Size Does Matter In Asia's Cyber Race

From Singapore to Taipei, old-line conglomerates are crowding out the nimble newcomers

Can't get enough of U.S. Internet stocks--the ones with weak profits and outrageous prices? There's always Wharf Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong. The $1.3 billion conglomerate has seen property prices plunge and business shrink at its hotels and stores. It's also taking big losses on its push into phone service and cable TV. Yet Wharf's stock price has nearly doubled since Apr. 1, to $2.68 on May 5. The reason: Wharf has recast itself as an Internet play. "The Internet market will continue to grow," explains Daniel Ng, director of Wharf's Internet division. "With our strength, we should be able to find our position in it."

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