working for Amazon China, visited Seattle this week to introduce the company and meet with prospective customers and partners.
JD.com operates differently than its major competitor, Alibaba’s Tmall, in that Jingdong spent years building its own network of warehouses and fulfillment centers, allowing it to manage its own delivery rather than simply matching buyers and sellers or relying on third parties to ship the goods.
“Chinese consumers want to shop on the platform with the best experience, especially shipping and post-sales customer services,” Shi said. In May Jingdong introduced nighttime and three-hour delivery services in six Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan and Shenyang. The company offers same-day delivery in 27 major cities and next-day delivery in more than 150 cities across China.

Tmall is still the leading B2C company in China overall, with more than 51 percent of the market, compared to Jingdong’s 17 percent, according to iResearch. Amazon China has about 2 percent of that market.

China’s e-tailing industry has posted 120 percent annual growth since 2003, and online sales in China could reach $650 billion by 2020, according to McKinsey Global Institute.

What was not mentioned in the DST/Lindfors interview earlier:

DST has strong ties to
DST’s partners and employees
Goldman Sachs. Alexander Tamas
in 2008 and John Lindfors,
Goldman Sachs, joined DST in
employees include Rahul Mehta and
2011, DST has orchestrated an
brought Goldman Sachs into the
Goldman Sachs. The majority of
have previously worked at
joined DST from Goldman Sachs
a previous partner at
2010. Other ex-Goldman Sachs
Shou Zi Chew. In January
investment into Facebook and
deal.

From Digital Sky Technologies is …

Asia Awards: VC Deal of the Year – Xiaomi [Asian Venture Capital Journal, Dec 5, 2012]

Validation of Xiaomi’s approach was provided by Yuri Milner of DST Advisors who led a $216 million third round of funding in June – valuing the company at $4 billion – with Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC) also involved.

DST Founder Yuri Milner Invests in Xiaomi [Tech In Asia, Dec 23, 2011]

We already knew Xiaomi had scored $90 million RMB in new financing — they announced that at their press conference with China Unicom on Tuesday — but Lei Jun has now revealed on Weibo where at least some of that money came from: DST founder Yuri Milner.

Xiaomi’s market value could reach US$10bn after new financing [WantChinaTimes.com, July 28, 2013]

Xiaomi Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of own-brand budget smartphones, will soon launch another round of financing worth more than US$2 billion, with insiders suggesting the main investor will be Russian venture capital firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST), the Shanghai-based First Financial Daily reports.

Leading Chinese internet firm Tencent Holdings invested US$300 million in DST in April 2010 and would therefore become an indirect investor in Xiaomi, the report said, though both Tencent and Xiaomi have declined to comment.

Rumor: Tencent Invests in Xiaomi via Russian VC [Marbridge Consulting, July 23, 2013]

According to industry insiders, Beijing-based Android handset developer Xiaomi has secured a new round of funding exceeding USD 2 bln from Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent (0700.HK), with Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST) acting as an intermediary.

The latest round of funding values Xiaomi at approximately USD 10 bln.

Tencent Invests $300m in DST and Establishes Strategic Partnership [Tencent press release, April 12, 2010]

Tencent Holdings Limited (“Tencent” or the “Company”, SEHK 00700), a leading provider of Internet and mobile & telecommunications value-added services in China, and Digital Sky Technologies Limited (“DST”), one of the largest Internet companies in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets, today jointly announced that Tencent will invest approximately US$300 million in DST, thereby establishing a long-term strategic partnership between the two companies.
The aggregate consideration of approximately US$300 million, which will be paid in cash, gives Tencent approximately a 10.26% economic interest in DST upon completion of the transaction. Tencent will hold approximately 0.51% of the total voting power of DST and have the right to nominate one observer to the DST Board.
DST and Tencent will embark on a long-term partnership and co-operation as they seek to benefit from each other’s insights gained from their respective markets. DST’s deep understanding of the Russian Internet market, together with its leading brands such as Mail.ru, Odnoklassniki and VKontakte, will enable Tencent to benefit from the high growth of the Russian-speaking Internet market. At the same time, Tencent’s leading position in China will provide DST and its companies with unique and valuable operational insights and access to its regional network that can help DST further accelerate its growth path.
Chief Executive Officer of DST, Mr. Yuri Milner, said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Tencent as a shareholder in DST. This investment is a vote of confidence in DST from the market leader in China and one of the world’s most successful and dynamic Internet companies overall. Our teams share many common views and beliefs and a clear vision about the significant opportunities that lay ahead. We look forward to working together with Tencent and benefiting from their expertise as we both push forward with our plans to capitalize on this immense growth in our markets.”
President of Tencent, Mr. Martin Lau, said, “We are excited to enter into a long-term strategic partnership with DST, a key global Internet player and a leader in Russian-speaking Internet markets. The investment allows us to benefit from the fast-growing Internet market in Russia, as well as to leverage our technical and operational know-how to strengthen the leadership position of DST and explore new business opportunities in the Russian-speaking Internet markets.”
Details of the transaction can also be obtained from the statutory disclosure documents available on http://www.hkexnews.hk website and http://www.tencent.com/ir .
About Digital Sky Technologies
DST was founded in 2005 and is one of the largest Internet companies in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets and one of the leading investment groups globally to exclusively focus on internet related companies. DST, together with its affiliate DST Global, also hold stakes in Internet world leaders such as Facebook and Zynga. DST is a privately held company backed by leading Russian and Western financial institutions. For more information please visit http://www.dst-global.com .
About Tencent
Tencent aims to enrich the interactive online experience of Internet users in China by providing a comprehensive range of Internet and wireless value-added services. Through its various online platforms, including Instant Messaging QQ, web portal QQ.com, QQ Game portal, multi-media social networking service Qzone and wireless portal, Tencent services the largest online community in China and fulfills the user’s needs for communication, information, entertainment and e-Commerce on the Internet.
Tencent has three main streams of revenues: Internet value-added services, mobile and telecommunications value-added services and online advertising.
Shares of Tencent Holdings Limited are traded on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, under stock code 00700. The Company became one of the 43 constituents of the Hang Seng Index (HSI) on June 10, 2008. For more information, please visit http://www.tencent.com/ir .

Naspers makes strategic investment in DST [press release, July 14, 2010]

DST to assume full control of Mail.ru upon share swap with Naspers
Johannesburg and Moscow, 14 July 2010 – Naspers Limited (“Naspers”), the broad based international media group, and Digital Sky Technologies Limited (“DST”), one of the largest internet companies in the Russian-speaking markets, announces today that Naspers’s subsidiary Myriad International Holdings B.V. (“MIH”) will take a 28,7% stake in DST. The transaction will be effected by Naspers contributing its 39,3% stake in Mail.ru into DST and investing US$388m in cash. Concurrently, Mail.ru management and other minorities will also convert their shares into DST.
Upon the close of this transaction, DST will own over 99,9% of Mail.ru. Mail.ru is the leading communication and entertainment platform in the Russian-speaking internet world, with over 50m registered email accounts, leading market share in MMO games and one of the leading social networks in Russia.
Naspers and DST have worked closely together over the past three years as co-owners of Mail.ru and today’s transaction will enable them to further strengthen that relationship.
Chief Executive Officer of DST, Yuri Milner, said, “Naspers’s strategic insight has already proven to be valuable in our partnership and we welcome the expertise they will bring to DST. We are delighted to announce this transaction and look forward to creating further value through our relationship.”
Antonie Roux, head of Naspers’s internet operations, commented: “We have known DST and its management for years and we share a similar view and approach. We are excited to strengthen our partnership. This opportunity further expands our exposure to emerging markets and the fast-growing internet sector.”
About Digital Sky Technologies
DST was founded in 2005 and is one of the largest internet companies in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets and one of the leading investment groups globally to exclusively focus on internet related companies. DST, together with its affiliate DST Global, also holds stakes in internet world leaders such as Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. DST is a privately held company backed by leading international financial institutions and companies. For more information please visit http://www.dstglobal.com.
About Naspers
Naspers is a leading emerging market media group operating in 129 countries. It is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE), with an ADR (American Deposit Receipt) listing on the London Stock Exchange. The group’s principal operations are in internet platforms (focusing on commerce, communities, content, communication and games), pay-television and the provision of related technologies and print media (including publishing, distribution and printing of magazines, newspapers and books). The group’s most significant operations in emerging markets include South Africa and subSaharan Africa, China, Central and Eastern Europe, India, Brazil, Russia and Thailand. For more information visit http://www.naspers.com.

imageTencent (700 HK) [RHB OSK Securities (Thailand) report, Aug 15, 2013]

Internet – Online Games and Media
Market Cap: USD88,608m

Shareholders (%)
MIH China (Naspers)         33.9
Ma Huateng [Pony Ma]     10.2
JP Morgan                             4.5

Good WeChat progress. The pace of development on Tencent’s mobile social platform WeChat has exceeded our expectations since its launch. Monthly active users (MAU) breached 236m in 2Q13 (1Q13: 194m) while new services such as sticker sales, targeted ads and the first game released on the platform, TTAXC (天天爱消除), showed monetisation potential.

image

Online advertising is a major earnings driver at the gross profit level.

SWOT Analysis

image

Company Profile
Tencent is a leading internet conglomerate in China with operations in online games, social networks, advertising and e-commerce. The company operates leading online games in China while its mobile chat application, which has expanded globally, has a user base exceeding 300m.

Naspers Fact Sheet June 2013:

Business overview
Founded in 1915, Naspers is a leading multinational group of eCommerce and media platforms, with operations in more than 133 countries. Listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) since September 1994, it also has an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The group’s principal operations are in e-commerce, paytelevision & related technologies and print media. It also has minority investments in listed, integrated social-network platforms Tencent (SEHK 0700) and Mail.ru (LSE: MAIL).
The group focuses on attaining sustainable market positions in growing emerging markets which it believes to present above-average growth opportunities. These markets include South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, China, Brazil and the rest of Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East.

image

INTERNET
Naspers operates platforms that offer customers fast, intuitive and secure environments where they can communicate, participate, entertain and shop. The group’s e-commerce services include marketplaces, general and vertical e-tail, classifieds, lead-generation and payments.
Naspers major e-commerce operations are:
  • Allegro (97%), a leading e-commerce business in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • BuscaPé (95%), a major e-commerce platform in Brazil.
  • OLX (84%), a strong classifieds operator in a number of emerging markets.
Other investments include 36Boutiques, Avito, Brandsclub, Dealfish, Dubizzle, eMag, Fashion Days, Flipkart, Fixeads, ibibo Group, kalahari.com, Korbitec, LevelUp!, Markafoni, Movile, Netretail, OLX, PayU, PriceCheck, redBus, Ricardo, Sanook!, Souq, Sulit, Tokobagus, Travel Boutique Online and Trendsales.
Naspers also holds minority positions in:
  • Tencent (34%) – China’s largest and most used internet services platform.
  • Mail.ru Group [DST] (29%) – the leading internet company in Russian-speaking markets.

Naspers rides Tencent to Internet fortune [TechCentral (South Africa), Aug 31, 2012]

When Naspers stumbled on a little-known Chinese Internet company in 2001, it could not have dreamed that a US$32m investment would account for more than 80% of the media conglomerate’s R200bn market cap now.

Tencent Holdings is the largest Internet solutions provider in China and Naspers, which owns a 34% stake, is its largest shareholder. R4,8bn of Naspers CEO Koos Bekker’s personal fortune of R6bn in shares is linked to Tencent.

It [Naspers] has a market capitalisation of about $57bn and its total revenue for the year to 31 December 2011 was up by 45% to $4,4bn. Profit attributable to equity holders was $1,6bn — 27% higher year on year — and its profit for the second quarter of 2012 was up by 32%. The p:e ratio (share price compared with  its earnings) is 33.
Founded in November 1998, Ten­cent has become one of China’s largest and most widely used Internet service portals and, in 2004, it was listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
More than 50% of Tencent employees are research and development staff and the company has obtained patents relating to technology for instant messaging, e-commerce, online payment services, search engines, information security, gaming and more.
Its leading Internet platforms in China include instant messaging, social networking (with 580m active users) and a mobile chat and micro-blogging service known as Weixin. It is also the largest online gaming company in the world.


And the DST money is said to come from:

image
THE THREE KINGS & THEIR PRINCES(S)

“Larry Summers is ethically challenged.”
   Former Economist Colleagues

Larry Summers and his Facebook Friends conspire to undermine U.S. “checks & balances” and take control of the world economy by stealth, we believe.

First see a specially written article to understand very easily the whole affair with the judicial and other systems in U.S. in Facebook — a force for freedom perhaps, but at odds with the rule of law in the U.S. [Americans For Innovation (AFI) via Open Trial, July 26, 2013] from which I will include here only the following excerpts:

In the late 1990s Innovator Leader Technologies invented a technology we now call “social networking.” By the time they filed for their first patents in 2002, they had invested 145,000 man-hours and over $10 million. Literally within three months of Leader perfecting the lynch-pin of their invention, Mark Zuckerberg and his PayPal associates were in the market, on February 4, 2004. Zuckerberg claims to have done all the work himself in “one to two weeks” while chasing girls and studying for finals.

New evidence indicates he received Leader’s source code from a mole who was cooperating with Zuckerberg’s apparent mentor, James W. Breyer, of Accel Partners LLP and with Fenwick & West LLP, who was also Leader’s attorney at the same time. It appears that they were waiting for Leader to finish debugging its invention so that they could roll out the Harvard-boy-genius-Facebook-origins myth, with Zuckerberg in the leading role.

Not so coincidentally, Lawrence Summers was President of Harvard at the time. Summers arranged for the 19-year old Zuckerberg to get more Harvard Crimson news coverage than any world leader or event. Breyer was a big alumni contributor. PayPal COO, Reid Hoffman (later LinkedIn CEO) was coaching Zuckerberg and feeding him spending money, as was Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal. Tellingly, these three sold over $6 billion of their Facebook stock on Day 3 of the Facebook IPO, at the highest price anyone received for their stock before it crashed. Summers popped up in Silicon Valley before the IPO too—as “special advisor” to Instagram that sold their 13-man company to Facebook for $1 billion. Could it be that their CEO, Matt Cohler was able to exert some influence over Zuckerberg, as he knew about the theft of the Leader invention?

Forty-four months after filing for their patents, Leader received their first patent on November 21, 2006—U.S. Patent No. 7,139,761. On November 19, 2008, Leader filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook. Leader Technologies, Inc., v. Facebook, Inc., 08-cv-862-JJF-LPS (D.Del. 2008).

Current Federal Reserve Chairman candidate, Lawrence “Larry” Summers has mentored Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg since the early 1990’s. He also mentored Russian Yuri Milner, who has close ties to Russian oligarch Alisher Asmanov and the Kremlin. Summers was one of the Harvard-wunderkind architects of the disastrous Russian voucher system in the early 1990’s while Chief Economist for the World Bank. Milner is Facebook’s second largest shareholder and is partnered with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. With Goldman’s and Morgan’s help, Milner moved billions of dollars into Facebook pre-IPO. Curiously, Cohler helped Hoffman start LinkedIn in 2004. There appears to have been a feeding frenzy surrounding the debugging of Leader’s invention.

This occurred after the US taxpayers bailed out Goldman and Morgan Stanley in 2008. To this day no one knows the origins of those funds, which pumped Facebook’s valuation up to $100 billion. Milner is also connected with Bank Menatep, which was caught laundering $10 billion in Russian mob funds and diverting $4 billion in IMF funds. Summers’ conduct here has never been scrutinized, even though he was appointed to oversee the bailout soon after Barack Obama was elected President. See Congressional Briefings.

Georgia [Beardslee] interviews the real inventor of social networking, Michael McKibben, CEO of Leader Technologies, Columbus, Ohio: GEORGIA! KSCO AM 1080, Apr. 10, 2013 Michael McKibben interview, CEO of Leader Technologies, Inc. [leadertv100 YouTube channel, April 12, 2013]

Georgia: “One of the most interesting, complicated and disturbing stories of the decade.” On April 10, 2013, news-talk show host Georgia Beardslee interviewed Michael McKibben, CEO of Leader Technologies, Columbus, Ohio on her weekly radio show GEORGIA! KSCO 1080 (Santa Cruz, CA) about Leader’s battle with Facebook over Leader’s U.S. Patent No. 7,139,761. The interview covers (1) background on the LEADER V. FACEBOOK patent infringement lawsuit; (2) the suspicious split verdict; (3) the Harvard back story; (4) the Federal Circuit judge’s stock in Facebook; (5) the refusal of the Federal Circuit court to disclose their Facebook stock holdings; (6) the likely undue influence of the federal courts by financiers, bankers, underwriters, Silicon Valley venture capitalists; (7) the questionable conduct of the U.S. Patent Office; (8) the judges’ ignoring of Zuckerberg’s concealment of 28 hard drives and Harvard emails; (9) the Facebook-doctored trial evidence; (10) the ruling against Leader without a shred of evidence; (11) the involvement of billions of pre-IPO investments in Facebook by Russian companies, (12) Goldman Sachs’ and Obama bailout director Larry Summers’ involvement, and now (13) the interference of the White House at the U.S. Patent Office. This case appears to have exposed an underbelly of corruption at the national and international levels that is much worse and even more organized than we might have otherwise suspected. While the video plays, pages from Leader’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Leader Technologies, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 12-617 (U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 16, 212) will display, page by page (41 pages not counting the appendices). This document can be obtained at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/113545399/P… For background facts, see alsohttp://americans4innovation.blogspot…. This broadcast and these notes may contain opinion. As with all opinion, the information should not be relied upon without independent verification.
Georgia: “One of the most interesting, complicated and disturbing stories of the decade.” On April 10, 2013, news-talk show host Georgia Beardslee interviewed Michael McKibben, CEO of Leader Technologies, Columbus, Ohio on her weekly radio show GEORGIA! KSCO 1080 (Santa Cruz, CA) about Leader’s battle with Facebook over Leader’s U.S. Patent No. 7,139,761.

The interview covers

  1. background on the LEADER V. FACEBOOK patent infringement lawsuit;
  2. [18:30] the suspicious split verdict;
  3. [34:25] the Harvard back story;
  4. the Federal Circuit judge’s stock in Facebook;
  5. the refusal of the Federal Circuit court to disclose their Facebook stock holdings;
  6. the likely undue influence of the federal courts by financiers, bankers, underwriters, Silicon Valley venture capitalists;
  7. the questionable conduct of the U.S. Patent Office;
  8. the judges’ ignoring of Zuckerberg’s concealment of 28 hard drives and Harvard emails;
  9. the Facebook-doctored trial evidence;
  10. the ruling against Leader without a shred of evidence;
  11. the involvement of billions of pre-IPO investments in Facebook by Russian companies,
  12. Goldman Sachs’ and Obama bailout director Larry Summers’ involvement, and now
  13. the interference of the White House at the U.S. Patent Office. This case appears to have exposed an underbelly of corruption at the national and international levels that is much worse and even more organized than we might have otherwise suspected.
While the video plays, pages from Leader’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Leader Technologies, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 12-617 (U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 16, 212) will display, page by page (41 pages not counting the appendices). This document can be obtained at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/113545399/P…
For background facts, see also http://americans4innovation.blogspot….
This broadcast and these notes may contain opinion. As with all opinion, the information should not be relied upon without independent verification.

Obama is protecting his 47 million Facebook “likes” at the expense of the U.S. Constitution [Georgia! KSCO-AM1080, May 31, 2013]

image(My collaboration with a listener, 5/31/2013):Washington D.C. is toxic and fiendishly deceptive these days. Speaker John Boehner described the flow of scandal developments as “Drip, drip, drip.” I take this to mean that the Deception Tank is full and starting to leak. (At last!)
imageInvestigators are now uncovering common people driving these scandals. The Leader v. Facebook property rights debacle seems to have been another one of their pet deception projects. Remember, Facebook was judged guilty on 11 of 11 counts of stealing the inventions of Columbus-based innovator Leader Technologies, Inc., yet the federal courts ruled for Facebook anyway. They had to ignore the Consitution to do it.
Many people lusted after Leader’s innovations that we know as “social networking.” Obama and his handlers needed it to raise election dollars and polish Obama’s persona many times a day. Larry Summers, Accel Partners and the PayPal Mafia wanted it as their global financial transactions platform, Zuckerberg and his fellow thieves wanted it as a global voyeur platform to invade everyone’s privacy, the Kremlin wanted it as a money-laundering vehicle, James W. Breyer wanted it as his ‘pump and dump” stock manipulation scheme, the greedy law firms wanted it to rake in fees. And, at least two Federal Circuit Judges Alan D. Lourie and Kimberly A. Moore were beefing up their financial portfolios with the pump of their undisclosed Facebook shares at the IPO. Wow, that’s a lot of interests all lusting after Michael McKibben’s innovation! (I have interviewed him on this show twice.)
Beware of McBee Strategic lobbyist Jeff Markey bearing gifts
Americans for Innovation has smoked out intimate, undisclosed relationships among Facebook’s chief litigator in Leader v. Facebook, Cooley Godward LLP’s Michael Rhodes, Obama’s Justice Department Cooley “Advisor,” Donald K. Stern, the failed $1.6 billion BrightSource Obama “green” stimulus project, big Facebook IPO winner J.P. Morgan Chase and McBee Strategic’s Steve McBee and Jeff Markey.
This is so convoluted I asked by resident artist to do me a diagram of these relationships. No wonder Washington is so confused. It’s intentional on the part of some morally bankrupt people and organizations (click to enlarge):

image

Figure 1: Conflicts of Interest Map among Barack Obama, Executive Branch, Justice Department,  Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, Michael Rhodes, Donald K. Stern, McBee Strategic, Steve McBee, Jeff Markey, Judge Leonard P. Stark, Judge Alan D. Lourie, Judge Kimberly A. Moore, Leader v. Facebook, BrightSource, Solyndra,Tesla Motors, Solar City, Elon Musk and 47 million “likes” on Facebook.
McBee Strategic and their lobbyist Jeff Markey have lied at least twice on disclosures that we have already identified. On their BrightSource Senate disclosure on 11/20/2009 they answered “No” to affiliated organizations that actively participate in their activities. This was false since on 4/23/2009 they had publicly announced their alliance with Facebook’s attorney Cooley Godward Kronish LLP specifically about helping companies access Obama’s “green energy” money. That’s LIE #1. Then, we discover that Jeff Markey is accustomed to lying whenever it is to his benefit. On 4/30/2004 Markey lied on a financial disclosure that he was an Executive for SAIC in an apparent deception to gain access to the National Congressional Republican Committee. That’s LIE #2.
Markey clearly plays on both sides of the ball in Washington. While he is busy spending Obama’s billions, he donates mostly to Republicans, including MITCH MCCONNELL, ROB PORTMAN, ARLEN SPECTER, LINDSEY GRAHAM. Republicans beware of this wolf in sheep’s clothing. Such cynical parlaying of contacts just to keep one’s job in Washington is why Washington is failing. These people are there for the wrong reasons. They need to get real jobs. Professional bureaucrats and politicians (and the lobbyists who feed on the rotted meat) are the death knell of a democracy.
While we’re on the subject of lying to Congress, then Magistrate Judge Leonard P. Stark told Congress in his 4/22/2010 confirmation hearing that he would follow the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Appeals Courts. However, three months later he ignored that promise and even after instructing the jury to do so, he ignored the Supreme Court’s Pfaff test of on-sale bar evidence, as well as the Federal Circuit’s Group One tests. Obama and his Facebook “friends” just seem to lie all the time.
Don’t believe me? Check out the source material yourself. Here are some of them we downloaded quickly. Please share more as you find your own information.

Detailed information is available in Mark Zuckerberg used Leader white paper to build Facebook [Origin of Facebook technology?, Aug 27, 2011] post, from which I will include just the most relevant excerpt in my opinion:


The court documents reveal how Mark Zuckerberg was able to accelerate from 0-to-60 mph in “one or two weeks” while studying for his Harvard finals to start Facebook on February 4, 2004. The idea for the student facebook was already known at Harvard from three well-documented sources prior to Mr. Zuckerberg: (1) the Winklevoss twins’ ConnectU,[1] (2) Aaron Greenspan’s houseSYSTEM,[2] and (3) from the Harvard computer administration.[3] And, if Leader Technologies (“Leader”) is right, Mr. Zuckerberg lifted the ideas for the structure of the platform from Leader Technologies’ patent pending white papers, one published on October 22, 2003, along with Leader’s first patent publication on June 24, 2004—exactly when Mr. Zuckerberg says “Steven Dawson Haggerty” was hired to build the “groups functionality” which is disclosed in the Leader patent publication.[4][5][6][7]

 


More on Yuri Milner
:

Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga: I Love Yuri Milner [PandoDaily YouTube channel, July 19, 2012]

From the Wikipedia article: The company develops social games that work stand-alone on mobile phone platforms such as Apple iOS and Android and on the Internet through its website, Zynga.com, and social networking websites such as Facebook, Google+, and Tencent.[5] Zynga states its mission as “connecting the world through games.”[6]

Russian Billionaire buys $100 Million U S Mansion Yuri Milner [estarcobusiness10 YouTube channel, (originally made the news on March 31, 2011) April 2, 2012]

Home Brings $100 Million [WSJ.com, March 31, 2013]

A Russian billionaire investor paid $100 million for a French chateau-style mansion in Silicon Valley, marking the highest known price paid for a single-family home in the U.S.
The purchase of the 25,500-square-foot home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., underscores the strength of some luxury properties in an otherwise depressed housing market.
The buyer, Yuri Milner, 49, who heads Digital Sky Technologies and whose investments include Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc., had no immediate plans to move into the home, said a spokesman.
Mr. Milner is the stocky founder of DST, a Moscow-based fund that’s made a splash in Silicon Valley via its investments. Its first in the U.S. was a $200 million check for Facebook in 2009. His primary residence is in Moscow, where he lives with his wife and two children.
The sky seemed to be the limit for Mr. Milner’s new house, a symmetrical limestone mansion with San Francisco Bay views that was inspired by 18th-century French chateaux.

The home has indoor and outdoor pools, a ballroom and a wine cellar. The grounds include a tennis court and inside are chandeliers and a frieze around a skylight in the entryway, among other details.

Mr. Milner bought the home through a limited-liability company; the home wasn’t on the market, according to people familiar with the deal.
Mr. Milner, who studied theoretical physics in Moscow and attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, began his career in Moscow in the 1990s. By 1999, he had focused on the Internet after dabbling in everything from private equity to a macaroni-and-cheese factory. …


Larry Summers
:

The Asian Financial Forum (AFF) 2013 welcomed Professor Lawrence H Summers, one of America’s most influential economists, who served as Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton and Director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. In this AFF luncheon on day one of the 14-15 January event – Prof Summers discussed potential short-term and long-term solutions for the global economy, and the unique opportunities presented by low interest rates.
Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols reports on President Barack Obama’s search for the next leader of the Federal Reserve, his personal relationships with Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen and the prospects of a confirmation battle for whoever is the candidate. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”
There is some serious talk in Washington about appointing Larry Summers as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve. Obama has been out on the stump praising Summers, but when you look at his record, there isn’t anything worthy of praise on this guy’s resume’. Ring of Fire host Mike Papantonio talks about the disaster that is Larry Summers with economist Dean Baker.


Alisher Usmanov
(+Irina Viner):

This year’s Sunday Times Rich List has been revealed — with Arsenal FC 30 per cent shareholder Alisher Usmanov, who hails from Uzbekistan leading the way with a fortune of GBP 13.3 billion. Usmanov is married to a Jewish lady – Irina Viner, who is the Russian national team gymnastics coach.

BBC News – Sunday Times Rich List: Alisher Usmanov [BBCWorldNewsWatch YouTube channel, April 21, 2013]

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has topped the Sunday Times ranking of the wealthiest people in Britain and Ireland with a fortune of £13.3bn. The wealthiest British-born person in the list is the Duke of Westminster in eighth place with £7.8bn from property.

Moshiri Becomes Billionaire Helping Usmanov [jagan washpost YouTube channel, July 9, 2012]

Bloomberg’s Matthew G. Miller reports on Farhad Moshiri, an Iranian-born accountant who is now a billionaire after a two-decade alliance with Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s current richest man. Miller speaks on Bloomberg Television’s "InBusiness With Margaret Brennan."

Russia’s Usmanov – Fed Tapering ‘Vital & well-balanced’ (CNBC) [gmshadowtraders YouTube channel, July 11, 2013]

Full video here http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000177176 Alisher Usmanov, founder of USM Holdings, says that the decisions taken by the Fed regarding money and derivatives are “vital” to the global economy and the decision on tapering is “well-balanced”.

Full video: Russia’s Richest Man Supports Fed [CNBC, June 20, 2013]

Форум в Давосе. Интервью А.Усманова [Моше Кац YouTube channel, Jan 23, 2013]

Алишер Усманов одобряет планы, поставленные российскими властями, которые заключаются прежде всего в диверсификации экономики, уменьшении зависимости от сырьевого сектора и развитии новых технологий. Все это позволит построить новую экономическую действительность. Потому бизнесмен уверен: вероятность, что Россия избежит любого из обозначенных на форуме негативных путей, достаточно высока. Интервью главы холдинга “Металлоинвест” Алишера Усманова телеканалу “Россия 24”.

Алишер Усманов: на Россию надвигается этап сложностей [Моше Кац YouTube channel, June 23, 2013]

Инициативы президента Владимира Путина глазами одного из крупнейших бизнесменов России. Предложения и темы ПМЭФ-2013 в интервью телеканалу “Россия 24” комментирует учредитель USM Holdings Алишер Усманов. Он предположил, что мир может находиться в середине кризиса, начавшегося в 2008-ом году. В таком случае выводы, сделанные на форуме, дадут реальный шанс преодолеть предстоящие трудности. Также Алишер Усманов дал ответ на вопрос, который активно обсуждался участниками форума: замедление экономического роста – это миф или реальность?

Без галстука с Ириной Винер [Russia24TV YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2012]

Те, кто хорошо знает Ирину Винер, говорят: “женщина странная”. Добилась всего на самом высоком уровне, уважаемая, заслуженная, доктор, профессор – и все же никак не успокоится: что-то планирует, строит, генерирует новые идеи. Тренер сборных России и Узбекистана по художественной гимнастике стала героем нового выпуска программы “Без галстука”.

Russian Billionaire Usmanov Bets $100M on Apple’s Rebound [Bloomberg YouTube channel, April 30, 2013]

In today’s “Movers & Shakers,” Bloomberg’s Betty Liu reports that Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has bet big on Apple, investing $100 million on a rebound of the company’s stock. She speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.” … He is the world 35th richest person with just under 20 billion dollars.
Алишер Усманов прокомментировал ситуацию в “Норильском никеле”. В эксклюзивном интервью телеканалу “Россия 24” известный российский бизнесмен сказал, что не хочет участвовать в олигархических сговорах. Кроме того, он предостерег инвесторов от ошибочных выводов: по мнению совладельца крупных предприятий, разочаровываться в Facebook рано. Алишер Усманов рассказал также о том, что планирует увеличить свою долю в социальной сети “ВКонтакте”.

USM Holdings is a leading global investor in companies in the digital space. Its deep understanding of the internet sector has played a key role in the success of its businesses and the development and diversification of
internet services.

USM Holdings is a major shareholder in Mail.ru Group, with a 17.9% economic stake and 58.1% voting power, and the largest investor in the Digital Sky Technologies (DST ) family of funds, an investment company specialising in late stage, high growth private businesses in the global internet sector. USM Holdings recognises the future growth prospects of e-commerce, social networks, online video, online gaming, mobile internet and online advertising.

MAIL.RU GROUP
Founded in 1998, Mail.Ru Group is the number one internet company in the high growth Russian-speaking internet market reaching c. 85% of Russian users on a monthly basis. It is the world’s fourth largest internet company based on total page views, with a global monthly audience of 97.4 million users.
In line with its ‘communitainment’ strategy, the company is moving rapidly to build an integrated communications and entertainment platform. Mail.Ru Group comprises the most popular Russian free email service Mail.Ru and two popular Russian-language internet instant messengers. The company operates two leading Russian social networks, My World and Odnoklassniki.ru, and owns a 40% stake in VKontakte, Russia’s number one social networking site. Mail.Ru Group is also a leading player in the online games market.
In 2010, Mail.Ru Group successfully completed an IPO on the London Stock Exchange worth c. US$92 million.
Mail.Ru Group’s aggregate segment revenue in 2012 was RUR 21,151 million, representing a 39% year-on-year increase.
PORTFOLIO INVESTMENTS WITH DST
DST was the group’s first internet investment. In 2008, DST became a backer of Facebook based on a firm belief in the strong growth potential of the internet, and particularly social networking. The current market valuation of Facebook exceeds the initial value at the time of DST ’s entry by approximately seven times.
In 2009, DST spun off DST Russia, later renamed Mail.Ru Group (see above), which is a separate business at present.
Through DST and Mail.Ru Group investments, USM Holdings gained international prominence with stakes in some of the world’s leading and most valuable internet assets, including Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Zynga, Spotify, Zocdoc, Airbnb, Alibaba and 360buy.

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USM Holdings is a major investor in some of Russia’s leading telecoms businesses. It is ideally positioned to leverage its assets
and experience in the rapidly growing market
for 4G and other mobile services.

USM Holdings owns 82% of Garsdale, a telecoms holding, which in turn controls 50% plus 100 shares of MegaFon, Russia’s second largest mobile operator; 100% of Yota, a pioneering international 4G services provider; and 51% of Peter-Service, a billing services company. Through Garsdale and MegaFon, USM Holdings owns 50% of Euroset, Russia’s number one mobile retailer.
MEGAFON
Formed in 1993, MegaFon is Russia’s second largest mobile operator in terms of revenue and subscribers and the market leader in the mobile data segment.
With over 33,000 employees, MegaFon is a leading universal telecommunications provider with c. 62.7 million wireless subscribers in the Russian Federation as of 31 March 2013. The company offers a full range of voice, data and other mobile and fixed-line telecommunications services, including digital TV and IP telephony, to retail customers, businesses, government clients and telecommunications services providers. MegaFon operates one of the most extensive 3G networks in Russia and renders a wide range of mobile services in Tajikistan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The company has a strong track record in innovation and pioneered the introduction of a number of services in Russia, including the launch of MMS and mobile TV in 2004, free incoming calls in 2006, 3G services in 2008, significant reduction in roaming charges in 2011, and 4G/ Long Term Evolution (LTE ) services in 2012.
Through MegaLabs, a fully owned subsidiary, the company develops a variety of new projects in the promising value-added service (VAS) market in a number of areas, including content and media, mobile finance, mobile advertising, cloud and IT solutions, M2M, e-government and m-health.
MegaFon owns a large distribution network. As of the end of 2012, it included 1,785 owned and operated stores and 1,757 third-party points of sale operating solely under the MegaFon brand. In addition, its acquisition in late 2012 of a 25% stake in Euroset, the largest wireless mobile equipment retailer in Russia, is expected to enhance the company’s initiatives focused on improving the quality of MegaFon’s subscriber base and broadening the marketing of its products.
In November 2012, the company listed c. US$1.7 billion worth of shares in an IPO. The company’s shares are traded on MICEX-RTS , and its GDR s on the London Stock Exchange.
In 2012, MegaFon’s revenue grew 12.4% year-on-year to RUR 272.6 billion. The company demonstrated a strong performance in Q1 2013, achieving consolidated revenue growth of 7.6% y-o-y to RUR 67.7 billion.
YOTA
Yota was founded in 2007. It is the leader of the mobile broadband sector in Russia. It was the first company to offer its subscribers access to services based on WiMAX and LTE technologies, and is one of the leading companies in this segment globally.
In 2013, Yota was divided into two companies: Scartel, which is involved in construction and management of 4G infrastructure, and Yota (Yota LLC), a mobile operator.
Scartel operates LTE networks and provides access to its networks for telecom operators using a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model. It was the first company worldwide to launch LTE-Advanced technology for a commercial network, enabling data transfer rates of up to 300 Mbps. The company’s LTE networks are currently available in 31 regions and more than 100 cities in Russia. Its total investments in LTE infrastructure in Russia to date exceed US$400 million and are set to reach US$1 billion by the end of 2014.
Yota provides communication services to its subscribers through Scartel’s platform. Yota owns an extensive retail and dealer network throughout Russia, offering its users a truly unlimited LTE experience, coupled with the provision of hardware and the highest level of customer service. At present, Yota services are available in more than 20 major cities in Russia.
Yota and Scartel are 100% owned by the telecoms holding Garsdale, which is part of USM Holdings.
EUROSET
Founded in 1997, Euroset is the largest mobile retail chain in Russia, with more than 5,000 outlets. Its stores offer a wide range of goods, such as handsets, accessories, tablets and netbooks; and services, such as mobile top-ups, repairs and financing.
Euroset is one of the best known brands in the Russian market for consumer goods and services. The retailer’s share of Russia’s mobile phone market is approximately 30%. The company operates in more than 1,500 towns and cities in Russia and Belarus, and attracts more than 40 million customers to its stores each month.
The company today is one of the largest Russian employers, providing jobs to over 30,000 people.
PETER-SERVICE
Peter-Service is the first Russian developer of billing systems for telecoms operators. It provides billing solutions along with product installation, integration and support services. The company has regional offices across Russia and in Ukraine. Since its establishment in 1992, Peter-Service has completed over 100 projects for more than 50 operators of fixed and mobile networks in 10 countries.

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USM Holdings owns 50% of UTH Russia, one of the country’s fastest growing commercial television broadcasters. The company aims
to capitalise on the expansion of the youth entertainment
market and the ever increasing interest
in youth lifestyle and wellbeing.

UTH RUSSIA
Through UTH Russia, USM Holdings owns some of the country’s most popular outlets in broadcast and digital media. Building the main framework on its two free-to-air channels – the Disney Channel and U channel – and the cable MUZ-TV channel, UTH Russia is on its way to becoming the leader in youth entertainment and lifestyle programming. U channel and the Disney Channel broadcast in more than 880 cities, and the company continues to expand its market share.
The UTH platform also houses the specialist online video service ClipYou, which offers licensed content from leading Russian and international music companies, including some of the top labels, such as Universal Music, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI.

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USM Holdings invests in a number of Russia’s steel and mining companies. It owns 100% of METALLOINVEST, a leading global iron ore
and hot briquetted iron (HBI) producer
and one of the regional steel producers.

METALLOINVEST
METALLOINVEST extracts and exploits iron ore from the second largest measured reserve base in the world (c. 14.9 billion tonnes).
In 2011, the company was the largest commercial iron ore producer in Russia/CIS and the fifth largest globally, the leading producer of pellets in Russia/CIS and the third largest globally, and the leading producer of merchant HBI globally.
The main production assets of the company are strategically located in the European part of Russia and the Urals.
The company is organised into three integrated operating segments focusing on mining operations, steel production and auxiliary businesses and other assets. The mining segment includes Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK, and the steel segment includes OE MK, Ural Steel and Ural Scrap Company. In addition to its mining and steel businesses, the company owns several supporting businesses and other assets that provide services and raw materials to the mining and steel segments.
Lebedinsky GOK is a leading manufacturer of iron ore products in Russia and operates as an integrated mining company whose assets comprise iron ore extraction facilities and secondary processing facilities, including beneficiation and secondary beneficiation plants, a pellet plant and two HBI plants.
Mikhailovsky GOK is the second largest iron ore extraction and processing operation in Russia, after Lebedinsky GOK. In 2014, Mikhailovsky GOK intends to finish construction of what is expected to be the largest pelletising plant in Russia, with a capacity of five million tonnes a year.
OEMK is one of the most modern steel mills in Russia, employing Midrex DRI technology. The unique application and properties of the steel and finished products from OE MK have ensured stable demand in Russia, the CIS and worldwide. It is located close to Lebedinsky GOK, which supplies OEMK with high grade iron ore concentrate through a 26-kilometre slurry pipeline. OEMK sells products for engineering, automotive, pipe, hardware and bearing industries in the domestic market, and exports its high quality pipe and cast billets and long rolled products such as wire coil and bar to foreign customers.
Ural Steel is a major manufacturer of strips for large diameter pipes, pipe billets, bridge construction steel and heavy plates. Ural Scrap Company purchases, processes and delivers ferrous scrap to METALLOINVEST’s steel producing assets.
Baikal Mining Company, a subsidiary of METALLOINVEST, holds the licence for the development of the Udokan copper deposit, which has a mineral resources base of c. 2.7 billion tonnes. Udokan is one of the world’s largest undeveloped deposits of copper amounting to c. 25.7 million tonnes of metal. The licence covers 60% of copper deposits in Russia.
With a 21% holding, METALLOINVEST is a major shareholder of the Canadian company Nautilus Minerals. Nautilus Minerals commercially explores the seafloor for massive sulphide systems, which are a potential source of high grade copper, gold, zinc and silver. The company is developing the world’s first seafloor copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea.
METALLOINVEST has a shareholding of approximately 5% in Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel (18% of the market) and palladium (41%), as well as a leading producer of platinum (11%) and copper (2%). Norilsk Nickel also produces multiple by-products, such as cobalt, rhodium, silver, gold, iridium, ruthenium, selenium, tellurium and sulphur.
In 2012, METALLOINVEST’s net income grew by 20.4% year-on-year to US$ 1.7 billion.

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USM Holdings – Alisher Usmanov Founder of USM Holdings [June 12, 2013]

Mr. Usmanov is an investor, industrialist and philanthropist.
He created and built up USM Holdings by identifying
and focusing on growth businesses.

Mr. Usmanov was born in 1953 in the town of Chust in the Namangan region of Uzbekistan, which was then part of the USSR . He graduated in 1976 from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, a leading Russian university, with a degree in international law. In 1997, he received a degree in banking from the Finance Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation. He is fluent in English, French, Russian and Uzbek.
Mr. Usmanov has played a number of key roles in businesses essential for the advancement of the Russian economy. Since February 2006, he has been a member of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and currently heads its Committee for Updating of Control and Supervision and Elimination of Administrative Barriers. Mr. Usmanov has served as General Director of Gazprom Investholding since 2000, prior to which he was as an Advisor to the Chairman of Gazprom and was First Deputy General Director of Gazprom Investholding. From 1994 to 1998, Mr. Usmanov held the position of General Director of Interfin Investment and Finance Company. From 1995 to 1997, he served as the First Deputy Chairman of MAPO-Bank, and from 1994 to 1995, he was an Advisor to the General Director of Moscow Aviation Industrial Enterprise. From 1990 to 1994, Mr. Usmanov worked as the Deputy General Director of Intercross JSC.
Mr. Usmanov is the President of the International Fencing Federation and a member of the councils of the 2014 Sochi XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games, the 2013 Kazan XXVII Summer Universiade and the Russian Olympian Sportsmen Support Fund. He is a Trustee for a range of social, educational and cultural organisations, including the Russian Geographical Society, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, National Research University Higher School of Economics, and European University at St. Petersburg.
Mr. Usmanov is the founder of the Arts, Science and Sports Charity Foundation.
In 2013, Mr. Usmanov was awarded the Order for Service to the Fatherland IV class in recognition of his services to the state, as well as his community and charitable activities. In 2004, he was presented with the Order of Honour of the Russian Federation for his contribution to business and charity.
In 2011, he received the Order of Friendship of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Alongside his investments within USM Holdings, Mr. Usmanov owns Kommersant Holding, the leading Russian business media group, as well as almost 30% of Arsenal, an English football club.

USM Holdings – About us [June 21, 2013]

USM Holdings Limited (“USM Holdings”) is a diversified, international company with significant interests across the metals and mining,
telecoms, internet and media sectors. It was established in 2012
to consolidate the various investments and holdings of
Alisher Usmanov, which are the result of more than
30 years of his investment and business
development activities.

In consolidating Mr. Usmanov’s interests into one company, USM Holdings has the right structure to enable the sharing of both intellectual and financial capital amongst its various businesses. The group’s companies benefit from a global network of relationships and a wealth of experience, which enable them to access international investment opportunities. Through its structure, reporting and transparency, USM Holdings aims to ensure that its companies adhere to the highest international standards of corporate governance.
In carrying out its operations, USM Holdings acts in a socially responsible way, investing in long-term sustainable enterprises, stimulating economic development and creating employment opportunities in Russia. The group cares about the communities in which it conducts its business, and supports them through a wide range of social projects in the fields of education, sports, arts, science and ecology.

The main shareholders of USM Holdings are Alisher Usmanov, Vladimir Skoch and Farhad Moshiri. Their economic interests are divided 60%, 30% and 10% respectively, while Mr. Usmanov holds 100% of the voting rights with respect to USM Holdings.

Russian Billionaire Usmanov Links Fortune to Partnership [Bloomberg, Feb 6, 2013]

Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest man, and two of his long-time billionaire investment partners have joined all of their assets in USM Holdings, a limited liability company based in the British Virgin Islands.
Conceived in early 2012 and completed in December, the new formation holds the trio’s assets in mining, technology, telecommunications and media, and carries a value of more than $29 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“We have completed the process of consolidating assets into USM Holdings,” Usmanov, 59, said by e-mail Feb. 5. “The formation of a single holding company enables us to optimize business processes, enhance the efficiency of managing subsidiary companies, and provide more opportunities to access international capital markets.”
According to the company’s website, which went live late last month, USM was established to consolidate the holdings Usmanov has built up during the last 30 years, including closely held Metalloinvest Holding Co., Russia’s largest iron ore producer, publicly-traded mobile phone company MegaFon OAO and Internet company Mail.Ru Group Ltd., as well as the technology investments he has made through the DST investment funds.
USM shareholders include Usmanov, who holds 60 percent; Vladimir Skoch, who holds 30 percent on behalf of his son, Russian Duma deputy Andrey Skoch; and Ardavan Farhad Moshiri, an Usmanov adviser of 23 years, who owns 10 percent.
Usmanov and Moshiri continue to hold their shared 29.9 percent stake in London-based Arsenal Football Club Plc separately. Usmanov owns all of newspaper Kommersant outside of USM.
‘One Roof’
Usmanov controls all of USM’s voting rights and also has the ability to block his partners from selling any assets it holds without his consent. He first disclosed his plans for the holding company in April 2012, and released further details of its formation in MegaFon’s preliminary prospectus, which was released in November.
Ivan Streshinskiy, who has helped manage Usmanov’s investments since 2006, was appointed to the USM Holdings board and named chief executive officer of USM Advisors, an affiliated company that will provide advisory services to the holding entity.
“Having all of the assets under one roof makes it easier to manage them and value them,” Kirill Chuyko, head of equity research at BCS Financial Group said by phone Jan. 21, explaining the possible reasons for structure.
Longtime Allies
The two minority partners acquired their stakes in USM by swapping their existing equity in holding companies controlled by Usmanov and making a cash investment. After the transaction, Usmanov has a net worth of $21.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, while Moshiri controls a $1.7 billion fortune. Skoch is valued at $6.2 billion.
Rollo Head, a spokesman for Moshiri at London-based RLM Finsbury, said Moshiri declined to comment on his net worth. Albert Istomin, a spokesman for Skoch, declined to comment on the net worth calculation. Usmanov also declined to comment.
Usmanov first met Andrey Skoch in 1992, when he was importing cigarettes to Russia and Skoch was working as an oil trader. At the time, the country was suffering from a deficit of consumer goods, which enabled Usmanov to build a thriving trade business.
He and Skoch purchased metal and mining assets during and after the country’s chaotic privatization years, including a steel plant in the Belgorod region, central Russia, and iron ore producer Lebedinsky GOK. In 2006, after buying Mikhailovsky GOK from Georgia’s current prime minister, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, they created Metalloinvest, now Usmanov’s most valuable asset.
Government Ally
Usmanov’s rise to prominence was boosted in the early 2000s, when he proved to be an ally to the new government led by Russian President Vladimir Putin. As head of Gazprominvestholding, the investment arm of Russia’s gas monopoly OAO Gazprom, Usmanov helped negotiate the return of assets to state-run Gazprom that had been moved out of the company under previous management.
In 1999, Skoch was elected as a deputy of the State Duma, Russia’s main legislative body, representing the Belgorod region. He later transferred the fortune he had built to his father, Vladimir, shielding himself from public criticism. He was re-elected to the Duma four times.
Iranian Emigrant
Moshiri, an Iranian emigrate to London who now resides in Monaco, first met Usmanov in 1989, and has served as Usmanov’s financial consultant ever since. Through the years, he earned shares in some of Usmanov’s most important assets, including Metalloinvest, MegaFon and Arsenal.
The former accountant, who is a British citizen, resisted Usmanov’s diversification into technology investments, which began in 2008, using billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST funds.
“Moshiri also didn’t believe in the prospects for investments in Facebook and Groupon,” said Usmanov in an April 2012 phone interview with Bloomberg News.
His hesitation did not prevent Usmanov from allowing him the chance to participate, which has given Moshiri holdings through DST in publicly-traded Facebook Inc., Zynga Inc. and Groupon Inc., as well as other investments in a number of closely-held technology companies, including Twitter Inc.
USM did not disclose how much Moshiri and Skoch may have paid to make those investments, or their exact stakes.
New Valuation
The new holding company requires a revised method for the Bloomberg ranking to calculate the net worth for Usmanov and Moshiri, and established a valuation for Skoch’s fortune.
Prior to the transaction, Usmanov and Moshiri controlled half of Metalloinvest through Cyprus-based Gallagher Holdings Ltd., which has since been renamed USM Steel & Mining Group Ltd. That stake was combined with the 30 percent held by Skoch. The remaining 20 percent of Metalloinvest was bought back by the company from Moscow-based OAO VTB Bank at the end of 2012 through debt financing, consolidating all of the company under the control of USM.
Further details on the debt financing will be provided when Metalloinvest releases its earnings in April, the company said.

Alisher Usmanov: Uzbek eyes a prize listing [Financial Times, Nov 16, 2012]

The billionaire businessman reflects the new style of oligarch that puts a premium on loyalty and predictability

When Alisher Usmanov met Lloyd Blankfein on the sidelines of the St Petersburg Economic Forum in June, the two men appeared to strike up a rapport. The Uzbek-born billionaire and the chairman of Goldman Sachs discussed the planned initial public offering of Megafon, the mobile phone company owned by Mr Usmanov, say people familiar with the conversation. Mr Blankfein courted Mr Usmanov, one of Russia’s most powerful and best-connected businessmen, for an insight into upcoming deals.
Within months, everything had changed. By early October, Goldman had dropped Mr Usmanov and the Megafon deal, throwing a spanner in the company’s IPO plans and launching a storm of bad publicity around Mr Usmanov personally.
Goldman declined to comment on its reasons for quitting the IPO. Morgan Stanley, Sberbank, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and VTB are still working on the deal, which began formal marketing on Thursday after receiving delayed approval from the UK regulator, which appeared to have been shaken by Goldman’s exit.
Should the deal, which could raise as much as $2.1bn, go through, it would be the biggest flotation by a Russian company in nearly three years. If it flops, it will be another setback for Mr Usmanov, a symbol of a class of powerful Russian businessmen who work closely with the state, and his plans to take his empire public.
Businessmen close to the 59-year-old oligarch say he was dumbstruck by Goldman’s move. In his world, loyalty and predictability are prized above all else, and it is partly because of his strict adherence to such a code that he has risen so far in the Russia of President Vladimir Putin.
Today’s oligarchs are not the brash, buccaneering variety of the 1990s, who wielded both wealth and influence in Boris Yeltsin’s Kremlin. Putin-era billionaires such as Mr Usmanov are expected to respect state power in order to thrive.
It was in this context that Mr Usmanov – worth $18bn, according to Forbes – bought the art estate of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and then donated it to the state. It was also for that reason, analysts say, that he agreed to take a stake in Megafon, interceding in a years-long shareholder feud that was damaging Russia’s investment climate.
Usmanov is known as a person able to resolve delicate situations to the satisfaction of all the parties,” says Ivan Streshinsky, a long-time associate.
That is not all he is known for. The 45 pages of Megafon’s IPO investor prospectus entitled “Risk factors” includes “media speculation” about Mr Usmanov’s alleged mafia ties and the six years he spent in an Uzbek jail in the 1980s, along with more media speculation that the real owner of a large share in Megafon might be Leonid Reiman, a former communications minister.
This week it also emerged that a public relations firm had tampered with Mr Usmanov’s Wikipedia page to remove mention of an incident in which the billionaire had allegedly threatened bloggers who repeated allegations that he was a “gangster and racketeer”, and also edited out mentions of his jail term.
Mr Usmanov and his partners deny issuing such threats, deny having any ties to organised crime groups, and he and Megafon’s management deny Mr Reiman is a shareholder. Andrei Skoch, a long-time friend and business partner, blames Mr Usmanov’s fraud conviction in 1980 on enemies of his father, a local Uzbek prosecutor. The criminal charges were overturned in 2000.
The criminal conviction did dash Mr Usmanov’s dreams of a career as a diplomat moving between the world’s capitals, an ambition forged in a remote corner of central Asia in his native Uzbekistan, where he was born in 1953 in the small city of Chust, a place renowned as home of the traditional Uzbek skullcap.
Once out of jail Mr Usmanov built up a number of small businesses before consolidating some of Russia’s biggest metal and steel holdings into holding company Metalloinvest in 2006. Since then he has expanded outside Russia: acquiring stakes in internet groups such as Facebook and Groupon, and buying properties and trophy sporting assets in London as well as some of Russia’s most prestigious media properties.
Some international ventures have been less than happy. At Arsenal, the English Premier League football club in which he holds a near 30 per cent stake, he has waged a running battle with the board, criticising strategy and complaining that the best players have been let go.
Football is one of his passions, along with opera, ballet and fencing.
His approach to business involves close attention to detail. Despite poor eyesight, he is said to read up to 300 pages of analytics, reports and news items a day that are tirelessly rewritten into Russian by a retained group of round-the-clock translators.
Close links to the Kremlin have not harmed his prospects, say analysts. In 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, Metalloinvest received Rb61bn in bailout loans from state bank VTB, allowing Mr Usmanov not only to emerge from the crisis unscathed but also in the same year to spend $200m on a 2 per cent stake in Facebook through Digital Sky Technologies, a company in which he is a shareholder.
Associates say any political connections are normal. “With the scale and size of his business it would be misleading to say he has no relationship with the authorities – just like any major business leader in the world,” says Mr Streshinsky.
But Mr Usmanov’s political allegiances came under scrutiny last year when he fired two executives at his news weekly Kommersant Vlast because of a cover, published at the peak of mass anti-government protests in Moscow, that featured an obscene comment about Mr Putin.
Critics saw this as trampling on editorial freedom. Friends say he acted for reasons of taste. “He’s an old-fashioned guy. This overstepped the bounds of decency,” says Mr Streshinsky. “This has nothing to do with freedom of speech”.


The ‘Facebook Corruption’ accusations via a U.S. Congress Representative:

image image

image image image

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in addition a page from Who is Lawrence “Larry” Summers? [FB Cover-up opinion blog, Jul. 31, 2013]

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High-volume Nokia Lumia superphones with Windows Phone 8 extended on the top for China, and on the entry level needed for Asia and Middle-East as well UPDATE: at even lower price by 27%

After the Lumia 820 and 920 models introduced for Windows Phone 8, see:

Nokia extended the range with the China specific TD-SCDMA model Lumia 920T, as well as introduced the entry-level model 3.8” Lumia 620 for the WP8 range.

Update: In March the Lumia 620 has been extended by an even a lower priced and configured 4” Lumia 520 which was “developed in China, made in China, for China”. It is introduced already both in China and India for $209 and $193 respectively (compared to the lowest $263 price in India for Lumia 620 the 520 is quite attractive for the market). Here is the latest Lumia 520 vs 620 : First Impression & Initial Thoughts [wpxbox, YouTube channel, March 21, 2013] comparison from India:

Had a chance to check both Lumia 620 and Lumia 520 side by side. My initial thoughts if I have to choose between the two devices.

There was an extension of the entry level 620 somewhat higher as well by the 4.3” Lumia 720. Here is a Nokia Lumia 520 Vs 720– Quick Comparison Video [intellectdigest YouTube channel, March 20, 2013] from the launch in India:

Nokia Lumia 520 and 720 are both low cost Windows Phone 8 smartphones from Nokia and both have many similarities as well as differences. In this video we highlight some of the differences which includes: 1. Battery capacity 2. Screen Size 3. Gorilla Glass 2 4. Camera Quality 5. Front Camera 6. Wireless Charging etc.

Update: Lumia 520 W-CDMA appeared on 360buy Jingdong: at price of ¥1299 [$209] [MyDrivers.com, March 21, 2013] as translated by Google and Bing from Chinese, with manual edits

Earlier news that the most low end of WP8 from Nokia, the Lumia 520 will be put on sale at the end of the month, at present, Unicom WCDMA Lumia 520 has appeared on 360buy Jingdong Mall [http://www.360buy.com, see 360buy on Wikipedia], and concrete prices are given.

The Jingdong product page displayed Lumia 520 W-CDMA price of 1299 yuan [$209], with pre-ordering in the country starting from March 25 (next Monday), and the first batch of Lumia 520 will be available in lemon yellow, twilight black and sky blue color selections.

image

Update: Nokia Brings Innovation to India; Launches Affordable Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 [Telecom Talk, March 20, 2013]

… will be available for sale from early April 2013. The Nokia Lumia 520 seems to be the Nokia’s most affordable Windows 8 smartphone with a price of approx. Rs 10, 500 [$193] while that of Lumia 720 will be around Rs. 20,000 [$368].

Note that compared to the lowest Lumia 620 price in India at $263 [Rs 14, 299] the Lumia 520 is quite attractively priced for the Indian market.

Update: Nokia Lumia 520 Hand On Review, Price In India and Features [intellectdigest YouTube channel, March 20, 2013]

Update: The Nokia Lumia 520: Made in Beijing [Nokia Conversations, Feb 28, 2013]

Unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Nokia Lumia 520 is the most affordable Windows Phone 8 powered Lumia that Nokia has released so far.
It offers tremendous value for money without compromising on its good looks and is still packed full of eye-grabbing features such as a 4-inch super sensitive touch screen, Nokia’s unique camera lenses such as Cinemagraph and Smart Shoot, as well as changeable shells.
In short, the Lumia 520 offers an innovative and rich smartphone experience at a highly competitive price point.
The product team behind the Nokia Lumia 520 wanted to create a smartphone for a mass market and, especially, for young people. Currently, there is no market bigger than the one in China and, in fact, the Lumia 520 was developed out of Nokia’s Beijing site.
We spoke to Mikko Kahlos, the Lumia 520’s lead product manager, about the team behind this smartphone, the difference it makes working in Asia and why he enjoyed making this device more than any other.
What was the guiding principle for the team behind the Nokia Lumia 520?
From the beginning it was important that we wanted to make it affordable. So what does that mean? We really kept that in our minds and stayed on target with everything that we did.
What are the major roles within the team?
We had a programme manager who was driving the overall R&D work and a technology manager who was ensuring that the quality was what we wanted.
I was the guardian of the consumers so that the market could see we had made a valuable smartphone that we could differentiate against the competition.
So it was us three who were running the show, but in reality this was a team effort.
How did you approach the task?
One of the first things we did was create a ‘war room’ where we worked really intensively for the first few months so that we were constantly interacting. So when we made the first decisions everybody was there.
I feel that discussions are more effective when all people involved are next to each other and share a common goal. We were able to do an excellent job with clear guidance on where to go.
How strong was the Chinese influence?

Although the Lumia 520 is a global product, the team behind the phone kept it in mind that this was a smartphone made in China, for China.

Most of the people on our team are Chinese and also new to Nokia. What makes the group even more fascinating is that more than half of the team were making their first mobile phone ever, having worked previously with suppliers, other companies or elsewhere in Nokia
They had a real challenger mindset and an opportunity to show what they can do. With guidance and support from the more experienced guys in the team, they did a great job!
How proud are you of the Nokia Lumia 520, considering it’s such a new team?
I have done products for five years in Nokia and I have enjoyed this one the most. With this product, we have experienced the Asian culture, how people here work and how they succeed.

It is great to see people doing their absolute best and enjoying being part of something great.

This is the youngest and least experienced team ever in Nokia to have made a phone. We’ve been able to do it in the fastest time ever too. If you put all this together we have a lot to celebrate.

The Compact Nokia Lumia 620 — Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia Design Team [nokia YouTube channel, March 13, 2013]

Marko Ahtisaari, Head of Nokia Design, talks about the design approach behind Nokia’s compact smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 620.

Update: Nokia signals China ambitions [China Daily via China.org.cn, March 7, 2013]

This year could be a tipping point for Windows Phone device manufacturers such as Nokia Oyj with early indications the handsets have achieved a good start in major smartphone markets including China, according to the boss of Nokia China.
In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Gustavo Eichelmann, chief executive officer of Nokia China, expressed confidence in Nokia’s turnaround in China, as well as in the global smartphone market in 2013.
Mexico-born Eichelmann took the job in China amid a turbulent time. He has been the third China chief since Nokia devoted itself to developing smartphones on Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system in 2011.
Finland-based Nokia held almost half of the smartphone market share in China more than two years ago, but the figure slipped to a mere 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter last year, according to Beijing-based firm Analysys International.
“It is because it has only just begun,” Eichelmann said. “Think about iPhone and Android devices in their first six months. If you look at the Windows Phone, its trajectory is actually right on track. There will be an increasing but gradual acceleration in 2013. If we fast-forward to 2016 and we look back, you will see that 2013 was the turning point in terms of changing the trajectory.”
One of the possible reasons why Windows Phone devices may enjoy greater popularity is because more people will get to know about the platform. Microsoft, the developer of the Windows Phone operating system, has begun introducing Windows PCs and Windows tablets with exactly the same user interface.
More people know about the system. The viral effect – word of mouth – is starting to take place,” Eichelmann said.
Competitive market
Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia Corp, said at the end of last year that China is the biggest market globally for Nokia’s Lumia series Windows Phone devices.
The company launched its first Lumia smartphone in China in early 2012. Since then Nokia has introduced eight Lumia models to the Chinese market.
Across the world, Nokia remains the No 1 Windows Phone vendor, with a market share of 78 percent, compared with HTC Corp’s 14 percent and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s 6 percent, according to a Forbes report.
The company sold 4.4 million Lumia smartphones worldwide in the fourth quarter. Nokia Lumia 920, the latest Nokia flagship smartphone that runs on the Windows Phone 8 operating system, received “extremely encouraging feedback” from Chinese clients, Eichelmann added.
“The simple target for Nokia in China this year is growth,” he said.
From subways and shopping malls to chic flagship stores in Beijing, various Nokia advertisements, fronted by Chinese singers and movie stars, have been attracting people’s attention.
Li Yan is a 28-year-old worker in the finance industry in Beijing who wants a new smartphone. “The first mobile phone brand that popped into my mind was Nokia. It seems that I have a natural affection for the brand,” Li said.
When Li was a college student, her father sent her a Nokia device. It was the first mobile phone she ever owned. There are millions of people in China like Li that adopted Nokia as an integral part of their lives.
Compared with other international smartphone vendors such as Apple and HTC, one of the major advantages of Nokia in China is its branding,” said Yan Xiaojia, a telecom analyst at Analysys International.
Nokia has had a presence in China for more than two decades and the company has about 250 million users in the country.
But Li was not very comfortable with the Windows Phone system. “I used an Android phone before so when I tried the new Nokia models I needed time to get used to them,” she said. Eventually she gave up and bought an iPhone 4S.
In a China Mobile outlet in Changchun, in Jilin province, salesman Zhao Xin said many people were curious about Nokia phones, especially the latest Lumia 920, but there were too few in stock and the outlet missed out on the traditional Spring Festival shopping season.
The biggest winners now are domestic brands, such as Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE. People buy them because they are good quality and also are much cheaper,” Zhao said.
“The Chinese market is highly competitive. The dynamics of the competition are probably the most advanced I have ever seen,” Eichelmann said. With about 1.1 billion mobile phone subscribers, China attracts a lot of industry players both at home and abroad.
“The product cycle in China’s smartphone market is the fastest. Nokia needs to drive the consistency of its brand and innovation,” he said.
Chinese rivals emerged and gradually snatched the market share that Nokia lost. Huawei, the Shenzhen-based telecom giant, rose to become the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter last year, with a 4.9 percent market share worldwide, according to a report issued by International Data Corp.
In contrast, Nokia’s China ranking dropped to fifth place in the first half of 2012, from the top position at the end of 2011, according to research by IHS.
Samsung topped the list and shipped more than double the number of smartphones than Nokia managed, gaining a market share of 20.8 percent – 14.4 million smartphones – in the first six months of last year, IHS said.
Nokia faced the most direct competition in the territory of Windows Phone devices. Taiwan-based HTC jumped ahead of Nokia to launch the first Windows Phone 8 handset in the Chinese mainland. Samsung, ZTE and Huawei have also expressed an ambition to develop Windows Phones.
“Nokia welcomes the competition, and the competition fuels the strength of the Windows Phone ecosystem,” Eichelmann said. Among all the devices, Nokia definitely has its own unique qualities, he said.
The latest Nokia smartphone Lumia 920 has the ability to synchronize content between Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Windows 8-based PCs, tablets and the Xbox, said Flann Gao, Nokia China communications manager.
There are other innovative functions as well, he added. The Nokia City Lens, one of the highlights, is an augmented reality software that gives dynamic information about users’ surroundings. “City Lens makes finding the best of what’s around you as simple and natural as looking through the smartphone display,” Gao said.
“Nokia has a unique position within the latest Windows Phone 8 ecosystem. All our best work and resources is on the Windows Phone 8,” Eichelmann said.
What’s next?
Unlike other international smartphone players such as Apple that focus mainly on the North American market, Nokia has long positioned the Chinese market as its top priority.
Eichelmann said Nokia would be part of China’s progression as it enters the fourth generation mobile network age. Rumors have circulated that China is likely to kick off the 4G commercial rollout in the second half of this year. China Mobile Ltd, the nation’s biggest telecom carrier, is conducting large-scale 4G trials in 13 Chinese cities.
Eichelmann did not respond directly to questions as to whether Nokia would develop smartphones suitable for the Chinese homegrown TD-LTE 4G technology but did say: “Clearly that’s something we will be part of.”
In order to revive its Chinese market performance, Nokia has also started to cooperate with local e-commerce websites and expand its online sales in the country.
Online shopping is booming in China,” Eichelmann said. He emphasized the importance of e-commerce but said Nokia will not open its own mobile phone e-store, a step that Chinese rivals Xiaomi Corp and Huawei have already taken.
“Nokia will strengthen cooperation with third party e-commerce websites,” Eichelmann said. All future Nokia devices will sell through online and offline channels in China simultaneously.
360buy.com, China’s second-largest business-to-consumer e-commerce retailer, agreed to buy 2 billion yuan ($320 million) of mobile phones from Nokia this year.
About 30 million mobile phones were expected to be sold online in China last year, up 68 percent from 2011, according to a report issued by SINO Market Research. The growth rate is more than 10 times that for mobile phones that were sold in offline outlets during the period, according to the report.

Update: Nokia takes high-end innovation to new audiences at Mobile World Congress [Nokia press release, Feb 25, 2013

Nokia Lumia 720 [Windows Phone 8 with Long Battery Life] and Nokia Lumia 520 [Affordable Windows Phone with Dual Core Processor]
deliver high-end Lumia innovation to more affordable price points [at 27% lower entry price for the new Lumia 520, see the Lumia 620 for $249 vs. Lumia 520 for $182 (excluding taxes and subsidies) in the comparison table below]

Nokia also announced that following the launch of the Nokia Lumia 920T by China Mobile last year, the world’s biggest mobile operator would bring the Nokia Lumia 720 and the Nokia Lumia 520 to China. Further details on exact availability will be announced in due course.

Update:
A closer look at the Nokia Lumia 520 and 720 [Conversations by Nokia blog, Feb 27, 2013]
Have more fun with the Nokia Lumia 520 [Conversations by Nokia blog, Feb 25, 2013]
Sleek stylish Nokia Lumia 720 [Conversations by Nokia blog, Feb 25, 2013]
10 things you need to know about the Nokia Lumia 720 [Conversations by Nokia blog, Feb 26, 2013]
An innovative approach to imaging with the Nokia Lumia 720 [Conversations by Nokia blog, Feb 27, 2013]

Nokia’s imaging experts followed a familiar path to the acclaimed Nokia Lumia 920 when creating the camera for the Nokia Lumia 720, with a mission to let people capture stunning images at both day and night.

Essential comparison: [+ Source 1, Source 2]

With this announcement the entry to mid-range Nokia Lumia superphones are based on the same SoC from Qualcomm: Snapdragon S4 MSM8227, 1.0 GHz dual-core Krait 200, Adreno 305.
Lumia 520 Lumia 620 Lumia 720
Affordable Windows Phone with Dual Core Processor Windows Phone 8 with MS Office Windows Phone 8 with Long Battery Life
EUR 139 [$182] excluding taxes and subsidies
from March’13 (Hong Kong, Vietnam first)
and Q2’13 (elsewhere)
$249 excluding taxes and subsidies
from Jan’13 on
(Asia first)
EUR 249 [$326] excluding taxes and subsidies
from March’13 (Hong Kong, Vietnam first)
and Q2’13 (elsewhere)
4 inches 3.8 inches 4.3 inches
IPS
Luminance 600
RGB Stripe
TFT
ClearBlack
RGB Stripe
TFT
IPS, ClearBlack

Corning® Gorilla® Glass
Luminance 600 NITS
RGB Stripe
TFT

EDGE Class B
GPRS Class B
HSDPA Cat14 21 Mbps
HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps
WCDMA
WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n

EDGE Class B
GPRS Class B
HSDPA Cat14 21 Mbps
HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps
WCDMA
WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n

EDGE Class B
GPRS Class B
HSDPA Cat14 21 Mbps
HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps
WCDMA
WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n

Snapdragon S4 MSM8227
1.0 GHz dual-core Krait 200
Adreno 305
Snapdragon S4 MSM8227
1.0 GHz dual-core Krait 200
Adreno 305
Snapdragon S4 MSM8227
1.0 GHz dual-core Krait 200
Adreno 305
2 Microphones 2 Microphones 2 Microphones
3D Accelerometer Ambient Light Sensor
Proximity Sensor
3D Accelerometer Ambient Light Sensor
Compass (Magnetometer Sensor)
Proximity Sensor
3D Accelerometer
Ambient Light Sensor
Compass(Magnetometer Sensor)
Proximity Sensor
Positioning:
A-GPS
CellID
GLONASS
GPS
SA-GPS
WiFi positioning
Positioning:
A-GPS
CellID
GLONASS
GPS
SA-GPS
WiFi positioning
Positioning:
A-GPS
CellID
GLONASS
GPS
SA-GPS
WiFi positioning
2592 x 1936 pixels
5.0 Megapixels
f/2.4 aperture
2592 x 1936 pixels
5.0 Megapixels
f/2.4 aperture
2848 x 2144 pixels
6.7 Megapixels
f/1.9 aperture
Auto and Manual White Balance, Continuous Auto Focus, Full Screen Viewfinder, Geotagging, Lenses Applications, Still Image Editor, Touch Focus

+ LED Flash

Auto and Manual White Balance, Continuous Auto Focus, Geotagging, Lenses Applications, Still Image Editor, Touch Focus
+ LED Flash

Auto and Manual White Balance, Continuous Auto Focus, Geotagging, Lenses Applications, Still Image Editor, Touch Focus
+ LED Flash

1280 x 720 pixels
video recording resolution
1280 x 720 pixels
video recording resolution
1280 x 720 pixels
video recording resolution
Video Call Video Call

Audio Streaming
Bluetooth Stereo
Handsfree Speaker
Music Player
Uplink Noise Cancellation

Audio Streaming
Bluetooth Stereo
Handsfree Speaker
Music Player
Uplink Noise Cancellation

Audio Streaming
Bluetooth Stereo
Handsfree Speaker
Music Player
Uplink Noise Cancellation

Secondary Camera:
640 x 480 pixels

f/2.4 aperture
Secondary Camera:
1280 x 960 pixels

f/2.4 aperture
512 MB RAM 512 MB RAM 512 MB RAM
NFC
Secure NFC
NFC
Secure NFC
USB Charging USB Charging USB Charging
up to 14.8 hours talk time

up to 360 hours standby time
up to 4.8 hours video playback time
up to 61 hours music playback time

up to 14.6 hours talk time (GSM)
up to 9.9 hours talk time (WCDMA)
up to 330 hours standby time
up to 6.0 hours video playback time
up to 61 hours music playback time

up to 23.4 hours talk time

up to 520 hours standby time 
up to 8.3 hours video playback time
up to 79.0 hours music playback time

Update: Compact, vibrant, and lots of fun: our Nokia Lumia 620 hands-on [Conversations by Nokia blog, Feb 24, 2013]
Update*: Nokia 620 in China as of Feb 5, 2013 [Windows Phone 8 with MS Office]

Merchants offer: ¥ 1665 [$267] to ¥ 1899 [$305] a total of 521 businesses

*Note that The first Windows Phone 4Afrika from Huawei for $150 = Huawei Ascend W1 for $240 (in China) and more elsewhere [Feb 5, 2013] and the device is using the 1.2 GHz MSM8230, a higher level SoC (with essential difference of 1080p video vs. Lumia 620’s 720p video from MSM82227) – see the SoC comparison

Now there only one hole is left between the Lumia 620 and 820 (presumably will be Lumia 720 when launched).

See also my companion post: Marko Ahtisaari from Nokia and Steven Guggenheimer from Microsoft on the Internet of Things day of LeWeb Paris’12 [December 6] from which you could watch this short video as a teaser:

Three questions to Marko Ahtisaari, Executive Vice President of NOKIA, and responsible for the Design 1. How the connected objects changed your life? 2. What is the connected object which you dream? 3. What will be your news in the next 12 months? Trois questions à Marko Ahtisaari, vice-président exécutif de NOKIA, et Responsable du Design 1. Comment les objets connectés ont-ils changé votre quotidien? 2. Quel est l’objet connecté dont vous revez? 3. Quelle va etre votre actualité dans les 12 prochains mois?

Regarding the new products below the Windows Phone 8 based Lumias (Lumia 620 … Lumia 920) see:
With Asha Touch starting at $83 and Lumia at $186 Nokia targeting the entry-level and low-end smartphone markets–UPDATED [Dec 19, 2012] new entry prices and Lumia 505 (? $220 ?) with AMOLED ClearBlack and Gorilla Glass [Nov 1 – Dec 19, 2012]




For the already available Lumia 820 and 920 models see my earlier:
Core post: Unique differentiators of Nokia Lumia 920/820 innovated for high-volume superphone markets of North America, Europe and elsewhere [Sept 6 – Nov 13, 2012]

With this Nokia established the sweet spot at $250 (list) for the entry-level of the Windows Phone 8 superphones. Note that there is already a lower level sweet spot defined by the company for the Windows Phone 7.5/7.8 smartphones described in my earlier post: With Asha Touch starting at $83 and Lumia at $186 Nokia targeting the entry-level and low-end smartphone markets [Nov 1, 2012]
With Asha Touch starting at $83 [Feb 22: $65] and Lumia at $186 [Feb 22: $168] Nokia targeting the entry-level and low-end smartphone markets–UPDATED [Dec 19, 2012] new entry prices and Lumia 505 (? $220 ?) with AMOLED ClearBlack and Gorilla Glass

Specifications and prices compared for the whole WP8 range of Lumias from Nokia

Specifications are shown here by essential differences between the next to each other models as moving up on the range (source Compare Mobile Devices on Nokia Developer):

Nokia Lumia 620: $249 excluding taxes and subsidies

will begin selling in January 2013 in Asia, followed closely by Europe and the Middle East before expanding further

Nokia Lumia 620: http://nokia.ly/R6EBEb smart, inside and out. Turn smiles into laughs with Cinemagraph, capture the perfect group shot with Smart Shoot, and make double the impact with dual-colour changeable shells.

Essential differences:

Lumia 620 Lumia 820
3.8 inches 4.3 inches
ClearBlack
RGB Stripe
TFT
AMOLED, ClearBlack

EDGE Class B
GPRS Class B
HSDPA Cat14 21 Mbps
HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps
WCDMA
WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n

EDGE Class B
GPRS Class B
HSDPA+ Dual Carrier Cat24 42 Mbps
HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps
LTE Cat3 Downlink 100 Mbps
LTE Cat3 Uplink 50 Mbps
WCDMA
WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n

Snapdragon S4 MSM8227
1.0 GHz dual-core
Adreno 305
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960
1.5 GHz dual-core
Adreno 225
2 Microphones 2 High Dynamic Range Microphones
Gyroscope
2592 x 1936 pixels
5.0 Megapixels
f/2.4 aperture
3264 x 2448 pixels
8.0 Megapixels
f/2.2 aperture

Auto and Manual White Balance, Continuous Auto Focus, Geotagging, Lenses Applications, Still Image Editor, Touch Focus
+ LED Flash

all that +
Auto and Manual Exposure
Carl Zeiss Optics
Dual-LED Flash
1280 x 720 pixels
video recording resolution
1920 x 1080 pixels
video recording resolution
Video Stabilization

Audio Streaming
Bluetooth Stereo
Handsfree Speaker
Music Player
Uplink Noise Cancellation

all that +
Dolby Headphone
512 MB RAM 1 GB RAM
USB Charging USB Charging
Qi Wireless Charging
up to 14.6 hours talk time (GSM)
up to 9.9 hours talk time (WCDMA)
up to 330 hours standby time (GSM/WCDMA)
up to 61 hours music playback time
up to 15.4 hours talk time (GSM)
up to 8.1 hours talk time (WCDMA)
up to 360 hours standby time (GSM/WCDMA)
up to 61 hours music playback time

[Nokia Lumia 720: TBD later as here is a definite hole in the WP8 Lumia range]

Nokia Lumia 820:

  • Mobile City Online, Unlocked Import: $699.99 $599.99
  • Amazon, LTE 8GB/1GB Ram: $644.99 
  • Best Buy, AT&T LOCKED unactivated – Black: $479.99
  • in India: Rs. 25000 $458 
The World’s most innovative smartphone Powered by Windows Phone 8, Nokia Lumia 820 combines smartphone innovations with a versatile design:http://nokia.ly/Q6x4Uq Smart Shoot lens takes multiple photos with a single click and lets you edit faces and backgrounds easily to get the perfect shot. Back shells can be exchanged to add a new color, more protection or enable wireless charging. Unlike other smartphones, Lumia 820 has built-in Microsoft Office

Essential differences:

Lumia 820 Lumia 920 and Lumia 920T
480 x 800 pixels screen resolution 768 x 1280 pixels screen resolution
4.3 inches 4.5 inches
AMOLED, ClearBlack

ClearBlack
Corning® Gorilla® Glass
HD IPS
LCD transmissive
Luminance 600 NITS
Pixel Density 332 PPI
Puremotion HD+
RGB Stripe

2 High Dynamic Range Microphones 3 High Dynamic Range Microphones
3264 x 2448 pixels
8.0 Megapixels
f/2.2 aperture
3552 x 2448 pixels
8.7 Megapixels
f/2 aperture
Auto and Manual Exposure, Auto and Manual White Balance, Carl Zeiss Optics, Continuous Auto Focus, Dual-LED Flash, Geotagging, Lenses Applications, Still Image Editor, Touch Focus all on the left + Optical Image Stabilization, Pixel Size 1.4 µm, Sensor Size 1/3″, Sensor Type: BSI

Video Call
Video Player
Video Recorder
Video Stabilization
Video Streaming

all on the left + Optical Image Stabilization
640 x 480 pixels secondary camera 1280 x 960 pixels
with f/2.4 aperture etc.
8GB internal memory 32GB internal memory
up to 15.4 hours talk time (GSM)
up to 8.1 hours talk time (WCDMA)
up to 360 hours standby time (GSM/WCDMA)
up to 61 hours music playback time
up to 18.6 hours talk time (GSM)
up to 10.8 hours talk time (WCDMA)
up to 360 hours standby time(GSM/WCDMA)
up to 74 hours music playback time

Nokia Lumia 920:

  • Mobile City Online, Unlocked Import – Black: $799.99 $699.99
  • Best Buy, AT&T LOCKED unactivated – Red: $599.99 
  • Amazon, AT&T LOCKED [unactivated] – White: $649
  • Amazon, LTE 32GB/1GB Ram AT&T LOCKED– YELLOW: $899.99 $729
  • in India: Rs. 32000 $587 
The World’s most Innovative Smartphone. Powered by Windows Phone 8, Nokia Lumia 920 offers the world’s best smartphone experience:http://nokia.ly/Q6tDgC World’s best video and pictures with PureView camera, even with shaky hands or at night. World’s brightest, fastest and most responsive touchscreen — even if you are wearing gloves or have long fingernails World’s first smartphone with built-in wireless charging in your country World’s best smartphone for business with built-in Microsoft Office World’s most unique and iconic smartphone design

Nokia Lumia 920T:

  • China Mobile, without contract: RMB 4599 $738

The Lumia 920T will be available for order by the end of the year.

Essential differences:

Lumia 920 Lumia 920T

EDGE Class B
GPRS Class B
HSDPA+ Dual Carrier Cat24 42 Mbps
HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps
LTE Cat3 Downlink 100 Mbps
LTE Cat3 Uplink 50 Mbps
WCDMA
WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n

EDGE Class B
GPRS Class B
TD-SCDMA
WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 Snapdragon S4
Secure NFC

NFC
Secure NFC

10.8 hours talk time (WCDMA) 18.8 hours talk time (TD-SCDMA)

Note that the Lumia 920T will definitely have the TD version of LTE as well as soon as that is licensed to China Mobile by the government.

Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone markets

And this is not a speculation but already a reality as the new Lenovo A288t came to market this month for ¥ 569 in retail [US$ 89] and as low as ¥ 479 in wholesale [US$ 75]. Such a breakthrough was enabled by Spreadtrum’s SC8810 SoC and Lenovo Mobile’s ability to exploit such an opportunity in only 5 months. Lenovo Mobile BTW became #2 behind Samsung on China’s smartphone market in June (just thanks to an earlier Mediatek based opportunity), aiming to become #1 in one or two years. So it is safe to say that with a number of other 1st tier vendors and even a kind of revitalised whitebox ecosystem soon joining the Spreadtrum (展讯处在) SoC opportunity, the H2’12 market in China will radically be redefined, with “earthquake-like” consequences for the global smartphone market as a whole. In this way the process indicated earlier in China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [this Experiencing the Cloud blog, Dec 1, 2011] will become even more dramatic.

SIGNIFICANT NEW UPDATE: Yes, indeed the revitalised whitebox ecosystem is doing the job, and in the most wonderful way, see $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on November 15 [Nov 9, 2012], which is the first “lead post” on my trend tracking blog because of such enormous significance.

Updates: Haier Adopts Spreadtrum’s Smartphone Platform [Spreadtrum press release, Aug 16, 2012]

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRD; “Spreadtrum” or the “Company”), a leading fabless semiconductor provider in China with advanced technology in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, today announced that Haier, one of the global leaders in home appliances, has adopted Spreadtrum’s 1GHz TD-SCDMA Android platform, the SC8810. The Haier HT-I617, a smartphone designed to address the needs of the mass-market consumer, has completed China Mobile’s certification testing, paving the way for commercial launch through China Mobile channels.

Spreadtrum’s SC8810 integrates a 1GHz Cortex A5 processor, 3D/2D Mali graphics accelerator, a 5 megapixel camera sub-system and supports resolution up to WVGA and wireless connectivity including Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS. The SC8810 delivers low power multimode TD-SCDMA/EDGE/GPRS/GSM operations with dual-mode automatic switching and supports TD-HSDPA at 2.8Mbps and TD-HSUPA at 2.2 Mbps. The SC8810 is delivered with turnkey Android and systems software.

Counterfeiters rebrand themselves in China’s smartphone market [Want China Times, Aug 5, 2012]

THL, the new face of a man who once sold counterfeit Samsung phones and decided to starting producing his own brand of smart phone.

After experiencing a major drop-off in sales, the makers of counterfeit cell phones in China, known commonly as “shanzhai” phones, are now breaking back into the market under their own brand names.

Previously reliant on co-opting the names of top leading to sell their bootleg products, the new generation of cell phone manufacturers are focusing on producing budget smartphones under their own brand names.

Stores for these new brands are proliferating in Huaqiangbei, a well-known consumer electronics market in Shenzhen. These new “shanzhai” smartphone producers mostly rely on supplies of chips from MediaTek in Taiwan.

After some initial mishaps, MediaTek belatedly rolled out its first-generation smartphone chip 6513T in the second half of 2011. The move has prompted many shanzhai phone manufacturers to switch to the production of smartphones, some with their own brands.

Shanzhai smartphone makers target mainly the lower and middle end of the market for products priced at around 1,000 yuan (US$156). Huang Jixian, a shanzhai cell phone producer in Shenzhen, opened 210 stores for his new “THL” smartphones throughout China in the first four months of this year. Huang plans to increase the number of his stores to over 300 to bolster the brand image of his products.

In addition to directly owned and franchise stores, Huang has also opened online franchise stores on the platforms Taobao and 360buy. Wang Xuekai, sales manager for THL, says that the different stores play a critical role in the company’s operations, since the shopping and user experience is essential in attracting business. Online sales channels play a supplementary role, Wang said.

Spreadtrum Communications’ CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Aug 10, 2012]

Leo Li – Chairman and CEO

In the second quarter of 2012, we achieved revenue of $173.1 million, which is in line with the guidance we gave previously and 7.5% increase over the first quarter. I am very pleased to update you on the progress we have made with our smartphone products.

This quarter we achieved a strong volume ramp-up of our 1 Ghz TD-SCDMA Edge smartphone chipset, shipping more than 1 million units as expected. Customers such as Huawei, Lenovo, [Pryor], Hisense and others have completed China Mobile’s certification test, launched low-cost smartphones based on our products. Many are targeting a new [ratio] price in the range of RMB500 to RMB700 [US$ 79 – US$ 110], which is making TD-SCDMA smartphone even more affordable and attractive for mass market consumers.

We are seeing very strong demand for our smartphone products and are raising our shipment focus. We now expect to ship more than 10 million smartphone chipsets in the third quarter alone. In the high end of TD-SCDMA market, we expanded our business with the first-tier OEMs, growing shipment of our best-in-class TD-SCDMA-based modems. In our customers, our customers use these modems in very high-end smartphone designs.

Our baseband and RF transceivers are shipping in flagship handsets, that is recently launched, including Samsung’s Galaxy S3, HTC One XT and the other devices from first-tier China OEMs.

With the continuing growth in our smartphone chipsets and modem business, we have firmly established our leadership position in TD-SCDMA smartphone market. Our best-in-class modems are designed into top-of-line handsets and our smartphone chipsets are in neighboring 1 Ghz devices at a price of as we low as RMB500 [US$ 79].

Recently, China Mobile has taken steps to speed up TD-SCDMA handset sales in the second half of this year. At a recent conference, China Mobile discussed a plan or plans to increase their investment in TD-SCDMA. In addition, they also encouraged handset makers to sell their TD-SCDMA product through open market with China Mobile providing support with the quality monitoring.

With the China Mobile’s handset replacement market now approaching 100 million units per year, this shift in distribution model will make the TD-SCDMA devices even more broadly available and help speed up the 3G adoption in China.

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2012, we have some exciting product introduction on that. We will be introducing our 1.2 Ghz single-core and dual-core smartphone platforms, our new WCDMA and connectivity products. These products will increase our total addressable market in China and overseas regions and position us for continuing business expansion in 2013.

Randy Abrams – Credit Suisse
Okay. My second question is on your outlook for TD-SCDMA. I think, one, from just a market perspective, volume, maybe what you expect smartphone and feature phones, and how you expect your market share. And I think you did well on recent tenders, maybe how you expect your product positioning. [Marvel] has been talking about a new platform for early next year and with MediaTek and MStar, how you see your market churn positioning and then overall market.
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
I feel very confident that the TD overall volume for this year, I think what I said before in the last earnings call, is around 80 million to 90 million total units, both including the so-called central procurement, which you mentioned, and open market, which is the non-mentioned. I think the open market in particular next year, I can see a stronger and stronger demand for TD-SCDMA market in China.
So I certainly know for sure or I think next will be well above 100 million units for the total TD demand. So we at the moment, I think we’re about more than 55% market share in TD-SCDMA business. We hope with the technology leadership and also with the business model and then the quality of the products and everything else, we hope that we’ll maintain the leadership position in the future.
Mike Walkley – Canaccord Genuity
Okay, thanks. One question for Leo. Leo, with the MobilePeak hitting the milestone, can you just update us on your WCDMA progress and how you see the competitive landscape as you’re coming to market with that product later in the year?
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
Sure. Yeah, they’re making nice progress there. I think it’s mostly [inaudible] type of the milestones for their WCDMA. I think also combine the 40nm technology and some other 2.5G product rolls, EDGE, GPRS and GSM, I think we’re making the progress for both modem and smartphone products towards the end of the year. So I think at this moment all the development are on track, so I’m pretty happy.
Jack Lu – RBS
Yeah, hi, Leo. One question for you. Can you talk about your 2012 smartphone full-year target? Because I think last call you mentioned a figure of 15 million to 20 million. Now, given that you are shipping more than 10 million alone in Q3, what’s your thought on that number for this year?
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
This is a kind of — yeah, we usually only predict for the next quarter, which I did, right, around more than 10 million unit smartphones. If you really put me in a corner, so if I have to say anything to that question, I would like to say at least 25 million units for the whole year. So, yeah, it’s up number from 10 million to 15 million, what I said in early Q2.
Jack Lu – RBS
Okay. One last question if I may, can you talk about expectations for ASPs going to Q3 for both TD feature phones and smartphone products?
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
Yeah, feature phones, unfortunately the volume dropped sharply. I mean this is unexpected a little bit. The switching from feature phone to smartphone is so quick. It’s quicker than most people expected. But as the pricing there stabilizes, the volume drops very sharply. And at this moment actually for the ASP for smartphones, it’s there quite nicely. We — actually it’s not the pricing pressure issue, rather it’s a whole [inaudible]. There’s a huge demand there. It’s just so strong that it really surprised many of us.
Andrew Lu – BarCap Research
Thank you. Earlier you also mentioned WCDMA smartphone solution will be introduced next year. Did you say Q1 next year?
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
Actually we will try to introduce production small customers first. You know that, right? With big customers, takes longer time. So, Q1, maybe it could be the right time, and then Q2, something, yes.
Donald Lu – Goldman Sachs
Good morning. Leo, can you give us more color on how can China Mobile help the open market? By open market, I mean mobile probably is not going to subsidize, but can mobile help with distribution or marketing or anything like that?
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
Sure. Recently there are high-level executives went to Shenzhen, the headquarter [inaudible] right, several times. And then recent one is a very high level China executive went there, had meetings with — we don’t call them free market or [inaudible] anymore, we call them a small brand, right? And actually the meeting, the result is very encouraging, because down the road, you know that year over year subsidies will be reduced and reduced, not increased and increased. So the China Mobile very much encouraging the vendors and the makers of the handsets to engage with open market. Like I said, someone asked me the question, and then, some of my customers already shipping their products in open market without any subsidies. So this is encouraging.
But I think the reason it has been now, not only encouraged by China Mobile, also because the quality of the products and the price of the smartphones, more importantly, we are facing the major trend that the smartphone is replacing the features phones in big way, in such a big way in China that we very much encourage open market people to engage.
Donald Lu – Goldman Sachs
I mean, how — I man, can China Mobile really help? Because China Mobile really is the biggest carrier in China, but can — I mean, let’s say, China Unicom and China Mobile all are encouraging open market. I mean —
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
Remember, China Mobile was not very encouraging, remember. I mean, like last year, it was totally you had to go through, any product go through the central procurement program, passing quality acceptance test and with the subsidies and this and that, and then whatever type of handset has been determined selected by China Mobile. And now actually I think with the leadership change and then with the new kind of a thinking, I think it’s really helpful that China Mobile has this open market engagement. So they are encouraging this to — okay. And also they say that TD-SCDMA over WCDMA, very much over 2.75G for that matter actually is making a lot of sense because, one, it’s cheaper than WCDMA; two, you don’t need to pay the royalties to the WCDMA. I like that, obviously many folks, right? So they are cheaper price, high quality, and the networks are much improved, and the products much more varieties and more attractive, and the pricing obviously much more affordable.
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
… EDGE type of smartphone is important for emerging markets. What you said is true. However, for their shipments of other company, I think the majority unfortunately is still in China, not in emerging markets. For the emerging markets, take India and Africa for example, I think at this moment the huge majority is still the low-end feature phone, not even middle-end feature phones.
So that I agree with the statement that EDGE smartphones are very much needed for emerging market, and even Qualcomm come up with the so-called platform, that means the rest of the [inaudible]. However, the volume ramp-up may not be as high as people expected. Only in China that the smartphone demand is so strong. There are other countries, I’m talking about emerging countries, there’s a demand but not as strong as this. Still majority — even the economic situation in some of the emerging countries, they’re actually deteriorating, it’s not improving. In that regard, actually putting pressure to reduce the high-end handsets actually going towards the low end. And then the demand for smartphones is there but not as strong. And then I think it will be — need maybe a couple of years to see the stronger demand, yeah.
Hao Guo – CICC
Okay, thank you. So if I may, follow up two questions. I heard from the industry that Qualcomm going to launch very low-end 3.5G solution in Q3, maybe Q4. Maybe it’s targeting for MTK and for low-end competition. So do you heard about — something about this? And can you comment on this? …
Leo Li – Chairman and CEO
The first one, I don’t comment on other people’s the product introduction. But the thing is I heard a similar type of thing and that means this EDGE smartphone is kind of important. And then as I said, I think most of that type of things being shipped in China, not necessarily shipped in overseas markets. So I think — but also I said in my opening statement and then in my Q&A that in China I think with the TD-SCDMA, to compete with the 2.5G, 2.75G type of smartphones, at least the TD-SCDMA offers some kind of [inaudible] still offer some kind of better connectivity than 2.75G, compared with WCDMA, yes, it’s cheaper and without paying the royalty, right?

End of updates

Note: MediaTek has definitely something going against Spreadtrum in this newly opening space. See: this very online (www.veryol.com)  article of July 17, 2012:
Cottage “big change in the situation (translation by Google)
山寨”大变局 (Chinese original)
For Cheng Rainbow Mobile general manager Wang Zhongcheng, really hard over the past 12 months. As one of the hundreds of small and medium-sized mobile phone manufacturer in Shenzhen, Wang Zhongcheng these eight characters of the “dire straits, lean” to describe his current situation.
Wang Zhongcheng company an area of about seventy to eighty square meters, about 10 young people in this office, mostly for sales staff. … Sitting in the office of Wang Zhongcheng, he showed reporters the company’s newly developed intelligent machines. These new MediaTek 6513T chip, more than 800 frequency, 3.5-inch capacitive screen, Android 2.3.5 operating system, ex-factory price of 400 yuan [US$ 63]. The target consumer groups positioned second and third tier cities in the country. …

Spreadtrum strengthening cooperation with Samsung, threatening MediaTek market position [DIGITIMES, July 23, 2012]

China-based handset solution vendor Spreatrum Communications has stepped up its cooperation with Samsung Electronics and may double its shipments by the fourth quarter of 2012, threatening MediaTek’s leading market position in China, according to industry sources.

Spreadtrum, through the cooperation with Samsung, won a number of TD-SCDMA solution orders from China Mobile in the first half of 2012, while MediaTek secured only one order, the sources revealed.

Spreadtrum has expanded its cooperation with Samsung to include 2.5G/2.75G/3G solutions, and Samsung’s handset shipments to China in the fourth quarter of 2012 will nearly all adopt chipset solutions from Spreadtrum, the sources indicated.

Samsung is expected to ship 70 million handsets to China in 2012, the sources estimated.

Meanwhile, Spreadtrum’s development and trial production of quad-core and 4G solutions is also ahead of MediaTek’s by over six months, indicating Spreadtrum’s improving capability, the sources added.

Note that this Spreadtrum’s cooperation with now world #1 Samsung may have an even bigger impact on Windows Phone. According to a latest report Windows Phone shipments in June were just less than 200,000 units in China which accounting for only 1.6% share of the smartphone market there.
See this it.sohu.com article of July 24, 2012:
Acclimatized! Microsoft Windows Phone Chinese Long Way (translation by Google)
微软Windows Phone中国路漫漫 (Chinese original)

Spreadtrum Smartphone Chipset Undercuts MTK by USD 1 [Marbridge Daily, July 5, 2012]

Adopted from National Business Daily article of June 29, 2012:
Cost of smart phones “counter-attack” the chip manufacturers to bring down program costs to ¥ 300 (translation by Google)
智能手机成本“逆袭” 芯片厂商拉低方案成本至300元 (Chinese original)

Chinese baseband chipset vendor Spreadtrum (Nasdaq: SPRD) has announced that its 8810 chipset is priced at USD 7-8, approximately USD 1 less than MediaTek’s 6573 solution, lowering the price of a 3.5-inch smartphone chipset solution to RMB 450-500 [US$ 70-78]. Spreadtrum currently supplies the 8810 to several major brands, including Samsung, HTC, Lenovo (0992.HK), ZTE, Huawei, and Tianyu (K-Touch). Spreadtrum estimates that its smartphone chipset shipments will exceed 20 mln in 2012.

Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek received orders from major brands such as Huawei and ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ) in early 2012. MediaTek aims to capture 50% of mainland China’s smartphone chipset market, and expects 60% of business to come from brand clients, while independent handset design firms will account for the remaining 40%.

Qualcomm senior VP Jeff Lorbeck disclosed that many handset vendors, including Lenovo, TCL, and Longcheer, have begun offering 3.5-inch HVGA smartphones using the Qualcomm Reference Design platform priced at USD 50.

MediaTek and Qualcomm have signed an agreement to offer chipsets at market prices, not below cost, according to an industry source. China’s three major domestic chipmakers produce solutions for entry-level smartphones costing under RMB 300 [US$ 50] to produce and sold at a retail price of RMB 600 [US$ 94].

Indeed a week ago came official information on SC8810-based Lenovo A288t becoming available through online channels and retail stores at 599 RMB [US$ 94] list price:

Lenovo Smartphone Based on Spreadtrum’s 1GHz TD-SCDMA Android Platform Completes China Mobile Certification Testing [Spreadtrum press release, July 19, 2012]

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRD; “Spreadtrum” or the “Company”), a leading fabless semiconductor provider in China with advanced technology in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, today announced that the Lenovo A288t, which is a Lenovo TD-SCDMA smartphone based on Spreadtrum’s 1GHz Android smartphone platform, the SC8810, has completed China Mobile’s certification testing and is expected to achieve sales of more than one million units in the third quarter.

China Mobile’s certification test is a required step and important milestone in the operator’s procurement process and is used to confirm the maturity and stability of TD-SCDMA mobile terminal products.  Lenovo’s completion of China Mobile’s certification process with its Lenovo A288tsmartphone validates Spreadtrum’s 1GHz low-cost smartphone platform as fully compliant with China Mobile’s commercial requirements.

“China Mobile’s certification testing is a key milestone for manufacturers and a prerequisite for mobile phone purchasing by its provincial offices,” said Dr. Leo Li, Spreadtrum’s president and CEO. “The certification of the Lenovo A288t demonstrates its commercial readiness by China Mobile. China Mobile will kick off the purchase of TD-SCDMA phones after completing its certification testing, and this will build the confidence of handset manufacturers in the open market to design the Spreadtrum SC8810 platform into more low-cost smartphones.”

“Lenovo is committed to promoting China’s 3G terminal development.” said Feng Xing, vice president of Lenovo. “We recently completed China Mobile’s certification testing with the Lenovo A288t, which is based on Spreadtrum’s SC8810, and expect to achieve sales of more than one million units of this model in the third quarter, underscoring the popularity of low-cost smartphone devices. This is a milestone in our strategy of vigorously promoting 3G uptake in China by bringing Chinese consumers cost-effective mobiles that are comparable to the world’s top smartphones. The Lenovo A288t is commercially available to consumers now through online channels and retail stores at 599 RMB [US$ 94].”

Spreadtrum’s SC8810 integrates a 1GHz Cortex A5 processor, 3D/2D Mali graphics accelerator, 5 megapixel camera sub-system and supports resolution up to WVGA and wireless connectivity including Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS. The SC8810 delivers low power multimode TD-SCDMA/EDGE/GPRS/GSM operations with dual-mode automatic switching and supports TD-HSDPA at 2.8Mbps and TD-HSUPA at 2.2 Mbps. The SC8810 is delivered with turnkey Android and systems software that reduces the design time and resources required to deliver new handsets to market.

imageCurrently Lenovo A288t is sold for ¥ 569 in retail [US$ 89/94] and as low as  ¥ 479 in wholesale [US$ 75]. It has quite impressive parameters:

  • Network type: Mobile TD-SCDMA, GSM
  • Designs: straight
  • Screen Size: 3.5 inches
  • Resolution: (HVGA) 320 x 480 pixels
  • Touch ways: capacitive screen (multi-touch)
  • Pixels: 3.2 million pixels
  • Operating System: Android the OS 2.3
  • Memory: 256MB RAM
  • Body[?ROM?] size: 512MB
  • Type: Lithium battery, 1500mAh
  • Weight: 105.0g
  • GPS Module: Built-in GPS support A-GPS

Such aggressive exploitation of the SC8810 opportunity is no surprise as today came the report that China market: Lenovo takes up No. 2 in smartphone ranking, says Sino [DIGITIMES, July 26, 2012]:

Lenovo outperformed Huawei, ZTE, and Coolpad to capture the second-rank title in China’s smartphone phone market in June with a 13% share, trailing after only Samsung Electronics which took up a 15-16%share, according data compiled by Sino Market Research.

The launch of low-priced Android-based smartphones and cooperation with the top-three China-based telecom carriers contributed to Lenovo’s success in the smartphone segment, according to industry sources.

Lenovo’s capability to roll out a wide range of smartphone models targeting different price segments is also credited for its prevailing smartphone business, said the sources, adding that Lenovo plans to launch as many as 40 models of its Lephone lineup in 2012.

Following the steps of Lenovo, Acer has recently teamed up with China Mobile and China Unicom to promote its smartphones in China.

Note that Lenovo was probably the most successful vendor to adopt Mediatek’s MT6575 SoC that was leading the H1’12 smartphone market, see the Lenovo A60 related information in Boosting the MediaTek MT6575 success story with the MT6577 announcement [this Experiencing the Cloud blog, June 27, 2012] such as “China Unicom’s top selling handset in the sub-RMB 1000 [sub-US$ 157] smartphone category”. Today’s it.sohu.com article (of July 26, 2012) is providing further interesting details on that:
Lenovo mobile phone whether a flash in the pan? Liu [Jun] said that sustainable success (translation by Google)
联想手机第二是否昙花一现?刘军称可持续成功 (Chinese original)

In 2010, the company launched the “Music Fund”, support for native application development business growth. “Music Fund” first phase of investment of 100 million yuan, managed by Legend Holdings, the company’s professional investment team operations. “Music Fund”, as the angel investors will focus on the development of start-up and early business support in the mobile Internet applications and services.
Liu [Jun, senior vice president of Lenovo Group, MIDH (Lenovo Mobile Internet and Digital Home Business Group) president] said in the dialogue with the Sohu IT, app store has more than 70,000 applications, nearly ten million monthly downloads, the latest data is Lenovo music application store has been downloaded more than 100 million times. Referring to the strategy to build a music store, Liu stressed, Lenovo insisted Android+ strategy on top of the native system in Android, plus Lenovo’s own software.
Liu predicted that Lenovo Mobile [climb up to the market] will be completed within a year or two beyond, to become the leader of the domestic market share. “Speed ​​has become the core competitiveness of Lenovo Mobile, one of R & D speed. First, the speed of the supply chain.” Said Liu Jun, “smart phones than traditional mobile phones more like PCs, therefore, the product delivery time became particularly important, who first to enter the market who will have a head start. “
… Introduced, according to Liu Jun, Lenovo’s first best-selling models A60 color using MTK solution, from design to development to market in just five months, in accordance with the normal process, the same configuration of intelligent models often require 9-12 months of preparation time, Lenovo ahead of competitors in three or four months, in order to grab the opportunity, and accounted for the thousand Yuan machine market.
… Liu said Lenovo Mobile is already considering international expansion, and has taken a number of footsteps, such as Lenovo launched a smart phone in the Russian market. Accordance with the planning of the Lenovo Group, Lenovo will take the first emerging markets, after mature market strategy, the focus of this year, Russia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
At the end of the interview, Liu stressed that our primary task is to do the domestic market into the international market, Lenovo does not rule out in the interview a mergers and acquisitions strategy.
Previously, Lenovo executives repeatedly claimed that M & A has become the core competitiveness of the Lenovo Group. Look at the history of mergers and acquisitions from Lenovo, Lenovo has successfully completed and the integration of the United States IBM, NEC of Japan and Germany, Medion. Of course, the above integration is built around the PC expanded.

In the First Quarter 2012 Results Presentation[May 4, 2012] from Spreadtrum we could find the following slide:

image

and in the Q1 2012 Spreadtrum Communications, Inc Earnings Conference Call Transcript [May 4, 2012] (available via) the following remarks by Dr Leo Li Spreadtrum Communications, Inc – Chairman and CEO: [in]

I just came back from meeting yesterday from China Mobile. … Actually I was told by the Chairman of China Mobile that more than 60 million [will be] centrally procured — actually that’s a minimum number. The actual number will be much higher. So I am very confident my take from China Mobile for recent meetings, executives, yes they are expanded the activities into TD-SCDMA and then they will resume the phase five or phase six type of development, further invested into infrastructure of TD-SCDMA, they will ramp up a much, much higher volume.

Actually next year they — I was told by both China Mobile and other experts in the industry that there will be more than 100 million units expected for TD-SCDMA. This year 80 million to 90 million. So this volume is — I think it’s real and I am very confident that the China Mobile — I was told by China Mobile people, by the way. It’s not that I just say that. It is — TD — it’s here to stay and it will grow very fast.

I think for open channel [i.e. whitebox vendors] will be 20 million-ish or 30 million-ish, will be actually more than 50% of smartphones and for centrally procured — according to China Mobile — I mean, today there is 50-50. So smartphones actually is at or more than 50% of the total TD shipment.

The reason open market [i.e. whitebox vendors] wants TD-SCDMA, you will understand why they want EDGE but TD is very interesting because remember China Mobile has more than 600 million subscribers and then the TD market actually — if you want to use the smartphones obviously you want to have some kind of connectivity, Internet communication and then you have only two choices.

One is W, the other is TD and then the W[CDMA] is more expensive, TD is cheaper. So that’s why — and also TD has this clear advantage over W[CDMA], is that you do not need to change the SIM card. You only change your hand set. You keep your same 2.5G SIM card and then purchase a TD smartphone or TD feature phone. You can enjoy, utilize TD, the wideband or faster data service.

To some extent, even I was told that in the Shenzhen market, maybe it’s kind of like revitalized by the TD-SCDMA or EDGE smartphone type of product, maybe help them to regain so-called strength to engage with the domestic market. Remember in the second half of last year it very rapidly went down — collapsing of (inaudible) market, right. I think I we’ve been asked by many of our Shenzhen customers, asking for both TD products and EDGE smartphone products.

I think [in] the second half the ramp up will be very robust. … both through the carriers … and open channels in the second half of the year, in particular third or fourth quarter, maybe more towards fourth quarter for the open market because people are preparing for the design right now.

… the 8810 and the 6820, those are our so–called single core. I think by the end of Q3 or early Q4 we will offer the dual core 1.2 GHz type of product and then by the end of this year or early next year we will offer quad core, again 1.5 GHz products both of which will be based on 40–nanometers product.

Also it was mentioned in the previous, Q4 2011 Spreadtrum Communications, Inc Earnings Conference Call Transcript [Feb 29, 2012] (available via) that:

… from what we’ve seen, that the open market segment starts growing in volumes or demand is obviously there. I’ll give you examples. There was the WCDMA type of smartphones, right, in China. However, when we go into detail for the WCDMA users, smartphone users, we’ve found that 70% of them are actually China Mobile users, meaning they actually cannot even use the 3G features, WCDMA features for those smartphones.

So obviously there is a natural demand for TD-SCDMA type of low-end smartphones, because for the same China Mobile users they can enable the 3G high-speed data type of applications. So both for feature phones and for smartphones, we’ve seen — from our customer we’ve seen a demand for TD-SCDMA type of products.

we launched the — I think [in] Q4 of the — excuse me, 600 megahertz type of Android [see: World’s lowest cost, US$40-50 Android smartphones — sub-$100 retail — are enabled by Spreadtrum [in this Experiencing the Cloud blog, Dec 11, 2011 – Feb 27, 2012]]. One thing we didn’t anticipate was the market really don’t — they want the higher frequency one. I think we’ve seen an unusually fast market shift. I can tell you this. November, even October/November last year, even October, right, 600 megahertz type of Android smartphone was selling like hotcake. However, by November and then early December, all of a sudden the market demand for 1 gigahertz type of thing, because you want to have some kind of user experience with smartphones.

TD smartphones hasve become very attractive to general consumers and users of the TD type of — the TD market. For our TD-SCDMA 1 gigahertz Android, either Android 2.3 or later 4.0 type of things, ours are highly — maybe the highest level of integration. And like I said, maybe we are lowest cost structure in this segment.

That is Spreadtrum was able readjust its December 2011 strategy for the quickly changed market demand as is clearly visible from the following press releases as well:

Spreadtrum Introduces 1GHz Low-Cost Smartphone Platform For TD-SCDMA & EDGE/WiFi[Spreadtrum press release, Jan 4, 2012]

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRD; “Spreadtrum” or the “Company”), a leading fabless semiconductor provider in China with advanced technology in 2G and 3G wireless communications standards, today introduced a 1GHz Android smartphone platform for TD-SCDMA (SC8810) and EDGE/WiFi (SC6820) and announced that both products are now samplingwith customers. With these two new solutions, Spreadtrum is redefining the performance standard for low-cost smartphones, enabling OEMs to deliver 1GHz performance at US$100 retail prices.

“Our 1GHz Android platform sets a new bar for low-cost smartphone performance,” said Dr. Leo Li, Spreadtrum’s president and CEO.  “The graphics and web browsing performance of the SC8810 and SC6820 compares favorably to one of the most popular smartphone models globally, delivering a high performance applications and gaming experience for consumers. This type of experience has previously been available only in mid- to high-end handset models and can now be delivered by OEMs in US$100 smartphone models.  This will reshape the definition of and consumer expectations for a low-cost handset.”

Spreadtrum’s 1GHz platform is the most highly integrated, lowest power smartphone platform for the TD-SCDMA market. The solution delivers the lowest chip count with a multimode single-chip RF transceiver supporting TD-SCDMA, EDGE, GPRS and GSM and integrates power management.  The platform’s Cortex A5 processor architecture delivers more than 40% lower power consumption compared to ARM11-based products and more than 70% lower power consumption than Cortex A9 products, delivering differentiated standby and talk time performance relative to other smartphone models.

Designed with 40nm CMOS silicon technology, the SC8810 and SC6820 baseband platforms are powered by a Cortex A5 1GHz processor and incorporate an advanced multimedia subsystem which includes a Mali GPU with 3D/2D graphics acceleration and supports high definition video playback, a 5 megapixel camera, a WVGA [800×480] touch panel and connectivity features including Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS. The SC8810 supports TD-SCDMA with HSDPA at 2.8Mbps, HSUPA at 2.2Mbps as well as quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE with dual-mode auto handover, while the SC6820 supports quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM.  Both products combine silicon hardware with turnkey Android software that reduce both the design time and design resources required to deliver new handsets to market.

Spreadtrum’s expansion of its smartphone platform coincides with rapidly increasing demand in China for smartphone products.  Industry analysts expect the smartphone market in China to exceed 100 million units in 2012, leading global demand for smartphone products.

Spreadtrum Announces Commercial Availability of its 1GHz TD-SCDMA and EDGE Android 2.3/4.0 Platforms [Spreadtrum press release, April 26, 2012]

More than 200 Smartphone Design Wins Lay Foundation for Second Quarter Volume Shipment

SHANGHAI, April 26, 2012 — Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRD; “Spreadtrum” or the “Company”), a leading fabless semiconductor provider in China with advanced technology in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, today announced the commercial availability of the SC8810, Spreadtrum’s 1GHz TD-SCDMA Android platform, and the SC6820, Spreadtrum’s 1GHz EDGE/Wifi Android platform. Both the SC8810 and the SC6820 support Android 2.3 and Android 4.0 designs.

“We have now secured more than 200 design wins for our 1GHz TD-SCDMA and EDGE/WiFi Android platforms, and we are expecting to see volume shipments of more than one million units during the second quarter,” said Dr. Leo Li, president and CEO of Spreadtrum Communications. “With these designs, our customers are targeting a $50-100 retailsegment, unsubsidized.”

The SC8810 and SC6820 have been adopted by China and global OEMs on large scale to address the growing demand for low-cost smartphones in China and emerging markets. Both products support both Android 2.3 and Android 4.0 platforms, deliver best-in-class power consumption and demonstrate graphics/web performance on par with globally popular premium smartphone models, while supporting sub-$100 unsubsidized retail price points. The solutions are designed into handsets that are expected to launch commercially starting in May.

The company was also quick to rearrange its 2.5 offering for the feature phone market as there were quick changes as well:

Spreadtrum launches industry’s first 40nm 2.5G baseband [April 26, 2012]

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Spreadtrum Communications Inc. announced commercial availability of the SC6530, the industry’s first 2.5G baseband designed in 40nm CMOS silicon.

“The SC6530 is an industry first for the 2.5G market,” said Dr. Leo Li, president and CEO of Spreadtrum. “By leveraging the most advanced process node in the 2.5G segment, we are able to achieve higher performance at lower cost relative to competitive alternatives.”

The SC6530, in addition to its 40nm design, is the first 2.5G product from Spreadtrum to integrate its leading-edge baseband and RF transceiver technology into a single-chip, simplifying design and reducing overall solution footprint. The chip incorporates an ARM9 processor for high performance on a low-cost platform, and supports quad-band GSM/GPRS, triple-SIM function, HVGA display, H.264 decode and integrates an audio PA. The SC6530 couples its advances in performance, cost and integration with Spreadtrum’s mature, proven turnkey software.

The SC6530 is commercially available now. Spreadtrum expects to achieve volume shipments in May.

Spreadtrum’s three leading SoCs for the second half of 2012 products have the following parameters:

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Source: the following Spreadtrum  product pages
SC8810 TD-HSPA/TD-SCDMA/EDGE/GPRS/GSM 1GHz Low-Cost Smartphone Platform
SC6820 EDGE/GPRS/GSM 1GHz Low-Cost Smartphone Platform
SC6530 GSM/GPRS Single-Chip Baseband/RF Transceiver for Multimedia Feature Phones
Notes:
1. WiFi and location technologies for SC8810 and SC6820 are according to Spreadtrum selects CSR connectivity and Location for Smartphone reference designs [CSR press release, Feb 27, 2012]. This is particularly relevant for SC6820-based EDGE/WiFi smartphones.
2. The ARM Cortex-A5 core has 1.57 DMIPS/MHz performance, while the ARM9EJ-S core 1.1 DMIPS/MHz performance. The former can be used in multicore SoCs as well with upto 4 Cortex-A5 cores (which Spreadtrum will exploit in its upcoming SoCs as well).
3. Dual-SIM Dual Standby solution became available as an option on Spreadtrum’s SC88xx series of TD-SCDMA basebands as well as future products, beginning in 4Q11. See: Spreadtrum Introduces First TD-Dual-SIM Dual-Standby Solution for TD-SCDMA [Spreadtrum press release, Oct 11, 2011]

Just this week came also the announcement of the – probably – highest end smartphone built on SC8810: Spreadtrum Powers Dual-SIM Dual-active TD-SCDMA Smartphone from Huawei [Spreadtrum press release, July 23, 2012]

Huawei T8808D completes China Mobile certification testing

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRD; “Spreadtrum” or the “Company”), a leading fabless semiconductor provider in China with advanced technology in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, today announced that Spreadtrum’s SC8810 1GHz TD-SCDMA smartphone platform is powering the Huawei T8808D, a dual-SIM dual-active smartphone for China Mobile consumers.

Huawei’s dual-SIM dual-activefeature provides consumers with maximum flexibility in how they manage operator service fees. The dual-SIM function allows consumers to choose the SIM that offers the lowest rate or the best network coverage given their location to make or receive calls, send text messages, or use data. Dual-active capability allows both SIMs to be used at the same time, enabling users to switch back and forth between two calls and use voice and data functions simultaneously.

Mr. Wang Weijun, Huawei Device’s president of its Chinese division, said, “T8808D, as Huawei’s first dual-SIM dual-active mobile phone, delivers experience innovation to China’s 3G TD-SCDMA market. In collaboration with Spreadtrum, Huawei will continue to promote popularization and development of smartphones to meet the diverse needs of Chinese consumers with a variety of high quality terminal products.”

“Spreadtrum is driving technology innovation with 2.5G/3G single-chip dual-card dual-standby technology,” said Dr. Leo Li, Spreadtrum’s president and CEO. “In cooperation with Huawei, we have enabled the first TD-SCDMA device based on Spreadtrum’s SC8810 smartphone platform with dual-SIM dual-active capability. This feature will enable consumers to select attractive 3G services while maintaining their original operator service packages. We believe that this flexibility provided to the consumer will help further promote the rapid development of China’s TD-SCDMA market.”

Note that Spreadtrum’s early December 2011 flagship SoCs were clearly inferior to its current flagships:

image

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Additional source: the following Spreadtrum product pages
SC8805G TD-HSPA/TD-SCDMA/EDGE/GPRS/GSM 600MHz Entry-Level Smartphone Platform
SC6810 EDGE/GPRS/GSM 600MHz Entry-Level Smartphone Platform

Spreadtrum is also investigating alternative software platforms as shown by:

Spreadtrum Low-Cost Smartphone with HTML5 Operating System Demonstrated at Mobile Asia Congress 2012 [Spreadtrum press release, July 16, 2012]

Mozilla showcases Spreadtrum smartphone running Firefox OS, highlighting potential of HTML5 on low-cost smartphones

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRD; “Spreadtrum” or the “Company”), a leading fabless semiconductor provider in China with advanced technology in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, today announced that Spreadtrum’s SC8810 smartphone platform was selected by Mozilla to showcase its HTML5 operating system, Firefox OS, running on low-cost smartphone devices. Mozilla demonstrated the handset, based on Spreadtrum’s 1GHz SC8810 smartphone chip and running Mozilla’s Firefox OS, at its booth during Mobile Asia Congress 2012 held last month in Shanghai, China.

Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko project” which allows HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only available to native applications. “Firefox OS is another major step at Mozilla to bring its core values — openness, innovation and opportunity on the web — to users and developers on smartphone platforms,” said Dr. Li Gong, CEO of Mozilla Online Ltd and Mozilla Taiwan. “Our collaboration with Spreadtrum will help enable the power of this truly-open operating system to reach the billions of consumers in emerging markets who will be coming online as first-time smartphone users as well as existing smartphone users who are looking for greater value at lower cost.”

“We have been closely tracking the progress of the “Boot to Gecko project” since its inception and are very excited about Firefox OS as a concrete realization,” said Mr. Yi Kang, vice president of marketing at Spreadtrum Communications. “This type of solution has generated a lot of interest from operators, as the open-source HTML5 platform can provide them with complete control over the handset experience. We expect that the appeal of this platform to our customers will grow as the HTML5 application ecosystem expands.”

This is leading to speculations like: The Feature phone rises (again?) [EE Times, July 24, 2012]

Is it plausible? You bet. I already see signs that make such plots believable.

First is the emergence of Firefox OS. While the jury’s still out on yet another new mobile OS, this HTML5-based mobile operating system may have enough power to stir the debate.

$40 smartphone
Second, there is mounting market pressure (from handset vendors and operators alike) for low, low-cost smartphonesIn an interview with EE Times in early June, Spreadtrum’s CEO Leo Li was on the record by saying that “our customers are ready to roll out $40 ‘real’ smartphones this year.”Every chip company and handset vendor is in the market for a solution that makes all levels of smartphones possible at low cost.

Third, operators are hatching a plot to retain full control of the billing relationship with subscribers.  “Currently, operator billing is available for Android for only a handful of operators, all in developed countries,” according to Daniel Gleeson, an analyst on Mobile at IHS Screen Digest. “Otherwise payments for apps, games etc. go through credit card companies. Obviously operators would prefer that this goes through them as they would get a small slice of that pie as well.”

Fourth, as legal wrangling escalates on Apple iOS vs. Google’s Android IP front, handset vendors are surreptitiously looking for an alternative system – possibly something available for free.

Fifth, let’s not forget about a huge global market — beyond the United States and Europe — that hasn’t embraced smartphones yet. This creates big openings for developers of new technologies and new players on the mobile market.

Above all, I’m convinced that feature phones (OK, “entry-level smartphones”) are not going away, largely because the definition of smartphones vs. feature phones, in my opinion, is fundamentally phony. At best, it’s based on a self-serving marketing pitch by smartphone proponents.

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Boosting the MediaTek MT6575 success story with the MT6577 announcement — UPDATED with MT6588/83 coming in Q4 2012 and 8-core MT6599 in 2013

Follow-upMediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA is available for Android smartphones and tablets of Q1 delivery [Dec 12, 2012]
The MT6588 was recently renamed MT6589.

Update: Sold 70 million in the first three quarters, MediaTek smart chip dominates China [The Liberty Times, Taiwan, Oct 2, 2012] translated by Google/Bing with additional manual edits of my own 6588

Qualcomm (Qualcomm) last week launched a lower-priced smart phone chip against rival MediaTek (2,454), but according to the the recent shipment situation MediaTek shipped in China more than 70 million smartphone chips in the first three quarters, 10 million more than Qualcomm there, and become a smart-phone chip superpower in China. Merrill Lynch is bullish on MediaTek outlook because for Qualcomm’s “MSM8225Q” to shake up MediaTek’s leadership still will not be easy.

Barclays Capital analyst Lu Hang increased MediaTek smartphone chip shipments in the next two years to 180 million and 290 million, respectively.

Chinese mobile phone distributors circle recently the hottest topic number the high pass last week, low-cost quad-core mobile phone chip “MSM8225Q/MSM8625Q “, estimated price falls to $ 25, the market worry renewed price war, the impact MediaTek Maori. However, the latest released Merrill Lynch research report pointed out that the dual-core MediaTek chips and the two Qualcomm quad-core chips compared to each other competitively, plus “8225Q” mass production may be in March next year, by about one quarter behind the MediaTek quad-core chip “MT6589″ (formerly known as MT 6588), the cost of which is expected to be cheaper than the dual-core version, meaning MediaTek is still dominant.

Update: Taiwan chip designer MediaTek downgraded amid competitive pressure [WantChinaTimes.com, Oct 2, 2012]

… In a report dated Sept. 27, [independent financial services group] CLSA [Asia-Pacific Markets] said the market was optimistic about MediaTek’s gross margin in the second half of 2012 and in 2013 after the company forecasted a gross margin expansion for the third quarter of this year, ending 11 consecutive quarters of contraction.
However, MediaTek’s management told the press on Sept. 25 that the company’s quarterly gross margin growth is likely to remain flat in the fourth quarter of this year and will not expand until the second half of 2013, the report said. …
… One of the reasons investors were optimistic about MediaTek’s 2013 margin was that they thought its new quad-core MT6588 chip had no competition, as Qualcomm made only very high-end quad-core ICs, [CK] Cheng [a Taipei-based analyst at CLSA] said.
But the launch of the MSM8225Q will change that perception, Cheng said, noting that Qualcomm is aiming to release the chip for customer sampling by the end of 2012 and ship in volume in the first quarter of 2013.

Although the Qualcomm chip is scheduled to be launched a month or two later than MediaTek’s, Qualcomm’s price is likely to be 5% cheaper because of lower specifications, he said.

While MediaTek is believed to have superior products and better low-end smartphone ICs than Qualcomm, price does matter to Chinese handset makers, Cheng added.
“This is the main reason why MediaTek has been struggling to lift its average selling price and improve its margin since the third quarter of 2011, although it continues to offer faster processors and multi-core solutions,” he said.
“We don’t think MediaTek’s quad-core solution can reverse this trend,” Cheng said.
As for Chinese competitors, the increased production of RDA Microelectronics’s connectivity combo chip and Spreadtrum Communications’ 2G smartphone ICs will also weigh further on MediaTek’s margins and average selling price, Cheng said.
CLSA raised its forecast for MediaTek’s earnings per share by 3% for 2012 and by 8% for 2013, factoring in the company’s acquisition of its smaller rival MStar Semiconductor, but the brokerage maintained its target price of NT$250 (US$8.53) on the stock.
As of 10:26am Monday, MediaTek shares had dropped 4.62% to NT$310 (US$10.59) in Taipei.

Regarding actual Cortex-A5 and Krait-related information see on this blog the actual:
Core post: Qualcomm decided to compete with the existing Cortex-A5/Krait-based offerings till the end of 2012 [Sept 30, 2012]

Update: Mediatek [联发科] target price by Barclays is [NT$] 395 [Taiwan’s Commercial Times News, Sept 26, 2012] as translated by Google/Bing with additional manual edits of my own

Lu Hang [陆行] [principal analyst of semiconductors for Asia-Pacific at] Barclays Capital Securities [巴克莱资本证券 Taiwan Limited, 11F, 106 Xin-Yi Road, Sec. 5, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. << from] yesterday (25) revealed, that MediaTek 28 nanometer quad-core A7 smartphone chip MTK6588 launch time is expected to advance to the fourth quarter of this year from the first quarter of next year! Because the price is very competitive, only 18 to 20 dollars, not only quadcore smartphone prices in mainland China will immediately fell to less than 150 dollars following that, the company will also have the opportunity to break into [the market of ] first-tier [i.e. global brand] manufacturers such as Samsung.

Lu Hang said that Mediatek’s biggest “backer” [in terms of stock market performance] is expected to be the launch of MT6588 (quad-core A7 [with] TD-SCDMA/WCDMA) and MT6599 (8 core of the ARM [with] LTE/TD-SCDMA/WCDMA) smartphone chips in 4th quarter [of this year] and in the next year, respectively.

Lu Hang believes that there are 5 items which will affect the profits of the overall market with MediaTek MT6588:
– First, the quad-core smartphone prices in mainland China can immediately be reduced from the current US$ 320 to US$ 150.
– Second, we will see in the near future more dual-core 1.7Ghz Krait-based MSM8960A [on one hand], and MSM8974 [on the other], which is same but with quad-core, rather than next to the launch of 8225Q.
– Third, in the fourth quarter of next year the estimated proportion of MT6583/MT6588 [shipments] within the total smartphone chip shipments will reach 50%, even the year after the fourth quarter launched MT6599 will also have 50% level, thus raised its shipment forecast value.
– Fourth, MT6588 will help to maintain the overall ASP at a level of more than $ 10, and customers can be [serviced via a] unified system design.
– Fifth, with the help of 13 million pixels CMOS the sensing power amplifier manufacturers will focus on mainland China and other emerging markets.

Important remark from Barclays Hires New Taiwan Investment Banking Head [The Wall Street Journal, Aug 19, 2012]:

Barclays … is … an advisor to chip design firm MediaTek Inc. on its proposed acquisition of a minority stake in MStar Semiconductor Inc. worth around $3.8 billion, announced in June, according to Dealogic.

Update: MediaTek will produce small amounts of MTK6588 in October [MTK mobile phone network, Sept 10, 2012] as translated by Google/Bing

Recently MediaTek message there are two who are more concerned about one thing, according to Taiwan media reports, the fastest possible production of MediaTek quad-core mobile processor chip MTK6588 will start in October this year a small amount, quantity should not be a lot, may be available only to large client proofing purposes. Rumored MediaTek MTK6588 manufacturing cost is even less than dual-core MTK6577. Quad-core MTK6588 is using 28 nm technology process to support tens of millions of pixels of camera, support for TD/WCDMA dual-mode network, support 1080P playback and recording, and is equipped with a PowerVR SGX 544 graphics processor.
According to show learned about MTK6588 before, Quad MT6588 or will before the end of trial production, mass production quantities listed in the first quarter of next year.

Update: Lenovo Selects MediaTek to Power New LePad Android Tablet [MediaTek press release, Sept 13, 2012], note: “The MT6577 is pin-to-pin compatible with the previously released MT6575” source: the MT6577 launch release

MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced that Lenovo has selected its highly integrated Android mobile platform for the new LePad A2107, dual-SIM 3G/HSPA tablet, which is shipping to customers globally.
The LePad A2107 provides high-speed cellular data and wireless connectivity and is designed for tablet users who want to be “connected always”. The A2107 uses MediaTek’s proven Android mobile platform consisting of the MT6575 and the MT6620 SoCs. The MediaTek MT6575 incorporates a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM A9 processor, a PowerVR™ Series5 SGX GPU (graphics processing unit) from Imagination Technologies, a 3G/HSPA modem and built‐in support for 3D displays and DTV‐grade multimedia capabilities by leveraging the company’s world‐leading DTV platform technologies. The MT6620 4-in-1 connectivity combo integrates an 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, GPS, and FM transmitter/receiver into a single chip with the world’s smallest footprint and leading low-power consumption. The MediaTek mobile platform is ideally suited to enable mobile device manufacturers like Lenovo, helping them to address the mid and entry‐level tablet market that demands global connectivity for today and tomorrow.
“Consumers are increasingly using tablets as a companion device to the PC and mobile phone to access media and information. We forecast that the tablet market will increase from 119 million in 2012 to 494 million by 2016(*),” said Mr. Mark Hung, Research Director at Gartner. “A company that has capabilities and technologies across different multi-screen platforms, from smartphones to DTV, should be well positioned to benefit from participating in the growing tablet market.”
*Source: Forecast: Media Tablets by Operating System, Worldwide, 2010-2016, 2Q12 Update, 4 July 2012, by Gartner

Update: the best smartphone based on the MediaTek MT6577 both technically and in terms of price is the MT6577-based JiaYu G3 with IPS Gorilla glass 2 sreen of 4.5” etc. for $154 (factory direct) in China and $183 [Sept 13, 2012], which is also the best example of The low priced, Android based smartphones of China will change the global market [this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud blog, Sept 10, 2012]

Update: MediaTek MT6577 Performance Review [mediateklab YouTube channel, Sept 3, 2012]

Update: New MediaTek chip efficiency: catching up with iPhone4s [MTK mobile phone network, Sept 6, 2012]

2012 International Semiconductor exhibition yesterday (5) days in Taipei debut, over the years, the first IC design Forum yesterday morning talk show, presenter mediatek Vice President Lu Guohong home 3G smart mobile phone chip specification level, noted that MediaTek MT6577 of the latest dual-core Smartphone chip efficiency, comparable with iPhone4s. By the show’s brief is not difficult to see, MediaTek, engaged global Smartphone chip leader Qualcomm momentum is high.

IPhone4s core processor for Apple A5, the design was based on Cortex-A9 dual core 1GHZ frequency of ARM architecture processors, Lu Guohong comparison list noted that mediatek MT6577 newest 3G Smartphone dual-core chips are used by An Mou with iPhone4s A9 dual core architecture, AP mobile core chips, baseband chip, RF chips and GPU architecture level par with iPhone4s.

Update: MediaTek Launches “Cool 3D”: A Comprehensive Suite of 3D Solutions for Smartphone Platforms [MediaTek press release, Sept 11, 2012]

MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions announced today the availability of “Cool 3D”, the world’s most complete 3D suite of solutions, for its smartphone platforms. Consumers continue to look for new features in smartphones, such as 3D capabilities, and a report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc, predicts that the global market for 3D enabled smartphones is projected to register 994 million units in annual shipments by the year 2018. Demand for this innovation will be driven by the increased availability of 3D content, such as games, videos and full length movies.
The “Cool 3D” suite for MediaTek smartphone platforms includes support for stereo 3D cameras and displays, real-time 2D-to-3D conversion and an optimal 3D user interface that is designed to provide consumers with a stunning 3D experience. Two distinguishing features are “3D Cool Shot” and “3D Cool Show”. MediaTek’s “3D Cool Shot” solution supports a cost-effective 5 MP, dual-lens camera, which achieves 1080P, 24 FPS 3D images, giving users a high-definition visual experience. The MediaTek smartphone platforms are the first of their kind in the industry to integrate the functionality of the dual-lens bridge devices into the main smartphone platform, reducing system cost and saving precious board area. The “3D Cool Show” technology substantially improves the stereo 3D effect with anti-fatigue capabilities, and real-time transformation between 2D/3D modes, allowing for convenient switching between the 2D and 3D displays. These solutions, which leverage MediaTek’s established 3D technologies from the DTV and Digital Home markets, are aimed at creating an optimal stereo 3D display with a custom-tailored 3D interface.
“One consequence of the rapid developments in the smartphone market is product homogenization or the ‘all smartphones look alike’ phenomena. Creating product differentiation has become one of the biggest challenges for the mobile phone industry “said Ching-Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek. “From Dual-SIM to 3D capabilities, MediaTek has always pushed technological innovation in our platforms, enabling rich and compelling devices and solutions. By working together with our customers, we hope our industry-leading, ”Cool 3D” suite of solutions can lead the wave of 3D smartphone popularity, allowing even more consumers to enjoy an extraordinary 3D experience.”

The “Cool 3D” suite of capabilities is already enabled on MediaTek’s shipping MT6575 single-core and MT6577 dual-core platforms. All future launches of MediaTek smartphone solutions will support these 3D capabilities.

Updates: Shares of MediaTek jump on positive shipment target revision [Focus Taiwan, Aug 1, 2012]

… As of 11:15 a.m., shares of MediaTek had added 6.67 percent to NT$272.00 (US$9.07), off an early high of NT$272.50, with 23.82 million shares changing hands. … MediaTek announced Tuesday at an investor conference that it had raised its target for smartphone chip shipments to 95 million units, from a previous estimate of 75 million units, mainly because of strong demand from China.

In the second quarter, the IC designer shipped 21 million smartphone chips, higher than the 18 million to 20 million previously forecast. The company said it would ship at least 30 million smartphone chips in the third quarter.

… MediaTek said it expects its gross margin will improve to 41-43 percent for the third quarter from 40.8 percent in the second quarter. …

MediaTek hikes 2012 target smartphone chip shipments [DIGITIMES, Aug 1, 2012]

… The company expects its MT6575 and MT6577 chips to account for 60% of total smartphone chips sales in the third quarter and 80% in the fourth. …

MediaTek eyes Q3 double-digit revenue growth [Taipei Times, Aug 1, 2012]

MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the nation’s largest handset chip designer, said yesterday revenue in the third quarter of this year is projected to grow between 13 percent and 18 percent from the second quarter, following the launch of new products and strong demand for smartphone chips.

That would mean a quarterly revenue of between NT$26.50 billion (US$883.33 million) and NT$27.70 billion, compared with NT$23.44 billion in the second quarter.

MediaTek said second-quarter revenue rose 19.5 percent sequentially and 11.7 percent from the same period last year, primarily driven by the fast-growing smartphone demand in China.

However, gross margin for the quarter was 40.8 percent, down 1.3 percent and 5.1 percentage points from the previous quarter and the same period of last year respectively. The company attributed that fall to fierce price competition in the market.

Total smartphone chip shipments are likely to reach 95 million units this year, of which between 50 percent and 60 percent will be 3G chips and the remainder 2G chips …

MediaTek a product roadmap leaked: Quad-core code-named MT6588 [MTK Smartphones Network (MTK手机网), July 27, 2012]

From a recently obtained electronic forum information abroad we see that the MT6585 code communicated earlier for the quad-core MediaTek smartphone chipset is wrong. The true model code is MT6588. It is built on the 28nm process in order achieve higher performance level than the dual-core MT6577 technology.

MT6588 has a 4-core CPU [Cortex-A7 (!), see on the second slide below] clocked at 1GHz [1.XGHz rather, see the included slides below], supports dual-channel at maximum 1066Mbps, has an integrated multimode modem for WCDMA [+ it is delivering HSPA+ WCDMA performance (!) vs just HSPA with MT6577/75, see the first slide below] and TD (!), that is it can support both Unicom [latest upgrade to HSPA+ service, see the news in the original post materials much below] and China Mobile 3G network, supports an up to 13 MP camera and 1080P video playback. It finally has a GPU upgrade with SGX544, doubles the resolution to 1280×800 HD level, and has 32KB L1 cache and 1MB L2 secondary cache.

Along the MT6588 there is a 28nm dual-core version, MT6583 on the MediaTek 2012 product roadmap. From the chipset parameters it is evident that MT6583 is a scaled down version of MT6588. It has 2 cores less, the camera support is 8MP, the video decoder is of 720P level, and the resolution is down to 854×480.

It is understood that MT6588 and MT6583 will be in production in the first quarter of 2013, early next year the fastest.

The MediaTek product roadmap

MTK MT6588 chip Introduction

Note: No search reveals the source for the above information.

MediaTek to launch quad-core smartphone solutions in 1Q13, says paper [DIGITIMES, Aug 6, 2012]

MediaTek is expected to launch its first quad-core smartphone solution, the MT6588, in the first quarter of 2013, according to a Chinese-language Liberty Times report. The MT6588 features a quad-core 1.5GHz or 1.7GHzCortex-A7 CPU, supporting WCDMA and TD-SCDMA technologies.

The MT6588, which features a 13-megapixel camera, also supports 1080p video playback and a display resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. The chip will be built using a 28nm process, the paper said.

Additionally, MediaTek will also roll out a 28nm dual-core solution, the MT6583, during the same quarter. While the dual-core CPU of the MT6853 will also run at 1.5GHz or 1.7GHz, the chip will support a resolution of 854 by 480 pixels targeting a segment different from that of the MT6588, the paper indicated.

End of updates

The original content:

  • About the just four months old MT6575-based market
  • MediaTek provided general MT6575 information
  • Some history leading to MT6575
  • Turmoil on the H1CY12 market in China:
    International and local brands, as well as white-box vendors are repositioning for the most lucrative CNY500 (US$79) to CNY1,000 (US$157) smartphone market of H2CY12 and on

Note: the PowerVR SGX Series 5 GPU used for MT6577 is said to be by 3d parties SGX531, See: SoC list on Imagineers blog, or Lenovo (indirect).

Greater China mobile solutions – From silicon to software [DIGITIMES Research, June 8, 2012]

Abstract

The China mobile market has developed rapidly, with smartphone shipments reaching 69 million units in 2011 and tablet shipments soaring from around one million in 2010 to some 10 million in 2011, and potentially exceeding 20 million units in 2012. As consumer spending power increases, local vendors are focusing on more market tiers and makers have begun to make a play for the high-end market.

Updates: China market: Nearly 195 million handsets shipped in 1H12 [DIGITIMES, July 10, 2012]

There were 194.913 million handsets shipped in the China market during the first half of 2012, consisting of 106.874 million (54.83%) 3G handsets in 801 models and 88.039 million (45.17%) 2G handsets in 1,298 models, according to statistics published by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Of the shipment volume, 94.855 million or 48.67% were smartphones in 822 models of which 801 models or 97.44% were based on Android. China-based vendors accounted for 75.16% of the half-year shipment volume, and international vendors 24.84%.

The monthly shipment volume of smartphones exceeded that of feature phones for the first time in April 2012, with the corresponding proportion increasing to 56.9% in June.

China market: Breakdown of total handset shipment volume, 1H12
Generation

Technology standard

Number of models

Shipment volume (m handsets)

3G

WCDMA (China Unicom)

476

53.099

CDMA2000 (China Telecom)

174

28.197

TD-SCDMA (China Mobile)

151

25.578

2G

GSM

1,272

81.915

CDMA1x

26

6.076

Source: CATR under MIIT, compiled by Digitimes,  July 2012

China smartphone market 2012: Trends and analysis [DIGITIMES Research, July 3, 2012]

Abstract

The China handset market has exhibited strong growth, with the total number of mobile users in the country reaching 980 million people according to figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), an increase of 130 million over the 2010 figure. Digitimes Research estimates that mobile user numbers could top 1.13 billion in 2012.

Digitimes Research estimates that the China handset market reached some 390 million units in 2011, representing 16% growth on 2010; the market is likely to grow to 430 million units in 2012, representing further growth of 9%. Thanks to the expansion of 3G service coverage and further falls in budget smartphone prices, the share of the handset market accounted for by smartphones is likely to reach 32% or around 143 million units, 70% of which will be Android handsets.

Digitimes Research believes that market share rankings for the China smartphone market will change significantly during 2012. Samsung and Apple will take the top two places, while the big four China-based brandsHuawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad – will take third to sixth places, while Nokia will drop to seventh; these seven firms will collectively account for 85% of shipments.

In other words, the many other brands hoping to seize a share of the market will essentially be confined to competing for a potential market of just 15% of overall shipments or around 21 million handsets. Given such a situation, Digitimes Research projects that many of China’s best known smaller brands such as Xiaomi, TCL, Gionee, Tianyu, Oppo and BBK will see shipments of no more than a few million handsets.

End of updates

China-based white-box vendors expected to ship 200 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]
China-based white-box vendors, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive new chip solutions, have been increasing the production of smartphones, with the total shipment volume expected to reach 200 million units in 2012, according to industry sources in Taiwan.
Taiwan-based MediaTek is offering the makers its MT6575 a chip solution for use in entry-level smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer the MT6577, a solution for high-level smartphones, in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. MediaTek will ship 50-70 million chips to China-based white-box vendors to account for nearly 30% of smartphones to be shipped by these vendors in 2012.
In addition, Qualcomm has strengthened its marketing in the China market by offering turn-key solutions to white-box vendors, with prices for a chips lowered to US$6, the sources cited eMedia Asia as indicating.
China-based white-box vendors sell more than 60% of their smartphone output to overseas markets, including 2.5G models for markets where deployment of 3G networks is not mature yet, the sources indicated. White-box vendors are expected to see larger market demand if their production costs for entry-, medium- and high-level smartphones drop to US$60, US$85 and US$130 respectively, the sources pointed out.

Huawei adopts MediaTek dual-core chip for smartphones, says report [DIGITIMES, June 27, 2011]

MediaTek’s new MT6577, which uses a dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex A9 CPU, has been adopted by China-based Huawei for as many as four of its upcoming smartphone devices, according to a Chinese-languageCommercial Timesreport.

The new MediaTek MT6577 solution is scheduled to enter volume production starting July, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN)reported last week (June 22). The chip is built using 40nm process technology.

MediaTek previously upward revised the prediction for its total smartphone-IC shipments in 2012. The firm now expects to ship about 75 million smartphone chips this year, compared to the 50 million estimated initially.

From:

MediaTek Launches Dual-Core MT6577 Smartphone Platform [MediaTek press release, June 27, 2012]

MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced the availability of the MT6577, a dual-core platform developed specifically for sub-$200 smartphones, the fastest growing segment of the global smartphone market. The MediaTek MT6577 features a dual 1GHz Cortex™-A9 application processor from ARM, a PowerVR™ Series5 SGX GPU (graphics processing unit) from Imagination Technologies, MediaTek’s proven 3G/HSPA modem, and runs the latest Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system. By integrating a dual-core application processor architecture widely deployed in the majority of today’s premium smartphones, the MT6577 boosts application and browser performance by up to 40% compared to single-core platforms, bringing unprecedented levels of user experience to mid- and entry-level smartphones.

“MediaTek’s existing HSPA smartphone platforms – the MT6573 and MT6575 – have been extremely well-received by customers and consumers worldwide, and are currently shipping with major international brands such as Lenovo, TCL/Alcatel, and other top tier Chinese OEMs,”said Ching-Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek. “The MT6577 adds the next level of performance and enhanced user experience to the MediaTek smartphone family, delivering enhanced user interactivity, mobile connectivity and rich multi-media experience previously only available on high-end devices. Consumers everywhere will now benefit from the affordable, high-performance devices enabled by the MT6577. MediaTek is proud to be in the vanguard of companies enabling the democratization of smartphones.”

“Dual-core processors account for over 20% of current smartphone processor shipments, with these devices being mostly in the premium segment and addressed by standalone application processors. MediaTek’s new MT6577, with integrated dual-core processors and 3G/HSPA modem is well suited to bringing similar user experiences to the fast-growing mid and entry smartphone segment which is forecast to grow from under 200 Mu in 2012 to over 500 Mu in 2016” said Stuart Robinson, Director, Handset Component Technologies service at Strategy Analytics.

The MT6577 is designed to deliver rich multimedia experiences, with an 8MP camera, support for up-to high-definition 1080p video playback and the ability to support high-resolution displays up to HD720 (1280×720) resolution. The platform also pre-integrates MediaTek’s leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo that provides support for dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM. The MT6577 is pin-to-pin compatible with the previously released MT6575, allowing handset manufacturers to easily produce multiple tiers of devices leveraging a single PCBA hardware development effort.

The MT6577 dual-core platform is currently being incorporated into smartphone devices by MediaTek’s leading global customers, and the first smartphone models based on this new chipset are expected to ship commercially in Q3 2012.

MediaTek MT6577 [MediaTek100 YouTube channel, July 19, 2012]

MediaTek expects increase in smartphone chip sales [Taipei Times, June 14, 2012]

MediaTek Inc (聯發科) chairman Tsai Ming-kai (蔡明介) said yesterday that he still expects an increase in demand for smartphone chips in the second half of this year, despite a slowing global economy.

Last year, faced with competition that was fiercer than ever, MediaTek posted NT$13.62 billion (US$454 million) in net profit, or NT$12.35 earnings per share (EPS), down sharply from the NT$30.94 billion in net profit, or NT$28.44 EPS recorded in 2010.

Tsai said the worst phase was almost over for the IC designer and the company was gearing up to broaden its product portfolio and win orders to strengthen its profitability.

On the back of robust demand for smartphones, MediaTek has forecast smartphone chip shipments in the second quarter would range between 18 million and 20 million units, up sharply from the 10 million recorded in the first quarter.

For all of this year, the IC designer anticipates smartphone chip shipments to touch 75 million units from rising demand from China and other emerging markets.

MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-jiang (謝清江) said at the shareholders’ meeting that the company would not focus just on the Chinese market, but also target global demand, while operating a total of 23 offices worldwide.


About the just four months old MT6575-based market

ZOPO ZP200 3D Movie Playing [AndroidSale YouTube channel, March 22, 2012]

http://android-sale.com/zopo-zp200-3d-phone.html | Zopo zp200 is the cheapest glasses-free 3D Android smartphone, with 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 8MP camera.

image
Source: MTK6575 Cpu Andorid >> on fastcardtech.com

Note that even for global wholesale there are much more products of the above kind, as you could see from the table below (the ones which are also on the above diagram are highlighted in yellow). Click here for a PDF version in case you want to click on the links:

image

There are a couple of recent Chinese startups capitalising on the MT6575 opportunity. The most successfull among them is probably ZOPO Mobile Communications-equipment Ltd. in Shenzhen, China, introducing itself as:

ZOPO Company is founded in 2012, which engages in research, development, produce, marketing and service of mobile intelligent terminal products. The ZOPO ZP200 model as” The China‘s first Glasses-Free 3D dual sim smart mobile phone ” has been a hot Star in China mainland.

Zopo ZP100 MT6575 4.3″ qHD $174 street price [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, April 9, 2012]

The MediaTek MT6575 is out of the gate. ARM Cortex-A9 invades the low cost Shenzhen Smartphones market. http://www.zopomobile.com opened their first store on the Huaqiangbei Shenzhen Smartphones market street, to sell their new ZP100 smartphone at 1099rmb (USD$174). It’s got an awesome 4.3″ qHD 960×540 LCD capacitive screen made by Sharp, a 5 megapixel auto-focus camera/camcorder made by Sony, the MT6575 makes it support Dual-sim WCDMA/3G/Data and GPRS/Voice at the same time. And it’s got a removable 1650mAh battery, MicroSD slot and Micro-USB that does not double as an MHL output. Of course I bought one because I want to test the MT6575 processor. Let me know in the comments what you would like to see me test on this and other upcoming MT6575 Smartphones.

I’m back in Shenzhen! Here getting ICS installed on my Zopo ZP100 MT6575 [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, April 9, 2012]

As I am going to be video-blogging the latest advances in Linux on ARM at the Linaro Connect Hong Kong conference next week, I just landed a few days early so that I can now video-blog again video-blog the latest news out of Shenzhen. It’s appropriate for me to video-blog the latest news in Shenzhen monthly don’t you think? In this video, I got the Zopo staff at the Zopo store on Hua Qiang Bei Shenzhen to update the firmware on my Zopo ZP100 MT6575 ARM Cortex-A9 based phone because I had a hard time figuring out how to do it looking at the Chinese-only http://bbs.zopomobile.com ICS seems to be extremely smooth on the MediaTek MT6575, I’m going to ask Zopo in the days to come what they expect to do about reaching the European, US markets and worldwide with this phone. Check back in the days to come for the latest news from Shenzhen as I’m hearing about an upcoming Dual-core MediaTek MT6577 to be in an upcoming Huawei 4.5″ low cost super phone, the i.MX6 is being worked on by Shenzhen based PCB design houses, Rockchip is very close to take large market share for tablets out of Shenzhen with their new Dual-core RK3066 platform. Check back onhttp://ARMdevices.net for a lot of new videos about those. Let me know in the comments what you would like me to film and do in Shenzhen. I have some big plans to finally do something about group buys (through reliable and trusted Shenzhen based device makers and sellers) and I plan to launch some new special features here on http://ARMdevices.net during the next few days so check

The author of the above videos (Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, see also a recent interview with him about his videoblogging) went through quite a tour about the new MT6575-based entries in the first half of April:
$158 5″ WVGA MT6575 Cortex-A9 Smartphone presented by www.yooe.com.cn
Zhenai A900 waterproof MT6575 smartphone
$79 3.5″ MT6575 Orient Smart Development Ltd
MT6575 phone shown by Quality Industrial Co Ltd
$142 Galaxy Nexus clone, runs ICS on MT6575, with 4.65″ LCD
Hyundai Brilliant H950, 5.2″ MT6575 phone runs Ice Cream Sandwich at the HKTDC Electronics Fair
$140 5.2″ MT6575 Android phone by Daza Electronics at the HKTDC Electronics Fair
ICS on 5″ MediaTek MT6575 Dolphin A80 phone [from Yooe] (note that this is represented on both the above diagram and the table)
Shenzhen Factory Entrance (note that this is also where Yooe is manufacturing, quite likely)
The Shenzhen Speakers Factory (the same factory was manufacturing speakers during the visit)
Then he returned in the end of May with these video reports:
Yooe MT6575 phone now selling
MT6575 Cutepad 5″ phone

He was showing off some of the latest gadgets that he found in Shenzhen in this video as well: Interview with Nicolas Charbonnier at Linaro Connect, Hong Kong [jasonderose YouTube channel, June 4, 2012]


MediaTek provided general MT6575 information

MT6575 [MediaTek product page, March 29, 2012]

Dual-SIM smartphone platform for the mainstream mid and entry level market

MT6575 is MediaTek’s new dual-SIM smartphone platform for the mainstream mid- and entry-level smartphone markets. Enabling browsing, gaming and multimedia features that will delight consumers, support the latest Android releases and the industry’s best dual-SIM performance for voice and data calls, the MT6575 is MediaTek’s most advanced and competitive smartphone platform to date.The MT6575 combines a software and hardware reference design solution to enable dramatically faster time to market at a highly competitive price point. The MT6575 is set to redefine the performance of mainstream smartphones.

Features

  • 1GHz ARM CortexTM-A9 CPU allows for outstanding web browsing and application performance
  • High-performance 3D gaming and UIfeatures enabled by PowerVRTM SGX Series5 GPU
  • High-definition 720p videoplayback and record
  • Per-packet Rx antenna diversity
  • 8 MP camerawith enhanced image processing capabilities
  • Up to high-resolution qHD (960×540) displays
  • Supports both portrait and landscape display modes by built-in dedicated HW
  • Features stereo 3D video playback and advanced 2D-to-3D image/video conversion
  • No lost calls on either SIM – even with active data transmission on either SIM
  • Better Power Efficiency – Up to 500 hours of standby and over 8 hours of talk-time on 3G, 45 hours of audio playback and 6 hours of 3D gaming.

MediaTek – MT6575 [a featured product page, July 5, 2012]

Redefining performance of mid/entry smartphones in 2012

Overview

MT6575 is MediaTek’s new dual-SIM smartphone platform for the mainstream mid- and entry-level smartphone markets. Enabling browsing, gaming and multimedia features that will delight consumers, support the latest Android releases and the industry’s best dual-SIM performance for voice and data calls, MT6575 is MediaTek’s most advanced and competitive smartphone platform to date.

Key Features

The MT6575 platform offers a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM-A9 processer for outstanding web browsing and application performance, a proven 3G/HSPA modem and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. Other key features include:

♦  Superior CPU, GPU, and System Performance
– High-performance 3D gaming and UI features enabled by PowerVRTM SGX Series5 GPU
♦  Richest Multimedia Features
– High-definition 720p video playback and record
– 8 MP camera with enhanced image processing capabilities
♦  World-First Integration Of Stereo 3D Display Controller And 3D Video Processing
– Features stereo 3D video playback and advanced 2D-to-3D image/video conversion
♦  Best Display Picture Quality
– Brings the same level of LCD-TV picture quality to mobile devices
♦  Leading Dual-SIM Features and Performance
– No lost calls on either SIM
♦  Lowest BOM costs
– Highly integrated platform includes the world’s smallest 4-in-1 connectivity combo (MT6620) that allows for small size and lower BOM costs
♦  Better Power Efficiency
– Up to 500 hours of standby and over 8 hours of talk-time on 3G
– Up to 45 hours of audio playback and 6 hours of 3D gaming
The MT6575 is currently being incorporated into the latest smartphone offerings by many of MediaTek’s leading customers and the first smartphone models based on this new platform have already hit the market in the first quarter of 2012.

MediaTek – MT6620 [a featured product page, Sept 21, 2011]

Highly Integrated 4-in-1 WLAN/Bluetooth/GPS/FM Combo Solution

Overview

MediaTek MT6620 integrates WLAN, Bluetooth, GNSS and FM, to provide the best performance and most convenient single chip. MT6620 implements advanced and sophisticated Radio Coexistence algorithms and hardware mechanisms. MT6620 also supports a single shared antenna (2.4 GHz antenna for Bluetooth and WLAN, 5 GHz for WLAN and 1.575 GHz for GPS).

Enhanced overall quality for simultaneous voice, data and audio/video transmission on mobile phone and tablet PC can be achieved. The small size with low power consumption reduces PCB layout area. The software package “Symphony” comes with many advanced features.

Key Features

  • Low power, small size and high performance
  • WLAN/Bluetooth/GPS/FM solution WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band single stream (20/40MHz) with dual band LNA and 2.4GHz PA integration
  • Bluetooth 3.0+HS and V4.0 Low Energy support with LNA and PA integration
  • Support GPS/Galileo/QZSS/SBAS with -165dBm tracking sensitivity FM Tx/Rx with RDS/RBDS support
  • Support Wi-Fi Direct and WAPI hardware encryption
  • Support FM over Bluetooth
  • PLC (Packet Loss Concealment) technology for superior audio quality
  • Advanced AlwaysLocateTM location awareness technology with ultra low power consumption
  • Flexible host interfaces support include single SDIO interface for all wireless functions

MediaTek Launches MT6575 Android Platform [MediaTek press release, Feb 13, 2012]

MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced the availability of the MT6575, its 3rd generation platform for mid and entry‐level Android smartphones. The MT6575 platform offers a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM‐A9 processer, a proven 3G/HSPA modem and runs the latest “Ice‐Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release.

“We expect significant growth in entry and mid‐level smartphones, with wholesale prices under US$190, over the coming years. We forecast that this segment will almost triple in size from 191 million shipments in 2012 to 551 million by 2016. At that time, we also expect approximately 75% of those entry and mid‐level smartphones to ship to emerging markets” said Neil Mawston, Executive Director, Global Wireless Practice, at Strategy Analytics. The MediaTek MT6575 platform is ideally suited to cater to a wide range of smartphone devices that target this growing segment in multiple markets around the world.

“Leveraging the energy‐efficient, high‐performance Cortex‐A9 processor in Android smartphone applications is an extremely compelling proposition and a great proof point for the scalability of the ARM architecture. During 2011 the Cortex‐A9 processor has powered many of the most up‐to‐date and highest performance smartphones. The proliferation of Cortex‐A Series processors into lower cost, mainstream mobile devices will deliver a significant uplift in the user experience,” said Laurence Bryant, Director of Mobile, ARM.

For mid‐range smartphones, the MT6575 platform supports 720p high‐definition video playback and recording with an 8MP camera and qHD (960×540) high‐resolution displays via a PowerVRTM SGX Series5 GPU (graphics processing unit) from Imagination Technologies. In industry‐standard benchmark testing, the MT6575 offered over 35% improvement for browser applications and over 20% improvement in graphics capabilities for gaming when compared to competitors’ best offerings in these segments.

Additionally, the MT6575 platform provides built‐in support for advanced features such as integrated capabilities to drive 3D displays and proprietary algorithms for mobile display picture processing. In sum, the MT6575 provides DTV‐grade picture quality on a smartphone by leveraging MediaTek’s proven technology as a world‐leading DTV platform provider.

The MT6575 platform also supports entry‐level smartphones with smaller display sizes, lower resolution, less memory and reduced multimedia requirements. In addition, the MT6575 boasts the world’s lowest power consumption and most comprehensive integration of hot swap dual‐SIM capability compatible with the Android platform. With the MT6575 dual‐SIM solution, consumers will no longer have to worry about dropped calls while active data transfer is happening on either SIM card, and will experience automatic resumption of data exchange once calls on the other SIM card have ended, in addition, with the hot swap feature enabled, the SIM card can be inserted without switching off the mobile.

The 3G/HSPA modem integrated in the MT6575 platform has been qualified at major 3G operators world‐wide.

The MT6575, delivered in 40nm CMOS technology, builds on the proven track record of the 2nd generation MT6573 platform – i.e., the platform that powers the Lenovo A60, China Unicom’s top selling handset in the sub‐RMB 1000 (approx. $160 USD) smartphone category.

“We are very excited by the prospects of the MT6575 platform. It combines MediaTek’s innovative chipset technology with our proven reference design and complete software solution model. We believe this platform is ideally suited to enable our customers to address mid and entry‐level smartphone cost and performance needs on a global basis – today and tomorrow,” said Ching‐Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek.

The MT6575 is currently being incorporated into the latest smartphone offerings by many of MediaTek’s leading customers and the first smartphone models based on this new platform will hit the market in the first quarter of 2012.

MediaTek’s Full Line of 3G Platforms Aims to Address Mid to Entry-Level Smartphone Market [MediaTek press release, Feb 27, 2012]

MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions today announced the availability of the MT6515, its next generation TD smartphone solution for China sub-RMB 1000 (approx. $160 USD) smartphone market. The MT6515 TD smartphone platform solution integrates a powerful 1GHz ARM CortexTM-A9 processor, 3D hardware, and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. MediaTek’s latest foray into the 3G smartphone market enables high system performance with low power consumption and high cost-performance ratio that raises the bar for what consumers will come to expect from a TD-SCDMA smartphone experience.

According to a recent report released by the market research firm, Strategy Analytics, in the 3rd quarter of 2011, China overtook the US as the world’s biggest smartphone market. Sub-RMB 1000 smartphones were one the fastest growing segments of this market, due in large part to multiple purchases of these models by China’s three major operators in response to consumer needs. As a result, China has seen a sharp rise in smartphone sales starting in the beginning of 2011. MediaTek, with its years of experience serving the industry, attention to continuous innovation, and recent investments in the arena of 3G technologies, has been perfectly poised to meet the growing needs of this new market. With its cost effective, yet high performance smartphone platforms, MediaTek, along with industry partners (i.e. mobile device manufactures and operators), has emerged as a leader in the recent explosion of popularity of mid and entry-level smartphones.

As a member of China’s TD Industry Alliance (TDiA), MediaTek has invested heavily in the R&D of TD chipsets following the initial release of the TD-SCDMA standard. MediaTek’s signature high integration, yet low power consumption platforms have been introduced into TD operators’ handset customization strategies, and MediaTek currently offers a TD mobile device platform series uniquely customized to meet the needs of the Chinese market. As such, it is little surprise that among the mobile devices included in China Mobile’s multiple terminal procurement lists, one finds a variety of end user products that run on MediaTek-driven TD platforms.

Today, MediaTek announced the availability of the MT6515, its next generation TD smartphone platform for the sub-RMB 1000 smartphone market. The platform offers a powerful 1GHz ARM CortexTM-A9 processor, 3D hardware, and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. Multi-media applications and Internet speed have also been optimized. Additionally, the MT6515 TD-SCDMA offers a complete China Mobile 3G package, thus helping increase the speed in which manufacturers can get their products to end-users.

In the field of WCDMA and 3rd generation wireless standards, MediaTek has continued to build upon its proven track record of offering complete mobile device solutions. Worthy of note is the MT6573, MediaTek’s 3.75G smartphone platform released last year. This platform powered the Lenovo A60, China Unicom’s top selling handset in the sub-RMB 1000 smartphone category, and an important factor in the uptick of popularity in phones within this market segment.

Building on the success of the MT6573, MediaTek has released the MT6575, which is designed to run on the latest Android driven platforms. The MT6575 offers a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM-A9 processor and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. The platform supports dual-SIM solutions, and its web performance, power consumption rates, and multimedia features all meet or exceed industry-leading benchmarks, thus guaranteeing that the MT6575 will deliver a significant uplift in the smoothness of user experience. The MT6575 is currently being incorporated into the latest smartphone offerings by many of MediaTek’s leading customers and the first smartphone models based on this new platform will hit the market at the end of this month.

“Using innovative products to help our customers accurately reflect the needs of the market has always been one of MediaTek’s greatest strengths, and we have continued with this tradition of excellence as we expand into the growing smartphone market. MediaTek’s innovative chipset technology, with our proven reference design and complete software solution models, will ensure that our customers find a place in the growing mid and entry-level smartphone market of tomorrow where, along with power and functionality, cost effectiveness has become a must-have feature,” said Ching-Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek.

MediaTek Announces World’s Smallest 4-in-1 Combo Chip Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS/FM Solution [press release, July 21, 2011]

MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced its most advanced wireless combo chip designed to enrich multimedia experience with small footprint and long battery life for smartphones, tablets and portable devices. The MediaTek MT6620 integrates 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, GPS, and FM transmitter/receiver on a single chip with superior size and power benefits, making it the best solution for smartphones, tablets, and portable devices.

Bringing connectivity features to mainstream products such as smartphones, tablets, portable media players (PMPs), gaming devices, and personal navigation devices (PNDs), the MediaTek MT6620 integrates Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM, to provide superior performance and rich features. The MT6620 implements advanced and sophisticated radio coexistence algorithms and hardware mechanisms to enhanced overall quality for simultaneous voice, data, and audio/video transmissions. Its small size significantly reduces PCB layout area and simplifies design efforts. In addition, the MediaTek Symphony™ software package supports all advanced wireless features on the Android operation system. BlueAngel™ Bluetooth software currently can support up to 15 profiles to fulfill most user scenario and bring customer product differentiation.

The MT6620 supports all the leading standards: dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi with WiFi Direct and Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0+HS for simultaneous dual mode Bluetooth BR/EDR/HS and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) operations, GPS with Galileo/SBAS/QZSS and patent pending AlwaysLocate™ technology, FM radio with both transmitter and receiver, making the MT6620 ideal solution for portable devices that require superior performance and long battery life. The MT6620 passes 802.11n WiFi certificate including WPS2.0, WAPI and Bluetooth 4.0+HS on both the controller and MediaTek BlueAngle™ host software.

SR Tsai, General Manager of the Wireless Connectivity Business Unit at MediaTek said, “MediaTek is one of few in the industry to offer 4-in-1 SoC solution for a wide range of mobile applications. As a result of this attention to mobile device manufacturers’ needs, the MT6620 was designed to meet strict requirements, such as low power modes to conserve battery life, a reduced footprint to fit into small, sleek handset designs, and low cost to enable mass market mobile Wi-Fi enabled handsets. We believe that the MT6620 is optimized for mobile devices at the hardware, firmware, and driver levels to speed time to market of innovative designs.”

The MT6620 has entered mass production and is shipping to lead customers in sizable quantities now.

MT6620 Product Highlights:
– Low power, small size and high performance Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS/FM solution
– Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band single stream (20/40MHz) with dual band LNA and 2.4GHz PA integration
– Bluetooth 4.0+HS support with PA integration
– Supports GPS/Galileo/QZSS/SBAS with -165dBm tracking sensitivity
– FM Tx/Rx with RDS/RBDS support
– Supports Wi-Fi Direct and WAPI hardware encryption
– Supports FM over Bluetooth
– PLC (Packet Loss Concealment) technology for superior audio quality
– Advanced AlwaysLocateTM location awareness technology with ultra-low power consumption
– Flexible host interfaces including single SDIO for all wireless functions


Some history leading to MT6575

Stephen Elop’s (Nokia CEO) “Burning Platform” memo leaked by Engadget [Feb 8, 2011]:

In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally – taking share from us in emerging markets.

White-box handset makers gearing up smartphone and 3G handset production, MediaTek to benefit [DIGITIMES, Dec 3, 2010]:

White-box handset makers in China are gearing up their production of in-house designed smartphones and 3G handsets, a trend which will benefit Taiwan-based IC design house MediaTek. China’s white-box handset industry in 2010, has begun to place more emphasis on upgrading specifications and added value to enter the high-end segment, and has allocated more resources on development of intellectual property.

Even the China government has voiced its support for the white-box industry. Yang Xueshan, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), recently said that the government will support the white-box business model as long as there is no infringement of IP.

Yang pointed out that from imitation to innovation is a process white-box handset makers have to go through, citing China-based telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies as a success story. Huawei’s foray into the handset sector began with low-cost products and the company now has research and development capability, he said.

Supporting the white-box business model, given that no patents are infringed, is a good way to protect intellectual property rights as well as provide the most cost-effective products to consumers, Yang added.

More information: MediaTek as the catalyst of the white-board ecosystem
section within Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Experiencing the Cloud, Feb 21, 2011]

Look at the MTK History :MTK6575 Heading Toward 1Ghz smartphone for below $200? [Lady Panda, April 14, 2012]

Let’s look at the MTK History:

They first created chipsets for general phone such as MT6225, MT6235 based on their own MTK RTOS. MTK RTOS is known for fast, features rich and very customizable interface with most features support such as Dual SIM Dual Standby, Dual Camera(Front/Rear), ,MicroSD-HC up to 16-32GB, WiFi, Bluetooth (A2DP/Stereo and most other profiles), Very good J2ME support, Analog/digital DVB, FM Radio. A lot of features rich and very affordable handsets become to appear on marketfor prices below $100.

Then they were one of the first to create a dual SIM WCDMA chipset MT6268 which had even better J2ME support and also 3g features such as WCDMA data and 3G Video calls support. A lot of Dual SIM 3G handsets started to appear for about $150. They all were fully unlocked by default and without any contracts. It provided handsets with a lot of features for a very low price.

Then back in 2009 they have decided to enter the smartphones market with the new MT6516 chipset which provided a solution for fully featured yet low price Windows Mobile 6.5 and Android 2.2. handset with a price tag of below $150 while maintaing the popular Dual SIM Dual Standby Quad Band GSM feature, TV, FM, Bluetooth,GPS/AGPS, HQ Youtube playback, Capacitive Multi-touch screen, Dual Camera with flashlight,Android Market, Voice Search. This chipset was not a high performance gaming chipset, But it’s performancewas surprisingly well and exceeded even a lot of high end expensive chipsets.

Then in 2011 they have released the new MT6573 chipset. Now the MT6573 Android 2.3.4 phone cost $150-$210 and they still maintain the Dual SIM Dual Standby with Quad Band GSM and WCDMA/HSPA support. This chipset, Which main ArmV6 core is clocked at 600-650Mhz, integrate the PowerVR Series 5 GPU so it can run fluently games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Asphalt 5 and many more games. Most of them have 5-8MP back camera with HD video shoting and flashlight supported, HD Videos decoding. Still maintain the analog tv, Capacitive Multi-touch screen, FM Radio, 32GB MicroSD Slot,Bluetooth, GPS/AGPS, WiFi, Voice search and a lot of other advanced smartphonefeatures. The performance is very impressive for such a low price.


Turmoil on the H1CY12 market in China:
International and local brands, as well as white-box vendors are repositioning for the most lucrative CNY500 (US$79) to CNY1,000 (US$157) smartphone market of H2CY12 and on

Digitimes Research: Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad to take 40% of China smartphone market in 2012 [June 27, 2012]

The development of China’s smartphone market has drawn much attention, particularly in 2012, during which the local brands Huawei Device and ZTE will make it to the global top-10 smartphone vendor list. Digitimes Research expects two other brands, Lenovo and China Wireless Technologies (Coolpad), to see their smartphone shipments surpass the 10 million mark in 2012.

In the domestic market, Huawei and ZTE both have been trying to expand their share in the mid-range to high-end segments, resulting in a decline in shipments of low-priced models. While smartphone shipments by Huawei and ZTE will continue increasing in 2012, the two vendors are expected to see the ratios of their shipments to total smartphone shipments in China decline to 12% and 9%, respectively in 2012 from 16% and 11% of a year earlier.

Lenovo, which has been maintaining a close relation with chipset solution vendor MediaTek and has been focusing on the entry-level segment, is expected to ship 12 million smartphones in 2012, Digitimes Research estimates.

Coolpad is migrating to the smartphone sector rapidly and is likely to ship 11.1 million smartphones this year, accounting for 70% of its total handset shipments.

Digitimes Research predicts that shipments of smartphones in China will top 140 million units in 2012, with Samsung and Apple accounting for a combined 40% share. Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad are expected to together take up another 40%, limiting the development potential of other brands.

Taiwan IC designers looking to orders from China-based white-box smartphone vendors [DIGITIMES, June 20, 2012]

Taiwan-based IC design houses have rekindled their hope that they can cooperate once again with China-based white-box handset makers to make a strong presence in China’s smartphone market thanks to the offering of inexpensive chipset solutions from MediaTek and MStar Semiconductor and the rising popularity of smartphone models priced at around CNY1,000 (US$158), according to industry sources.

The availability of the mature and inexpensive chipset solutions and reference designs has lowered the barriers for white-box makers to also jump into the smartphone segment, the sources indicated.

Taiwan-based IC design houses which made a fortune previously by supplying related 2.5G ICs to the white-box manufacturing sector, have begun building up their inventory to meet anticipated demand from China-based white-box makers, noted the sources.

Given that international handset brands have a tendency to cooperate with a limited number of IC vendors, shipments to white-box handset makers in China will serve as a growth driverfor Taiwan-based IC vendors in the second half of 2012, said the sources.

Taiwan-based LCD driver IC vendors Novatek Microelectronics, ILi Techonology (Ilitek), Sitronix Technology, Orise Technology, and controller IC vendors Elan Microelectronics, Egalax-empia Technology (EETI), as well as analog IC makers Richtek Technology, Global Mixed-code Technology and Anpec Electronics will bebenfit from the re-rise of white-box handset makers, commented the sources.

China market: Small-scale makers and retail channels to stage comeback in smartphone segment [DIGITIMES, June 15, 2012]

Small-scale handset makers as well as retail handset channels in China may stage a comeback in the smartphone segment optimizing the availability of low-priced models, according to industry sources.

Under the aggressive marketing strategy and heavy subsidies launched by telecom carriers, sales of smartphones have been strong in the replacement market, said the sources, but added that the top carriers have been dominating the market with their customized models, affecting sales in retail channels, said the sources.

However, the availability of reference designs for the production of smartphones has enabled a large number of small- and medium-size handset makers in China to also jump into the segment, triggering a sharp decline in prices of smartphones, noted the sources.

Prices of unlocked smartphones are expected to drop to below CNY500 (US$79) soon, making it affordable for consumers to pick up smartphones at retail shops without signing subscription contracts with carriers, the sources commented.

China market: Qualcomm pushing sales of 3G solutions to small- to medium-sized handset makers [DIGITIMES, June 12, 2012]

Qualcomm has geared up efforts to push sales of its smartphone solutions to small- to medium-sized handset makers in China, attracting a number of vendors shifting away from the comparable solutions offered by Taiwan-based MediaTek, according to industry sources.

To counter Qualcomm’s strategy, MediaTek has also stepped up sales of its 3G solutions to first-tier handset makers in Chinainstead of its previous focus on small- and medium-sized vendors, the sources indicated.

In addition to Qualcomm and MediaTek, other chipset vendors including ST-Ericsson, Intel, Spreadtrum Communications and MStar Semiconductor, are exerting all-out efforts to grab the handset solution market in China, said the sources, adding that competition between Qualcomm and MediaTek is the fiercest.

But a large number of branded and white-box handset makers in China still prefer Android- and 3.5G-enabled solutions as well as dual-core solutions from MediaTek, since they have established mature business relationships with MediaTek, the sources commented.

Digitimes Research: Smartphones to take 32% of China handset market in 2012 [June 8, 2012]

Digitimes Research estimates that China handset shipments will grow to 430 million units in 2012, with smartphones likely to take 32% of the market, equivalent to 143 million handsets. Given that China already accounted for 22% of global handset shipments in 2011 and the country’s mobile user base is projected to hit 1.13 billion people in 2012, the potential of the country’s smartphone market is staggering.

The boom in China’s smartphone market that began in 2011 was sparked by the expansion of 3G service coverage and falling budget smartphone prices. Carriers have driven this change in an attempt to bolster flagging ARPUs, which stood at just CNY37 (US$6) per month for 2G users of China Unicom in 2011; the ARPU for the carrier’s 3G subscribers was a much more respectable CNY110, according to an upcoming Digitimes Research Special Report on China’s smartphone market.

Carriers have been able to entice China’s price-conscious consumers to make the 3G switch chiefly by offering extremely cheap smartphones priced at around CNY1,000, a figure which could yet fall as low as CNY599 in 2012. This concentration in the low end of the market is a major contributing factor to the dominance of Android in China.

However, consumers in this sector are not willing to spend heavily on profitable 3G services and ARPU for 3G users is already falling steeply. At the current rate of decline, the 3G ARPU will fall to an estimated CNY82 during 2013. China’s smartphone switchover may therefore not prove to be quite as lucrative as the country’s carriers had hoped.

Android 4.0 in entry-level to mid-range smartphones to rise in 2H12 [DIGITIMES, June 7, 2012]

While Android 2.x versions take up about 90% of Android-based smartphones, Qualcomm and MediaTek have begun to offer Android 4.0 common chip solutionsfor smartphone vendors and therefore version 4.0 is expected to be widely adopted for entry-level to mid-range smartphones in the second half of 2012, according to industry sources.

Because Samsung Electronics, HTC, LG Electronics and other vendors have launched Android 4.0 smartphones, and have offered upgrades for older models in the second quarter of 2012, the penetration rate of Android 4.0 has risen from 2.9% in April to 7.1% currently, the sources indicated.

China market: Entry-level smartphones to feature dual-core CPUs in 2H12 [DIGITIMES, June 5, 2012]

Smartphones featuring dual-core CPUs are expected to begin penetrating into the CNY1,000 (US$157) smartphone segment in China in the second half of 2012 thanks to dual-core reference designs offered by MediaTek and Qualcomm, according to industry sources.

Other chipset solution vendors such as ST-Ericsson are also expected to enter the dual-core segment soon, indicated the sources.

Dual-core smartphones may even become the mainstream white-box models in the second half which will squeeze market share from single-core models, and hence triggering a price war, the sources said.

In addition to pushing the clock speeds of CPUs from 1GHz to 1.2GHz, China-based handset makers will also adopt 4.3-inch displays for mainstream entry-level and mid-range modelsinstead of the prevailing 4-inch screens, added the sources.

Prices of single-core smartphones in China are likely to fall below CNY500 in the second half, which may result in a dumping of entry-level and mid-range smartphones by China-based handset makers in the global market, the source commented.

Qualcomm scores points in promoting QRD in China [DIGITIMES, June 4, 2012]

Qualcomm began to offer Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD), a platform for developing smartphone components including memory, sensors, touch screens, cameras and RD devices as well as application software, for vendors and makers in China two years ago and has made significant achievements in boosting inexpensive smartphones by helping its China-based partners, according to company senior vice president and Greater China president, Wang Xiang.

QRD aims to reduce input of resources in development and time to market for China-based smartphone vendors and makers, Wang said. 28 models of smartphones have been launched by 17 vendors under QRD, and more than 100 models are being developed for launch in 2012, Wang indicated.

Qualcomm has set up four China branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xi’an and two R&D centers in Beijing and Shanghai, according to company senior vice president and QRD director, Jeff Lorbeck.

Qualcomm will focus promotion of QRD in China to reduce component costs in 2012 and plans to help China-based partners tap emerging markets in India, Latin America and Southeast Asia through providing technical support in 2013, Wang said.

Lenovo aims to triple smartphone shipments in 2012 [DIGITIMES, June 4, 2012]

Lenovo plans to launch as many as 40 new models of smartphones in 2012, aiming to ramp up its smartphone shipments to 18 million unitsin the year compared to six million units shipped in 2011, according to the company.

Lenovo aims to roll out a lineup of smartphones with different price tags to meet demand from all segments of customers, the company said. Smartphone models priced below CNY1,000 (US$157) currently account for 30% of smartphones sold in China, models priced at CNY1,000-1,499 take another 30%, and those priced above CNY1,500 make up the remaining 40%, Lenovo indicated.

Lenovo saw its smartphone shipments in China grow 21-fold on year in the first quarter of 2012, enabling the company to take up a 10% share in the quarter compared to just 1% a year earlier. The vendor also captured the fourth-rank position in the smartphone segment in China in Aprilwith a 10.21% share, said China-based Sino Marketing Research.

WCDMA models account for 49% of all smartphones sold by Lenovo currently, followed by CDMA EV-DO models at 26% and TD-SCDMA models at 18%, the company noted.

Lenovo also plans to roll out dual-core models in the second half of 2012, using MediaTek’s MT6577 solutions and Qualcomm’s QRD 8×25 and 8×26 solutions, according to industry sources.

Lenovo’s handset OEM partners, including Foxconn International Holdings (FIH), Compal Communications and Wistron NeWeb, are expected to benefit from increasing shipments by Lenovo, the sources indicated.

China market: China Unicom gearing up for sub-CNY800 WCDMA smartphones [DIGITIMES, June 4, 2012]

China United Network Communications (China Unicom), the only WCDMA mobile telecom carrier in China, will promote sale of WCDMA smartphone models priced at below CNY800 (US$127) to attract 2G subscribers to shift to WCDMAin the China market, according to the company.

Of handsets sold at CNY599 or below in the China market in April 2012, TD-SCDMA models took up 24%, CDMA2000 EV-DO models 15% and WCDMA models 1%, according to China-based Sino Market Research. Of handsets sold at CNY600-799, TD-SCDMA, CDMA2000 EV-DO and WCDMA accounted for 20%, 10% and 6% respectively, Sino indicated.

The demand for smartphones in the China market in 2012 is forecast at 200 million units and 44% of which, that is, 88 million units, will be sold at below CNY800, meaning big opportunities for China Unicom, the company said.

In addition to inexpensive smartphones, China Unicom has cooperated with international vendors including LG Electronics, Nokia, HTC, Motorola Mobility as well as China-based vendors K-Touch and Xiaomi Technology to launch mid- to high-level models in the China market for market segmentation, the company noted.

China Unicom has been upgrading HSPA+ service and has deployed 21Mbps HSPA+ networks in 56 cities in China, the company said. While there have been 245 models of HSPA+-enabled terminal devices around the world, China Unicom plans to launch price-competitive models of such devices, the company indicated.

China market: First-tier local brands shifting focus to CNY1,000-1,500 smartphones [DIGITIMES, June 1, 2012]

First-tier local brand handset vendors in China have begun adjusting their strategy to focus on marketing mid-range smartphoneswith prices ranging CNY1,000-1,500 (US$157-236) instead of the previous focus on sub-CNY1,000 models, according to industry sources.

The launch of sub-CNY1,000 smartphones by the top-3 telecom carriers as well as the roll-out of CNY500 models by second-tier handset makersin China has induced top-tier vendors to shift their focus, said the sources.

The second-tier handset makers have been engaged in cut-throat competitionin order to win open bids released by the top-3 telecom service companies, noted the sources, adding that China Mobile has even launched a sub-CNY200 model.

Top-tier vendors, including Coolpad, ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo, are expected to reduce the number of their the sub-CNY1,000 smartphones and will be more active to participate in bidding for CNY1,000-1,500 models, said the sources.

The move by China-based top smartphone brands to the mid-range segment will see them take on some international players including Samsung Electronics, HTC, Nokia, Motorola Mobility which have ventured into the CNY1,000-2,000 segment, the sources commented.

Rumor: China’s Smartphone Prices to Drop to RMB 600 [Marbridge Daily]

Southern Daily, 5/31/12

Industry sources claim that China’s smartphone prices could drop to RMB 600 in H2 2012 due to increasing availability of low-priced smartphone chips. Smartphones featuring Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek’s (MTK) MT6573 processor are available on B2C e-commerce sites such as Taobao and Paipai for RMB 800 and below. MediaTek’s MT6575 chipset, released in March, has already appeared in handsets from domestic handset vendors such as Lenovo (0992.HK), Gionee, ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ), and Yulong (Coolpad), as well as foreign brands such as Motorola. The MT6575 is currently available for between RMB 1,000 to RMB 1,500. Taiwanese chipmaker MStar Semiconductor plans to release its first dual-core chipset solution for RMB 1,000 smartphones next week.

According to a source within Lenovo Mobile, ST-Ericsson released its U8500 dual-core chipset platform in Q1 2012, and handset models using the platform are available from overseas brands at prices no higher than RMB 2,000. Domestic brand handset models featuring the chipset are expected to reach the market in Q2 and Q3 priced at approximately RMB 1,500. Chinese internet company Shanda Interactive will soon release its own branded smartphone using the U8500 priced at RMB 1,199. In addition, Qualcomm will launch its MSM7x27A and MSM7x25A low-priced chipset platforms this year, which will feature in a number of RMB 1,000 smartphones from domestic handset manufacturers.

China-based smartphone vendors to compete with big players with ultra-thin models [DIGITIMES, May 29, 2012]

China-based handset vendors have ventured into the production of ultra-thin smartphones, enhancing their strength to compete with international brands in the global market, according to industry sources.

China-based vendor Oppohas highlighted this manufacturing trend in China by releasing the Finder recently. The Android 4.0-based Finder has a thickness of only 6.65mm.

The Finder also features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB ROM, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera, for a suggested retail price of about CNY3,500 (US$555)in China.

Oppo, one of the top-10 local brandsin China, focuses on the production of smartphones priced above CNY2,000 instead of the prevailing sub-CNY1,000 models, the sources noted.

Thickness of ultra-thin models by brands

Vendor
Model
Thickness
OS
Oppo
Finder
6.65mm
Android 4.0
Huawei
Ascend P1 S
6.68mm
Android 4.0
Motorola
Razr XT910
7.1mm
Android 2.3
HTC
HTC One S
7.95mm
Android 4.0
LG Electronics
Prada 3.0
8.5mm
Android 2.3
Samsung
Galaxy S III
8.6mm
Android 4.0
Apple
iPhone 4S
9.3mm
iOS5

ST-Ericsson seeking cooperation with China-based low-cost smartphone vendors, says paper [DIGITIMES, May 28, 2012]

ST-Ericsson has won adoption of its U8500 chip solution by China-based Shanda which will launch a smartphone for sale at about CNY1,000 (US$158) in the China market on June 6, according to China-based 21st Century Business Herald.

ST-Ericsson is seeking adoption of its chip solutions by more China-based vendors looking to launch smartphones priced at CNY1,000-2,000, the paper indicated. Smartphones for sale at CNY1,000-2,000 accounted for about 50% of all smartphones sold in the China market in 2010 and 2011, with ZTE, Huawei, and Coolpad the leading vendors, the paper said.

China market: 4 local vendors amid top-5 in 3G smartphone market in April [DIGITIMES, May 25, 2012]

In the China market, Samsung Electronics recorded the largest market share of 22.75% for 3G smartphones in April 2012, followed by four China-based vendors — Coolpad with 11.17%, Huawei with 10.92%, Lenovo with 10.21% and ZTE with 9.28%, China Economic Netcited China-based Sino Market Research as indicating.

Other international vendors’ market shares were 8.52% for Apple, 4.14% for Motorola Mobility, 3.95% for Nokia and 2.82% for HTC, the report indicated.

The increased market occupation by China-based vendors was mainly due to selling of their entry- to mid-level 3G smartphone models through contract-bundled sales by China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, the report said.

MediaTek lands 2.5G handset solution orders from Nokia, say sources [DIGITIMES, May 21, 2012]

MediaTek reportedly has landed orders for 2.5G handset solutions from Nokia with shipments to begin in the third quarter of 2012, according to industry sources. MediaTek declined to comment.

Given that global demand for 2.5G handset solutions still reaches one billion units a year, there is room for MediaTek to further expand sales in the segment although the company’s sales of 2.5G solutions have been turning weak recently, indicated the sources. MediaTek shipped 550 million 2.5G solutions in 2011.

With a revised goal of shipping 75 million 3G solutions in 2012, mostly to first-tier handset makers in China, MediaTek is expected to post strong revenue growth in the second half of the year, the sources noted.

Smartphone vendors considering other chip sources due to short supply of Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 [May 15, 2012]

Qualcomm has seen supply of its Snapdragon S4 processors fall short of increasing demand and the situation has pushed international smartphone vendors, including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, HTC and Sony Mobile Communications, to consider other suppliers, according to Taiwan-based handset supply chain makers.

The short supply of Snapdragon S4 is because Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s 28nm foundry capacity is not sufficient and/or the yield rate of the process is not high enough, the sources pointed out.

MediaTek looks to ship 75 million 3G solutions in 2012 [DIGITIMES, May 9, 2012]

MediaTek is expected to ship 75 million 3G handset solutions in 2012, a 50% increase from 50 million units it projected earlier, according to industry sources.

Insufficient capacity of the 28nm process at Qualcomm has forced China-based Huawei Device and ZTE, in addition to existing client Lenovo, to source 3G solutions from MediaTek, contributing to a sharp increase in orders for the IC design house, indicated the sources.

Huawei’s and ZTE’s 3G smartphones built based on MediaTek’s MT6575 solutions are expected to hit the market at the end of the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2012, said the sources, adding that the new M6575 models from Huawei and ZTE will directly take on Lenovo’s comparable model, the A750, in the China market.

Meanwhile, MediaTek has reported consolidated revenues of NT$7.942 billion (US$269 million) for April, decreasing 3.48% on month but increasing 4.19% on year. For the January-April period of 2012, consolidated revenues amounted to NT$27.557 billion, up 0.25% on year, said MediaTek.

China-based white-box vendors expected to ship 200 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]

China-based white-box vendors, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive new chip solutions, have been increasing the production of smartphones, with the total shipment volume expected to reach 200 million units in 2012, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Taiwan-based MediaTek is offering the makers its MT6575 a chip solution for use in entry-level smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer the MT6577, a solution for high-level smartphones, in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. MediaTek will ship 50-70 million chips to China-based white-box vendorsto account for nearly 30% of smartphones to be shipped by these vendors in 2012.

In addition, Qualcomm has strengthened its marketing in the China market by offering turn-key solutions to white-box vendors, with prices for a chips lowered to US$6, the sources cited eMedia Asia as indicating.

China-based white-box vendors sell more than 60% of their smartphone output to overseas markets, including 2.5G models for markets where deployment of 3G networks is not mature yet, the sources indicated. White-box vendors are expected to see larger market demand if their production costs for entry-, medium– and high-level smartphones drop to US$60, US$85 and US$130 respectively, the sources pointed out.

China market: Motorola moving into CNY1,000 smartphone segment, says paper [DIGITIMES, April 13, 2012]

Motorola Mobility has ventured into the CNY1,000 (US$159) smartphone segment in China with the launch of its XT390 smartphone in cooperation with China Unicom, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Timesreport.

The XT390 is also the first Android-enabled smartphone rolled out by Motorola using MediaTek’s 6575 chipset solution, indicated the paper.

Motorola has outsourced the production of the XT390 to Arima Communications and may place orders for up to one million smartphones with the Taiwan-based handset ODM in the second quarter of 2012, said the paper.

China market: Top-4 local vendors to keep entry-level smartphone prices around CNY1,000 in 2012 [DIGITIMES, March 30, 2012]

The top-4 China-based branded handset vendors – Huawei Device, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad – will continue to develop the CYN1,000 (US$159) smartphone segment in China in 2012 and will prevent their channel operators from engaging in price-cutting competition with white-box vendors, according to industry sources.

More newcomers have entered the smartphone sector in China, propelled by the launch of related reference designs for smartphones by MediaTek, MStar Semiconductor, Qualcomm and Spreadtrum Communications, raising the possibility that prices of the entry-level smartphones may drill downward to a range of CNY400-700 compared to the prevailing prices of around CNY1,000, the sources noted.

Despite increasing pricing competition from white-box handset makers as well as international brands including Nokia and Samsung Electronics, the top-4 local brand vendors are unlikely to lower their prices further until makers in the handset component supply chain are able to reduce their quotes substantially, said the sources.

To maintain competitiveness and brand images, the top-4 vendors are expected to roll out models with higher hardware specifications for the CNY1,000 segment, the sources commented.

Shipments of smartphones in China are expected to grow 40-60% on year in 2012, the sources estimated.

China-based white-box handset players may face bankruptcy [DIGITIMES, March 29, 2012]

China-based white-box handset players are suffering as larger local players ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei are aggressively entering the CNY1,000 (US$159) smartphone segment, while first-tier smartphone brands such as Samsung Electronics and Nokia are also reducing their prices. White-box players are expected to see a 30% drop in their overall sales in 2012 with several hundred expected to go bankrupt, reshuffling China’s handset industry, according to sources from smartphone players.

As consumers in China have increasing demand for Internet connectivity, while their recognition of brand names is also rising, the white-box handset market in China, which is mainly focused on low price and design flexibility, is shrinking rapidly.

Since China-based telecom carriers are aggressively providing subsidies to ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo to allow these players to lower their smartphone prices, while white-box players are losing their advantages in price as they are unable to acquire cheap components due to their shipment scale, it has helped larger smartphone players to narrow the price gap with white-box handsets.

With more brand vendors pushing into the mid-range and entry-level smartphone market, the average price of entry-level smartphones is expected to reach CNY700 (US$100), a level almost the same as cost. In addition, white-box players’ advantages in design flexibility is also no longer attracting consumers as the size of the touch screen has already become the major criteria for consumers.

China market: Chip vendor competition heating up for 1GHz processors used in inexpensive smartphones [DIGITIMES, Jan 17, 2012]

As China Mobile, China Telecom and China United Network Communications will procure large volumes of inexpensive smartphones equipped with 1GHz processors, there is increasing competition among handset chip vendors Qualcomm, Taiwan-based MedaTek, Broadcom and China-based Spreadtrum Communications, according to Taiwan-based handset makers.

While the four vendors and others have offered 1GHz chip solutions supporting 3.5G, Android, multimedia and dual-mode functions, the Qualcomm-developed MSM7227A [Cortex-A5 based @ upto 1GHz]solution has gained the upper hand, followed by MediaTek-developed MT6575, the sources indicated. In contrast, Spreadtrum and Broadcom are competing for orders by virtue of differentiation in function, with the former focusing on TD-SCDMA, a China-developed 3G standard, solutions and the latter’s solutions featuring integration of NFC (near field communication), Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n and GNSS (global navigation satellite system) functions, the sources pointed out.

In the China market, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Motorola Mobility, Sony, HTC as well as China-based vendors Huawei Device, ZTE, Lenovo, TCL, Haier and Hisense will launch inexpensive entry-level smartphones equipped with 1GHz processor in 2012, the sources noted. China-based vendors are expected to release ODM or EMS orders to Taiwan-based makers, the sources indicated.

Tech investment banking expertise to strengthen the unique value focus of growing the HTC brand and to achieve high growth again

Updates #2:

–  HTC sees revenues down sharply on-year in July [DIGITIMES, Aug 7, 2012]

HTC saw its revenues dip 16.7% on month and 44.5% on year to a five-month low of NT$25 billion (US$834.45 million) in July. For the first seven months of 2012, revenues amounted to NT$183.9 billion, decreasing 32.8% from a year earlier, according to company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE).

… With HTC estimating its revenues to reach only NT$70-80 billion in the third quarter [US$2.3-2.7 billion], it is unlikely to see HTC’s revenues rebound to NT$30 billion in August and September, the Chinese-language Commercial Times said on August 7 report.

HTC sees fall in 3Q12 sales with lower margin [DIGITIMES, Aug 3, 2012] [US$3.5 billion]

HTC reported second-quarter consolidated revenues of NT$91.04 billion (US$3.04 billion), in line with its targeted NT$91 billion, which had been cut from its original target of NT$105 billion [US$3.5 billion]. Gross margin and operating margin for the second quarter came to 27.01% and 9%, respectively.

Second-quarter sales represented a 34.3% increase, but were 26.8% lower than those posted in the second quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, gross margin and operating margin showed improvement from the prior quarter, but decreases compared to the same period of 2011.

HTC generated net profits of NT$7.4 billion, or NT$8.90 a share, in the second quarter of 2012. Profits declined more than 50% from a year earlier, but rose over 60% on quarter.

HTC adjusts workforce [DIGITIMES, July 25, 2012]

HTC has been adjusting human resources in its production, R&D, and sales teams. Industry sources believe corporate restructuring is necessary as HTC’s sales have been declining.

Sales of the HTC One series have not been picking up due to tough competition in Europe and North America. HTC has been adjusting its global workforce by shutting down the R&D team in North Carolina, US, and offices in Brazil. Some members of the R&D team have been laid-off and there will be no renewals of contracts for 600 workers. The adjustments have impacted close to 1,000 staff.

Nokia, RIM and HTC to see smartphone shipments continue sliding in 2H12, say sources [DIGITIMES, July 9, 2012]

Nokia, RIM and HTC are expected to see their smartphone shipments, as well as market share, continue declining in the third and fourth quarters of 2012 due to a lag in migration to new platforms and weakening competitiveness of their products, according to industry sources.

Despite efforts initiated by Nokia, RIM and HTC to fend off competition from Apple and Samsung Electronics, RIM and HTC have reported lower than expected shipments for the second quarter of 2012, while Nokia is expected to see its second-quarter smartphone shipments drop below 10 million units, said the sources.

Although HTC managed to post a sequential gain in shipments in the second quarter, its second-quarter smartphone shipments barely reached nine million units, pointed out the sources.

HTC is expected to see its shipments stay flat or drop to eight million units in the third quarter and slip further to seven million in the fourth quarter, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report.

End of updates #2

Preliminary reading: HTC: the most promising ICT brand in Taiwan [Oct 18, 2010 – July 5, 2011; then with major updates on Feb 7, 2012

imageSource: HTC, Investor Relations

Updates #1: The MWC introduced HTC One series unveiled (for the first time) a proprietary HTC ImageChip image signal processor (thus not relying on ISPs coming with the Tegra 3 and Qualcomm S4 SoCs) in order to be able to take a shot “in just 0.7 seconds” and to have “a new superfast 0.2-seconds autofocus, continue to take nearly unlimited continuous shots“, as well as “capture a photo and shoot video at the same time” and be “also able to capture a photo frame from a previously recorded video.” (See also a detailed description of that inside of the so called HTC ImageSense feature set.) Such a hardware based differentiation approach will even be greater with HTC’s upcoming products according to the following news:

HTC plans to develop customized processors [DIGITIMES, April 24, 2012]

In order to have significant product differentiation, HTC plans to cooperate with Qualcomm, Nvidia and ST-Ericsson to develop and produce customized processors with specific functions for its smartphones, according to Taiwan-based handset chip designers.

HTC may develop specific functions for its smartphones and secure supply of customized processors, but it may run the risk of inventories because such processors are unlikely to be adopted by other vendors, the sources commented.

HTC plans to develop its own processor [China Times, April 23, 2012] with Google translation of the original in Chinese , or the same with Bing translation.The essential content of that was first reported by Unwired as: HTC is developing its own CPU for lower end smartphones with ST-Ericsson

HTC is following in the footsteps of Apple and Samsung, and is now working on its own dedicated applications processor. According to China Times, the Taiwanese smartphone maker has already signed memorandum of cooperation with ST-Ericsson to co-develop the chip.

Contrary to high performance Samsung and Apple CPUs which power their flagships, the new HTC processor will run the lower end smartphones. The devices with new chip will start shipping in volume sometime in 2013.

It seems that HTC is getting increasingly unhappy with Qualcomm, which powered most of HTC devices until this year. They have signaled their unhappiness in early February, and may even consider Qualcomm one of the reasons for the sales problems of the last few months.  HTC has already added NVIDIA to its application processor supplier list –quad core Tegra 3 is powering non U.S. version of the new One X flagship. But it has yet to diversify on the lower end.

Turning to ST-Ericsson and co-developing its own, cheaper CPU, may also be a way for HTC to start moving down market with lower priced devices. Up until now – HTC was mostly focused on a premium high-end smartphones, pretty much ignoring the low-end of the market. But as component prices get cheaper, and ever better quality Android devices are released at ever lower price points by Samsung, ZTE and Huawei – Taiwanese vendor has to find a way to respond.

And this move may be one of the responses.

 HTC, Facebook jointly developing smartphone, say sources [DIGITIMES, April 25, 2012]

Given that Google is expected to continue to cooperate with Samsung Electronics for the development of the next-generation Nexus smartphone, HTC reportedly has decided to move forward in its own way and is currently developing a customized smartphone in cooperation with Facebook slated to be launched in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest, according to industry sources.

HTC had previously joined forces with Google to launch Google’s first own-brand smartphone, the Nexus One. However, Google then shifted to cooperating with Samsung as its primary production partner for the launch of its second and third own-brand smartphones.

Since Samsung has become the top vendor of Android smartphones, Google will continue to have Samsung develop its next-generation Nexus models, leveraging Samsung’s innovation ability with regard to the Android platform, and its ability to control the supply of key components, said sources.

The new Android smartphone being developed by HTC will have a platform exclusive to Facebook to enable and integrate all functions available on the social networking site, the sources indicated. Previously, HTC launched two Facebook-enabled smartphones, the Salsa and Chacha.

Facebook is expected to further expand its investments and sources of income after becoming a public company, and the launch of own-brand smartphones will be part of its development strategy, the sources commented.

End of updates #1

HTC personnel change indicates new value focus: Goldman Sachs [Focus Taiwan, Taiwan’s national news agency, April 17, 2012]

… The 45-year-old Chang, an investment banker and partner at Goldman Sachs before joining HTC, will be responsible for corporate finance and accounting, strategic acquisitions and investment, and investor relations.

“We believe the change in CFO may indicate HTC’s more aggressive attitude toward its finance department in terms of creating value other than just accounting integrity,” Goldman Sachs analyst Robert Yen wrote in a research note.

For example, he said, added value could mean enhancing “the uniqueness and competitiveness of HTC’s smartphone products and services.”

Given HTC’s many acquisitions and strategic investments in content and mobile services in the past and its decent cash position, it could be creating a different value by choosing a CFO with industry and banking background, Yen said. …

imageHTC Desire V for China Unicom (WCDMA)

Comparison [PDAdb.net]: HTC Desire VC T328d vs. HTC Desire V T328w vs. HTC Desire VT T328t [3]

Note: According to the detailed specifications given above these phones all have SLCD screens (see: Super LCD, Explained [DisplayBlog, Nov 24, 2011]), as on quite a number of higher end HTC smartphones in the last 2 years (since HTC Desire A8181 / HTC Bravo). Otherwise they have been using “transflective TFT LCD” mostly and in very few cases Super AMOLED.

HTC eyes cheaper smartphone market in China [Focus Taiwan, Taiwan’s national news agency, April 17, 2012]

Taiwan’s HTC Corp. launched several smartphones in China priced as low as 1,999 Chinese yuan (US$317) Tuesday in a bid to tap into the emerging mobile market.

The HTC launch in Beijing includes three smartphones in its customized New Desire series, which will go on sale from mid-April through three major Chinese telecom operators, according to a company statement.

The New Desire V, running on China Unicom’s 3G WCDMA network, will start from 1,999 Chinese yuan before subsidies, while the New Desire VC will support China Telecom’s CDMA 2000 frequency, for the same price tag.

Pricing for the New Desire VT, which will run on the country’s home-grown TD-SCDMA network provided by China Mobile, was not disclosed.

“The China market has always been a critical part of HTC’s global strategy. In addition to the HTC One series, we are introducing the New Desire series targeting Chinese consumers,” said Ray Yam, president of HTC’s China division.

“We believe HTC’s future is closely connected with China and that HTC will continue to bring the best experience and the most innovative smartphones to the country as soon as possible,” he added.

All the models in the New Desire series are equipped with a 4-inch display, a 1 GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera, according to the company.

Separately, HTC said its new “One” family will also hit store shelves in China this month, with price tags ranging from 2,688 to 5,688 yuan.

The Taoyuan-based manufacturer is hoping that the streamlined models and an increased retail presence will help it boost its market share in China, which stood at only about 2 percent last year, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.


HTC Desire VC for China Telecom (CDMA2000)

China market: HTC launches One, new Desire lineups [DIGITIMES, April 18, 2012]

… HTC currently accounts for a 10% share of smartphones sold with a price tag over CNY2,000 in China, but has not entered the mainstream sub-CNY1,000 segment, indicated the sources. …

HTC Prepares to Launch Lower-end “Kewang” Smartphones for China [IDG News, April 17, 2012]

… The HTC Kewang V, or Desire in English, will launch on April 23 through mobile operator China Unicom. … HTC’s goal with the Kewang series is to provide smartphones at a low price, but also with high-performance and strong features, said Ethan Qian, an HTC spokesman. The Kewang line is being released only in China, he added. …

HTC Desire VT for China Mobile (TD-SCDMA)

Dual card dual standby for only 1999 yuan HTC desire V officially released [China Tech News, April 17, 2012]

On the afternoon of April 16, China Unicom and HTC jointly held “China Unicom fertile 3G HTC new Desire V listed” conference, officially released the HTC new Desire V. It is customized by China Unicom, has 9.3mm ultra-thin body, support dual card dual standby, using clocked at 1GHz Qualcomm MSM 7227A processor [with Cortex-A5 single core, having 1.57 DMIPS/MHz performance, while Cortex-A8 has 2.0 DMIPS/MHz], 4 inches [Super LCD] screen with a resolution of 480×800 (WVGA). The phone will be powered by the Android 4.0 system, using the HTC Sense 4.0 UI, 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus, [512MB RAM] 4GB ROM, integrated Beats audio audio technology, the battery capacity of 1650 mA. Bare metal price of 1999 yuan is also a bright spot.

Super LCD vs Super AMOLED displays (HD) [TheTechTonicdotCom YouTube channel, Dec 11, 2011]

OK it’s time to get ultra geeky. This is a video comparison of the respective qualities of Super LCD and Super AMOLED displays. Famous for their true blacks and high contrast, how does a SAMOLED display fare against the warmer tones of SLCD? SLCD screen provided by the HTC Radar, at 480 x 800 resolution and 3.8 inches. SAMOLED screen provided by the Samsung Omnia 7 at the same resolution but at 4inches. More mobile tech content at http://www.thetechtonic.com Follow us on Twitter @the_tech_tonic
Note: Nokia has a superior technology for better brightness, contrast and outdoor visibility with a significant enhancement of both In-Plane Switching (IPS) type TFT and AMOLED display panels typically used. See: The leading ClearBlack display technology from Nokia [Dec 18, 2011 – Feb 2, 2012], especially for comparison with Super LCD of HTC Mozart (as well as with the Super AMOLED of Samsung Galaxy S II).

Commentary: HTC appoints new CFO, but challenges remain [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]

HTC has reshuffled its management team again by appointing former Goldman Sachs Group partner Chia-Lin Chang as its chief financial officer, which is part of the company’s strategy for global deployment.

The new appointment, which took effect on April 16, came after HTC announced earlier a 70% on-year decline in net profits for the first-quarter of 2012.

Perhaps, the new CFO could help the Taiwan-based smartphone vendor secure more acquisitions to strengthen its global deployment, but it remains to be seen whether HTC is able to regain its growth momentum in 2012 as it faces more challenges in integration of its corporate culture as well as increasing competition.

HTC has created or added a number of high-level positions since the second half of 2010, including the appointments of Ron Loukes as chief strategy officer and Kouji Kodera as chief product officer in July 2010, and Matthew Costello as COO in December 2010. HTC also appointed Jason Mackenzie as its president of global sales and marketing in July 2011.

HTC has also brought in Scott Croyle of One & Company and Shashi Fernando of Saffron Digital responsible for design and content, respectively, through acquisitions of the two companies.

It is also the second time in less than two years HTC has changed its CFO. The newly appointed CFO Chia-Lin Chang replaced Winston Yung, who took the post in January 2011.

If the latest management team is unable to bring back the growth momentum in 2012 that HTC enjoyed during the period from 2010-2011, HTC will no longer be able to compete with Samsung Electronics, Apple and even Huawei Device in terms of economies of scale in production.

While the hiring of talent with management and marketing expertise from abroad, and the acquisition of certain companies overseas are indeed necessary for HTC in its thrust to become a global brand, the impact resulting from the integration of corporate culture on HTC is expected to intensify along with such processes.

Given that nearly all top-rank positions with the exception of the CFO post at HTC have been filled with foreign executives, the promotion of local talent will likely become a major issue of concern in the future.

The Quietly Brilliant Story of HTC [HTC YouTube channel, Nov 23, 2011]

A short film about how the smartphone evolved – from some of the early pioneering handhelds to today’s most innovative smartphones.

HTC replaces CFO after just one year [15 1/2 months] on the job (update) [The Verge, April 17, 2012]

HTC has issued a statement on the transition:

On Monday, HTC announced the appointment of Chia-Lin Chang as Chief Financial Officer with Winston Yung, his predecessor, transitioning to a corporate development role.

“Media speculation that ties this announcement to HTC’s partnership and investment in Beats By Dre is categorically inaccurate,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “HTC and Beats have made impressive progress in innovation and brand awareness and the integration of the Beats brand and technology in the new HTC One series is a clear indication of our commitment to this partnership.”

Amazing camera, authentic sound, iconic design. HTC One has them all. [HTC YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2012]

Highlights of launch event in Barcelona on February 26, 2012 with Peter Chou, CEO and Scott Croyle, Vice President of Design.

HTC One series unveiled [from the 2012 HTC press releases or directly on the Canadian site]:

BARCELONA, SPAIN – Mobile World Congress – February 26, 2012 – HTC, a global designer of smartphones, today unveiled its new HTC One series of smartphones that represent its most premium mobile experience with a new level of iconic design and amazing camera and authentic sound experience. …

With HTC’s most premium experience, the HTC One series integrates Android 4.0 (ICS) with HTC Sense™ 4, the new version of HTC’s branded user experience that is introducing HTC ImageSense™, a new suite of camera and imaging features that set HTC One apart from other phones. HTC Sense 4 also includes broad enhancements to audio quality and simplifies how people listen to music on their phone.

Amazing Camera
With ImageSense HTC One rivals traditional digital cameras with improvements to every part of the camera, including the lens, the sensor, the software, and even integrating a new custom HTC ImageChip. These enhancements combine to deliver our fastest image capture, best image quality under adverse conditions and easiest interface that enables quick access to capturing stills and videos with side-by-side photo and video capture buttons.

  • Superfast Capture – HTC One dramatically reduces the time it takes to capture those key moments. In just 0.7 seconds you’re able to take a shot, and with a new superfast 0.2-seconds autofocus, continue to take nearly unlimited continuous shots simply by holding the shutter button.
  • Good photos in adverse conditions – HTC One delivers dramatic enhancements in image capture quality even in adverse conditions such as low light, no light or with bright backlighting. The f/2.0 lens on the HTC One X and HTC One S offers best-in-class performance, capturing 40 percent more light than the f/2.4 lenses available on other high-end phones. HTC One also includes HDR, a market-leading technology, for taking great photos even when there are varying levels of brightness.
  • Video Pic (Concurrent Video/Still Capture) – With Video Pic you capture a photo and shoot video at the same time. Now, while you’re shooting HD video, all you have to do is tap the shutter button and it snaps a high-resolution still photo while the video continues to shoot. You are also able to capture a photo frame from a previously recorded video.

Authentic Sound
With HTC One, Beats By Dr. Dre Audio™ integration is enabled for the first time across the entire experience for richer, more authentic sound whether you’re listening to your favorite music, watching a YouTube™ video or playing a game. … All this makes HTC One the one place to enjoy all your music, wherever you are, with the power of Beats By Dr. Dre Audio and HTC Car.

HTC One X
… HTC One X is blazing fast with the new NVIDIA® Tegra 3 Mobile Processor for clear graphics, faster applications and longer battery life. It includes a 1.5GHz Super 4-PLUS-1™ quad-core with an integrated fifth Battery Saver Core and a high-performance 12-Core NVIDIA® GPU. The HTC One X also has an amazing 4.7-inch, 720p HD screen crafted from contoured Corning™ Gorilla Glass. HTC One X will also be available in select 4G LTE markets with a LTE-enabled Qualcomm Snapdragon S4™ processor with up to 1.5GHz dual-core CPU’s.

HTC One S
The HTC One S is for people who want a high-end smartphone in a more compact size. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with up to 1.5GHz dual-core CPU’s. It also includes a 4.3-inch screen crafted from contoured Corning™ Gorilla Glass. …

HTC One V
Utilizing the classic, award-winning design of the HTC Legend, the HTC One V brings top-end design to a smartphone with broad appeal and a premium experience that delivers an amazing camera and authentic sound. It features a simple, iconic aluminum unibody design that exudes craftsmanship and quality.

Global Availability
With unprecedented excitement, the HTC One series will begin shipping in April with broad global availability available beginning in April through more than 140 mobile operators and distributors globally. For more information and to pre-register for HTC One visit www.htc.com.

HTC Rezound™, the only phone with the Beats Audio™ built in [HTC YouTube channel, Nov 3, 2011]

Experience your sound like never before.

HTC And Beats By Dr. Dre Set To  Introduce New Era In Mobile Audio [from the 2011 HTC press releases]:

Strategic HTC investment to result in Beats integrated HTC phones this Fall.

Taoyuan, Taiwan & Santa Monica, CA – August 11, 2011– HTC Corporation, a global designer of mobile devices, today announced a strategic partnership and investment with Beats™ Electronics LLC, the company redefining the audio market with its iconic Beats by Dr. Dre™ audio experience. The two fast-growing brands will focus on bringing high performance sound to HTC phones. …

… “Beats has found a unique way to harness popular culture in a manner that is unlike any other brand today,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “It’s an exciting brand that has been built around providing something very special, and we believe our strategic partnership will provide customers with unbeatable sound on HTC phones. We obsess over every detail of a consumer’s mobile experience and audio is a critical part of that experience.”

… Established in 2006, Beats Electronics is the brainchild of legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine, who set out to develop a new type of headphone with the capability to reproduce the full spectrum of sound that musical artists and producers hear in professional recording studios. For more information, please visithttp://beatsbydre.com.

The history of last HTC CFOs:

HTC Appoints Hui-Ming Cheng as CFO [HTC press release, Aug 23, 2006]

… he has served as CFO and Spokesperson for the Fubon Financial Holding Co. in Taipei. From October 2003 to February 2006, Mr. Cheng was VP and CFO of Taiwan Mobile and received the honor of being named as Taiwan’s best CFO by Institutional Investor Magazine in 2003. Prior to his appointment with Taiwan Mobile, Mr. Cheng held various senior-level positions with the Finance Center, Winbond Electronics Corp., China Development Industrial Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank, and the Asia Partner Fund.

Mr. Cheng received a BS in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University and an MBA from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University.

HTC Announces Winston K. S. Yung as Chief Financial Officer [HTC press release, Dec 23, 2010]

… Prior to joining HTC, Yung was the Chief Financial Officer for Shin Kong Financial Holding in Taiwan where he played a key role in the company’s success, and also held key positions at McKinsey & Co in Hong Kong. Yung received a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with an economics major from University of Hong Kong and a MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.

HM Cheng, HTC’s current chief financial officer will retire from the company and move into an advisory role to HTC’s board of directors. Cheng joined HTC in September 2006 and successfully established a complete financial system and was a key contributor to HTC’s corporate governance system and HTC’s overall financial success

HTC names Chia-Lin Chang Chief Financial Officer [from the Latest HTC press releases]

Taoyuan, Taiwan – April 16, 2012 – HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced the appointment of Chia-Lin Chang as Chief Financial Officer and spokesperson effective April 16, 2012.

Chia-Lin Chang’s predecessor, Winston Yung, joined HTC in January 2011. Winston will focus on corporate development, helping HTC maintain its competitive edge by strengthening the organization and corporate talent.

Chia-Lin, previously an investment banker and partner at Goldman Sachs, will be responsible for corporate finance and accounting, strategic acquisition and investment, and investor relations.  Chang earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.  After receiving his Ph.D. degree, Chang served as an engineer at Motorola in the US.

GOLDMAN SACHS ANNOUNCES NEW MANAGING DIRECTORS [Goldmann Sachs press release, Oct 24, 2007] “… it has invited 299 individuals to become Managing Directors as of December 1, 2007, the start of the firm’s fiscal year. … Chia-Lin Chang …

From: Latest HTC press releases:

HTC releases unaudited results for 1Q 2012

Taoyuan, Taiwan – April  6, 2012 –HTC corporation (TWSE: 2498), a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announces unaudited consolidated results for 1Q 2012. For the first quarter of 2012, total revenues reached NT$67,790 million, a decrease of 34.92% year-on-year. Unaudited operating income was NT$5,099 million, net income before tax was NT$5,551 million, net income after tax was NT$4,464 million, and unaudited earnings per share after tax were NT$5.35 based on 834,256 thousand weighted average number of shares.

2012 First Quarter Unaudited Consolidated Financial Results

(Unit: NT$ million, Except Earnings Per Share)

*Calculation of the after-tax EPS for first quarter 2011 was based on 807,867 thousand weighted average number of shares.

HTC Reports Fourth-quarter And Annual 2011 Results

Taoyuan, Taiwan, February 6, 2012– HTC Corporation (“HTC”, or the “Company”, TWSE: 2498), a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced consolidated results of the Company and its subsidiaries for the fourth quarter of 2011 and for the year.

4Q Highlights
• After-tax profit was NT$10.94bn, EPS was NT$13.06
• Total revenues were NT$101.42bn
• Gross profit margin and operating margin were 27.12% and 12.71%, respectively
2011 Highlights
• After-tax profit was NT$61.98bn, up 56.77% year-on-year; EPS was NT$73.32
• Total revenue was NT$465.79bn, up 67.09% year-on-year
• Gross profit margin and operating margin was 28.30% and 14.77%, respectively
• ROE was 70.37% compared to 56.33% in 2010

“In 2011 we saw growth in the global strength of our brand, as well as earnings and revenue growth,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC. “While short term performance may not meet the results as expected, we have gained further experience and advancement in the areas of brand management and product innovation. These fundamental strengths and the groundwork we have laid will take us into 2012 with a renewed focus and determination.”

4Q 2011 Results
HTC’s fourth quarter revenue came in-line at NT$101.42bn, resulting in after-tax earnings of NT$10.94bn and EPS of NT$13.06. Gross profit and operating margins came in at 27.12% and 12.71%, respectively. The decline in gross profit margin was mainly a result of product transition.

2011 Results
2011 annual revenue was NT$465.79bn, a 67.09% increase over 2010 annual revenues (NT$278.76bn), resulting in after-tax earnings of NT$61.98bn. Overall gross profits and operating margins were 28.30% and 14.77%, respectively.

In 2011, in addition to solid growth in revenues and profits, HTC’s brand gained significant momentum in the global landscape, being named one of Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands.

2012 Outlook
In 2012, HTC will focus on: growing the Company’s brand value; continuing to create competitive advantages through innovation; enhancing the efficiency of marketing campaigns; and further driving down operating costs.

To expand its brand preference and value, HTC will work at a global level to build emotional connections with consumers, putting more of its marketing resources behind fewer products and driving value in those product brands. By building a globalized marketing campaign, HTC aims to optimize its go-to-market strategy with operators, retail distributors, and end-users, and improve the efficiency of its marketing spend. In emerging markets, such as China, HTC will continue to extend its reach to customers by expanding distribution channels.

Despite temporary weakness resulting from product cycle transition, HTC believes it has the ability to create a new wave of momentum through the upcoming product cycle. It will also continue its attention on mass market consumers by driving product differentiation through design and innovation.

1Q Outlook
The Company’s outlook for the first quarter of 2012 is as follows:

• 1Q revenue expected to be around NT$65-70bn
• Gross margin expected to be around 25%
• Operating margin expected to be around 7.5%

These margins are a temporary phenomenon and will normalized when product cycle transition is over.