China’s largest fixed line operator, China Telecom, has reported a net profit of CNY14.70 billion (USD1.8 billion) for the first six months of the year, down slightly on the CNY14.71 billion profits in the first half of 2004. Operating profit was up 4.7% to CNY84 billion. China Telecom had almost 190 million wireline customers at the end of 2004.
Meanwhile, the international media group News Corp has disclosed in a regulatory filing that it has sold its entire stake in Telecom’s main rival, China Netcom. News Corp picked up 77 million shares in the telco in 2001 and offloaded them last month for USD110 million. The media group, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, says it will report a gain of USD50 million on the sale in its first quarter results. Netcom served around 110 million customers by the end of 2004.