Thu, Dec 15, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Handset firm seeks Chinese partners


Mobile-phone vendor Giga-Byte Communications Inc (集嘉通訊) said yesterday that sales would soar next year after expanding into the Chinese market.

Giga-Byte Communications is the handset manufacturing unit of computer motherboard maker Giga-Byte Technology Co (技嘉科技), which is looking for a new growth area after its core business slowed.

"The Chinese market is our focus next year. The market has got potential for growth," said Jesse Lee (李忠義), a Giga-Byte Communications vice president.

Lee made the remarks during a press conference to launch the company's latest mobile phones, including a smart phone with an operating system like computers.

Giga-Byte Communications' first handset debuted in July.

Since it doesn't yet have approval to sell its own-brand handsets in China, Lee said the firm is in talks with several Chinese mobile-phone vendors about a partnership.

"It would take too long to build our brand there if we had to wait for Beijing's permission. We are looking for Chinese partners with brand names and well-established retail channels," Lee said.

An announcement would probably be made around the Lunar New Year holiday, he said.

Through a partnership arrangement, Giga-Byte Communications hopes to offer co-brand handsets in China, Lee said.

If the company is able to extend its foothold into the Chinese market with annual sales of 80 million units, Lee said sales would skyrocket to several thousands of hundreds next year, from the anemic 30,000 to 50,000 units this year.

Next year, Giga-Byte Communications plans to introduce around 10 models, primarily smart phones, in Taiwan and China.

BenQ Corp (明基) and Inventec Appliances Inc (英華達) received Beijing's approval in May for their branded handset businesses in China, following in the footsteps of pioneer Dbtel Inc (大霸).

Giga-Byte Communications posted NT$70 million (US$2.089 million) in losses for the third quarter and would report similar quarterly losses for the fourth quarter, Giga-Byte Technology chairman Dandy Yeh (葉培城) said yesterday.

Lee, however, said it would not be difficult to break even in light of limited marketing and manufacturing expenses.

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