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Asia Business: The Week in Review - 2003-11-10


China's largest television maker is linking up with a French rival to form the world's biggest television manufacturing company, while Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications company has reported a strong profit.

TCL of China and the French company Thomson will combine their TV and DVD manufacturing operations to create a new company called TCL-Thomson. The joint venture is expected to be the world's biggest TV set maker, producing 18 million a year.

The companies say the deal will allow Thomson to take advantage of cheap manufacturing in China and will give TCL better global brand recognition. Thomson makes the RCA brand of TV sets.

Southeast Asian telecommunications giant SingTel showed a solid performance for the three months ending in September. Net profit for the Singapore company rose 14 percent to $271 million from a year ago - boosted by strong earnings from an Australian unit and other regional investments.

Chief executive Lee Hsien Yan says overseas operations now account for more than 70 percent of the company's revenues. "Our international investments continue to perform strongly … our regional mobile businesses are growing in terms of profits as well as dividends," he says.

Higher beer sales pushed up quarterly profit for the Philippine food and beverage conglomerate, San Miguel. Profit for the period from July to September rose 15 percent to $33 million. International beer sales rebounded 11 percent from the previous quarter's 10 percent contraction due to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

In Taiwan, semiconductor sales by the country's largest manufacturers jumped in October. Sales by United Microelectronics rose more than 27 percent to $225 million from a year ago, while TSMC's jumped more than 33 percent to more than $500,000. Both companies expect to use more than 90 percent of their capacity to meet strong demand for microchips in the next few months.

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