Hong Kong pay-TV and broadband provider i-Cable says it has taken an ‘important step’ towards keeping its business afloat following rumours that it could be forced to close down its operations. A report from the South China Morning Post cites an internal company circular which quotes i-Cable chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi as saying: ‘I am pleased to advise that a small but important step has been taken towards enabling the company to accept a new pay-TV licence and to carry on with its pay-TV, free TV and broadband businesses.’ It is thought that the statement could relate to a potential deal with a consortium called Forever Top, which is led by tycoon David Chiu Tat-cheong. i-Cable halted trading of its shares on Tuesday 18 April, ‘pending the release of an announcement which [relates to] inside information’.
It was reported last month that i-Cable’s parent company Wharf Holdings had failed to find a buyer for the business and that it would cease investment in i-Cable once its current HKD400 million (USD51.6 million) in funding had run out. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, i-Cable is the fourth largest player in Hong Kong’s fixed broadband sector, with 156,000 subscribers at the end of 2016, down from 171,000 a year earlier, giving it around 5% of the overall market in user terms.