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Thursday, November 16, 2006

China Mobile: It's Good To Be King (CHL)

Stocks: (VZ)(S)(CHL)

China Mobile has almost 300 million customers. It also has plans about how it will get more. The CEO of the world's largest cell company want to make his phones a "Swiss Army knife that can do anything for you." Pretty cool. And, smart.

The company is offering a new music sharing service among phones with the help of News Corp. The company has also done an outstanding job of promoting text messaging and music downloads.

China Mobile is also looking outside its home markets for acquisitions in Asia, South America, and Africa. These are markets that will grow quickly and may not have well-funded and dominant local cell companies.

There may be a lesson in this for US cell companies like Verzion, Cingular, and Sprint. Doing well in the US may not be enough. Penetration of phones is fairly high in this country is fairly high. To let the Chinese take the market opportunities in emerging markets would be a mistake. No matter how big China Mobile is in its home market.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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