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China Unicom Annual Net Income to Rise by More Than 50%

China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., the nation’s second-largest mobile-phone company, said 2012 net income probably increased more than 50 percent from a year earlier as it expanded its 3G and broadband user base.

Those trends fueled a revenue increase that outpaced costs and expenses, according to a Hong Kong stock exchange filing yesterday. While China Unicom didn’t provide numbers, it plans to release detailed earnings in March.

China Unicom’s 2012 net income probably rose to 7.1 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) from 4.23 billion yuan in 2011, according to the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg. Third-quarter net income of 2.02 billion yuan missed the 2.21 billion yuan median estimate because of the push to add users with lower-cost mobile phones.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chang Xiaobing turned to low-cost smartphones priced at 1,000 yuan or less, like the V889M from ZTE Corp., after the company in March lost the advantage of being the only Chinese carrier to offer Apple Inc.’s iPhone with a service plan. Subscribers with cheaper phones make less use of data.

The company published its statement after the Hong Kong stock market closed. The stock gained 1 percent to HK$12.26 yesterday. The shares have declined 14 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a gain of about 18 percent in the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index.

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