October 12th, 2006

Industrial and Commerical Bank of China

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A friend just pointed me to this article: ICBC’s indicative price range offers discount versus peers

Price range indicates pre-greenshoe deal size of $15.9 billion to $19.1 billion for combined H and A share offering. The offering has the potential to become the world’s largest IPO.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has set a price range for its mega-size initial public offering. The range will value the stock at a discount of 10-22% to China Construction Bank – which is widely viewed as the bank’s closest comparable, sources familiar with the offering said yesterday. Based on current market prices it will also offer a discount to Bank of China, albeit a smaller one.

This was brewing for a while while touted as the largest IPO in the world. Now the figure is out, it looks like it may indeed be the largest one.

Read the rest of the article too as it contains very useful stats. If the report is true, the assets are extremely attractive.

Oh yea, I burst out laughing in the Krisflyer lounge when I read this (I got a few werid stares right now *glump*)

At the end of June, the bank had over 150 million personal customers – equal to the entire population of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines combined – and 2.5 million corporate customers. The number of domestic branches totalled more than 18,000.


Oh yea, I am on my way to Beijing right now and perhaps over to Shanghai over the weekend.

September 9th, 2006


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flexopower.JPGI got the most interesting speaker gift this trip: Flexopower, a portable solar battery charger for mobile phone made by a company in Johannesburg. I havent got the time to play with it but it sound pretty cool. Hey, now I can continue to make phone calls under the hot sun!

I also visited a very cool company by Rael Lissoos called Magnolia Wireless. It was tons of fun talking to Rael and I spend a whole morning with Rael while he drive me around and showed me some of his project. You can find more info about Rael on Esther Dyson’s flickr :-)

Notes on South Africa:

– There are 3 mobile operators: VodaCom, MTN and CellC. VodaCom, is the JV between the incumbent Telkom (51%) and Vodafone (20+%) (how surprising :-) and is the largest operator.

– They have both 2G and 3G network. For value-added service, VodCom offering HSDPA as well as DVB-H with 16 TV channels. Average ARPU seem to be pretty good at around US$50. (versa US$12 for fixed line).

– There are about 25M mobile subscribers out of 46M population.

– Internet access is expensive: on average, people are paying about US$35-40 for dialup access. One of the reasons is that South Africa has the most expensive international bandwidth at US$11,000 per mbps (other countries along the west coast of Africa is paying on average US$2,000 per mbps).

– There is this mobile app called MXit that is taking South Africa by storm. Basically, it an IM client….Er, what so special? Well, SMS cost about US$0.10 each and the data plan for 1mb cost only a small fraction of that. So the obvious choice is to dump SMS and use IM on their phone. According to a SMS Text, MXit now exceed 1M users, growing at 10,000 new users per day! A story of a simple idea at a right place at the right time…

September 4th, 2006

The Castle Kyalami


Arrived in Johannesburg and checked into The Castle Kyalami outside the city. This is where iWeek is going to be held.

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There are wireless in the hotel but it wasn’t working very well. The hotel staff unfortunately is not helpful. So, I went around the castle and managed to figure out the cabling and found the wire room and get a bit of connectivity :-)

September 3rd, 2006

On my way….

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It was a crazy back in Singapore. Less than 4 hours of sleep daily, running from meetings to meeting in the day time, and then chucking out reports in the evening and reviewing contracts in my sleep. Gosh, I havent even see my daughter and wife for the last 48 hours!

Now, I am on my way to Johannesburg, waiting for a flight at 2am. But oh boy, I am glad. I can finally catch up some sleep! and perhap some reading…I actually got some new books lately. :-)

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson and An Army of Davids by Glenn Reynolds

But those book has to wait since I haven’t finish my presentation for iWeek on wireless broadband yet. And I need sleep…

June 16th, 2006

In Jakarta again


marriott-jakarta-again.JPGOn my way back to Singapore for CommunicAsia next week, I decided to drop by Jakarta, staying at Marriott again.

…Okay, that is oxymoron ;-) Anyway, I am here for a day before pop’ing back to Singapore tomorrow.

Incidently, if you notice the increase of the use of photos on the blog lately, well, say hi to my Nokia N80 thanks to the 3 megapixel camera. So far, I love the little device, except a few minor complains like (1) the phone crash (2) the browser crash (3) the apps keep running out of memory (4) connecting to WLAN may fail and crash, and end up sucking up all your battery.

And oh, I found out the phone has a new firmware upgrade which suppose to fix (some of) these problem. So happily I went to a Nokia Care center last weekend, waited an hour for my queue number only to be told the firmware upgrade will take FOUR (4) hours. What a great customer service Nokia is providing!

Other then these, it is a pretty niffy device. I love it!

June 7th, 2006

In Hong Kong

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starhub-wimax-talk.JPGIf my weekend trip is crazy, my trip to Hong Kong is worst. I got notice to fly to Hong Kong with less then 24 hours notice, then a delay in a meeting yesterday caused me to missed my flight and there is no more flight to Hong Kong. So I end up buying a red-eye ticket to Macau, then took the first ferry to Hong Kong. Crazy but here I am at Shangri-la Kowloon.

Anyway, I am fuming right now! And as we all know, this is the best time to blog and probably getting into legal trouble.

So I am here in Shangri-la for the Wimax conference. One of the speaker is Mr. Chan Kin Hung, SVP of Starhub who is giving a talk on wimax from a mobile operator perspective. In summary: “There is no business case for Wimax” and he repeat that through out his 30mins talk as he made comparison to HSDPA.

Now, I don’t disagree with what his analysis. In fact, I find it very well thoughtout and presented and I agree, it is indeed difficult for Starhub to make a business case for Wimax in Singapore.

What I am so angry about is that if Starhub) don’t see a business case for Wimax, then WTF do they bid (and won) for 2.5Ghz auction when it could be better used by other smaller operators? In fact, Mr. Chan himself concluded that Wimax is more suitable for alternative operators.

Something is obviously wrong when spectrum (and something as valuable as 2.5Ghz wimax spectrum) goes to someone who dont want to use it in the way it was intended and deny others who does.

May 30th, 2006

Back in KL



May 16th, 2006

Seeing is believing

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When Pak John told me they have over hundreds of wifi base station on a single roof top in Indonesia, I don’t believe them at all. Until I see this…


And repeat that picture on every inch of the roof. Many microwave links of course but most surprising, most of them are 2.4Ghz base stations (microtik, senao, canopy are popular). Even with directional antennas, how they cope with the interference is amazing…

May 14th, 2006

JW Marriott – Jakarta


marriott-jarkata.JPGJust checked into JW Marriott Jakarta. Yep, the hotel that was bombed in 2003. It has since being renovated and it is a very nice hotel. Security are tied, cars are searched by 5 security personal, metal detectors at doors, and bags are checked before I step into the main door. I was stopped by the security when i was trying to take a picture of the beautiful entrance so all got is this picture of the keycard ^_^

This is another exploratory trip for me. First time in Jakarta, second time in Indonesia. Before I come over, I expected Jarkata to be a typical developing country like Vietnam or Cambodia. Downtown Jarkata took me totally by surprise, very clean, very neat, and very developed. Hotels (and I am talking about five/six star hotels like Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, etc), Shopping malls, Starbucks, Coffee beans, Carrefour, you name it, you find it here. In fact, I dont see it very much different from Orchard Road.

Totally surprised and I already love the place.

April 30th, 2006

After Internet2

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Guess whats the event after Internet2?


Okay, Cruise Missile is definitely out of my league :)

Anyway, this Internet2 trip for me is all about routing: How network A connect to network B when there are multiple paths, one shorter latency and another bigger pipe and unfortunately not both at the same time, and how applications deal with it. Most just give up and say MPLS which is okay but in a longer term, how do we build a network that can route packets based on different application requirements.

Of course, lets not ignore the politics of it. For example, SingAREN has multiple possible paths to APAN-JP, one direct 155mbps, another indirect 622mbps via TEIN2-SG POP, and yet another 622mbps to Taiwan then 622mbps to 622mbps to APAN-JP. Logically, the preference route would be direct, then 622mbps via TEIN2 and lastly via Taiwan. Yet somehow, we end up preferring Taiwan as a secondary route over TEIN2-SG POP.