Thu, May 18, 2006 - Page 12 News List

E-Ten looking to boost sales 30% on mobile demand

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

E-Ten Information Systems Co (倚天資訊), a leading handheld devices maker, aims to boost sales by 30 percent this year on the back of strong demand for mobile phones operating on Microsoft Corp's system in Europe, a company executive said yesterday.

E-Ten, which started as a software provider, is one of many Taiwanese electronics manufacturers attempting to duplicate local competitor High Tech Computer Corp's (宏達電) success in the red-hot Microsoft-based handsets.

Sustainable gross margin for the niche products and diversified customers have sent shares of High Tech rallying around 77 percent since the beginning of the year

"With more PDA [personal digital assistant] phones to unveil later this year, we believe our shipments and sales will rise by 30 percent from last year," said James Lai (賴政昌), a vice president of E-Ten, at a product launch yesterday.

Lai said that the company would focus on niche markets to avoid direct competition with big brands such as Nokia Ojy in the low-priced mobile phone market.

E-Ten reported NT$1.64 billion (US$52 million) in unconsolidated sales for last year by shipping a combined of 150,000 units of PDA phones and global positioning systems (GPS) last year.

"Demand for the product is the strongest in Europe," said company spokeswoman Abby Lee (李彩鳳). E-Ten, which has NT$1.5 billion in capital, sells branded products as well as making electronic gadgets on a contract basis.

The growing popularity of PDA phones has prompted speculation about cooperation between E-Ten and the world's biggest contract notebook computer maker Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), which is making strenuous efforts to strengthen its handset making capability including PDA phones.

"We can't comment on any unconcluded deal," answered Lee to a question about the possibility of forming a joint venture with Quanta.

"We won't rule out any possibilities of cooperation in the long term," Lee said.

Quanta is currently a partner of E-Ten in the GPS component area as the laptop maker agreed to take a 40 percent share of E-Ten's affiliate Royaltek Co (鼎天) by the third quarter.

E-Ten planned to introduce three more PDA phones with, or without embedded

GPS function in the second half of this year after launching one phone

yesterday.

That would also boost PDA phone's contribution to the company's sales this

year to up to 70 percent, compared to some 50 percent last year, Lee said.

Shares in E-Ten have jumped approximately 64 percent since January to the

closing price of NT$38.15 yesterday, compared to 10-percent gain for the

benchmark TAIEX index during the same period.

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