Tue, Mar 22, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Far EasTone to invest in start-ups

AMBITIOUS:The company is to spend NT$20 million to acquire the rights to English-language movies, as well as Chinese, South Korean and Japanese soap operas

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation’s third-largest telecom, yesterday said it has earmarked NT$500 million (US$15.36 million) this year to invest in start-ups, such as digital content, to explore new growth opportunities.

Last year, the telecom invested NT$150 million on new start-ups via a venture capital fund managed by AppWorks (之初創投), founded by Jamie Lin (林之晨).

The fund invested in start-ups providing digital content, mobile payments and cloud-technology services for enterprises.

“It is possible that we will see more investments on start-ups this year in collaboration with venture capital funds. We are in talks with them to scout investment targets primarily in the digital content [sector],” Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) told reporters.

Li said that start-ups would be one of the company’s growth engines this year, apart from its core services.

Information and communication technology services for enterprise customers and digital contents would be two major growth areas, Li said.

To boost over-the-top (OTT) subscription, Far EasTone plans to spend as much as NT$20 million this year to acquire the rights to English-language movies, as well as Chinese, South Korean and Japanese soap operas, Li said.

The budget is 50 percent higher than last year, she added.

Far EasTone expects its OTT subscribers to increase to 500,000 this year, Li said.

The growth would mostly come from video-streaming subscriptions. The number of video-streaming subscribers is expected to grow 28 percent to 320,000 and to 500,000 within next three years, Li said.

Li said US online TV and movie streaming service provider Netflix would not pose a threat to Far EasTone’s expansion into the OTT market.

Netflix mainly targets English-language movie watchers, rather than the soap operas that Far EasTone is focusing on, she said.

Instead, Baidu’s (百度) app store and online video platform iQiyi (愛奇藝) is on Far EasTone’s radar, as they have similar target demographics, Li said.

Separately, Li said Far EasTone is set to commercially launch 4G services on its newly acquired 2600 megahertz spectrum next quarter.

The coverage of the spectrum would reach 50 percent at the end of the year, she said.

The telecom plans to spend NT$9.9 billion on new equipment, down from last year’s NT$11.8 billion.

Far EasTone aims to boost its 4G subscriber penetration rate to 65 percent this year from 45 percent last year.

Far EasTone shares fell 0.7 percent to close at NT$71.4 in Taipei trading yesterday.

This story has been viewed 2020 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top