China Unicom has reported a 9.7% increase in net profit for the year ending 31 December 2005 to CNY4.93 billion (USD614.4 million), on the back of a 10.1% increase in operating revenue to CNY87.05 billion. Revenue from its cellular business totalled CNY82.46 billion, of which CNY52.14 billion was generated by its GSM networks (up 9.7%) and CNY30.32 billion by its CDMA business (up 16.4%). Long-distance data and internet sales and its value added cellular business accounted for the remainder of sales. As at 31 December the company had a total of 127.79 million wireless customers, an increase of 15.71 million in twelve months.
At the press conference, Chairman Chang Xiaobing raised the possibility that Unicom would be interested in closer cooperation with a foreign partner, particularly in respect of its loss making CDMA business. By the end of 2006 overseas investors will be permitted to take direct stakes in Chinese telcos as part of the WTO framework.