China Unicom Partners with Tencent for OTT Services
China Unicom Ltd (NYSE: CHU, HKG: 0762, SHA: 600050) will offer SIM cards specifically for data usage at mobile apps developed by Tencent Holdings Ltd (HKG: 0700), including WeChat, Mobile QQ and QQ Music. This is China's first over-the-top (OTT) service jointly offered by a wireless carrier and an OTT developer. The app-specific card is expected to help China Unicom sell additional data traffic and help Tencent encourage traffic-sensitive users to play more fee-paying mobile games. Analysts expect similar cooperation in the future.
Sina Weibo Teams Up with Taobao
Sina Corp's (Nasdaq: SINA) popular weibo microblogging service will join forces with Taobao.com, China's most popular C2C site, to market goods on weibo on August 5, a person familiar with the matter said. The weibo-Taobao service will allow Taobao merchants to advertise their products on the weibo platform, with Taobao and weibo accounts used interchangeably. Taobao's parent, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, paid $586 million in April for an 18% stake in Twitter-like Sina Weibo, which claims to have registered over 300 million accounts.
Ctrip Q2 Revenue Rises 28%
Ctrip.com International Ltd (Nasdaq: CTRP), China's biggest online travel agent, said its revenue jumped 28% year on year to 1.2 billion yuan in Q2 2013 as its aggressive marketing strategy increased sales growth and market share. Sales of hotel booking and air ticketing both rose 40% buoyed by heavy discounts in response to competitors' price reductions. Ctrip's hotel bookings from mobile devices accounted for 20% of total hotel bookings in Q2 2013, up from 15% in a quarter earlier. Ctrip's net profit was up 76% to 210 million yuan in Q2 2013, due mainly to lower tax rates.
Southern Airlines Shares Codes with WestJet
China Southern Airlines Ltd (NYSE: ZNH, HKG: 1055, SHA: 600029), the nation's biggest carrier by passenger traffic, said it signed an agreement with Canada's WestJet to share codes of its 9 Canadian domestic flights. China Southern Airlines launched the Guangzhou-Vancouver flight in 2011, and the route transported 27,000 people in the first 7 months of 2013, with a load factor of over 80%. China Southern Airlines said the code-sharing deal will help it skip some aviation barriers to further its network in North America.
China Mobile Debuts Own-Brand Phones
China Mobile Ltd (NYSE: CHL, HKG: 0941), the world's biggest wireless carrier by subscribers, launched 2 own-brand smartphones and accessories targeting low-end consumers. The M701 and M601 handsets are reportedly to be sold for 1,000 yuan and 499 yuan respectively as they become commercially available in late August. China Mobile is the first Chinese telecom service provider to market own-brand mobile devices.
Shell, CNOOC Paired Up for Offshore Production
Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS.A) said it has signed an agreement with CNOOC Ltd (NYSE: CEO, HKG: 0883) to produce offshore oil and natural gas in China. Located in the South China Sea, the block covers 3,427 square kilometers with 80-110 meters in water depth. Shell owns 49% of the block and CNOOC, China's biggest offshore energy explorer, the remaining 51%. Shell currently operates 15 joint ventures and 8 wholly-owned companies in China.
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