Fri, Jan 06, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Motorola expects return on China investment soon

PAYBACK TIME After pumping US$3.7 billion into China, the cellphone giant plans to invest even more, hoping to lay claim to a bigger market share


Motorola Inc, the world's No. 2 handset vendor, plans to boost its investment in China this year, hoping to grab a bigger slice of the world's biggest mobile phone market, a company official said in Taipei yesterday.

Last year, Motorola invested heavily in China and expects that investment to start proving itself this year, Michael Tatelman, general manager of Motorola's Mobile Devices North Asia, told reporters yesterday.

"That certainly will reflect in our market share expansion this year ... We are looking for significant growth in China," Tatelman said, without elaborating.

Tatelman is based in Beijing. He was in Taipei to help launch the company's latest phone, the Pabel U6, and may take the time to meet local retailers, according to company public relations officials.

Motorola has garnered about 15 percent of China's mobile phone market, lagging behind its global market share of around 19 percent.

"We will continue to invest this year ... There will be tremendous growth [in the Chinese market]," Tatelman said.

"There are so many new users in China," he said.

Unlike the US and Taiwanese markets, the handset penetration rate was less than 40 percent in China, Tatelman said.

He declined to reveal the investment amount for last year and this year, saying only that Motorola increased its workforce by over 30 percent and tripled the number of retail stores in the Greater China area last year.

Over the past few years, the US cellphone giant has invested a total of US$3.7 billion in China, he said.

Motorola hopes its new Pabel series of handsets will be as popular as the RAZR series, of which it had sold 12 million units as of the third quarter of last year, according to market researcher Gartner Inc.

Tatelman said that Motorola had grabbed almost a quarter of the market in Taiwan last year, safeguarding its long-term top position here.

Motorola would continue to work with local handset contract makers this year, he added.

Compal Communications Inc (華寶通訊), a handset-manufacturing arm of Compal Computer Inc (仁寶), is Motorola's biggest local partner.

Motorola sold 38.5 million mobile phones in the third quarter around the world, shooting up 70 percent from 22.64 million units a year ago, according to statistics provided by Gartner Inc, an information-technology research firm.

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