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Cell phone maker rings up 33% loss
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Ningbo Bird Co, China's second-biggest mobile-phone maker, posted its second annual loss in three years after Nokia Oyj and Samsung Electronics Co won market share in the nation by introducing cheaper models.

The net loss was 593.6 million yuan (US$84.8 million), or 0.77 yuan a share, compared with a restated net income of 33.6 million yuan a year earlier, the Ningbo, Zhejiang Province-based company said yesterday in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Sales fell 33.1 percent to 4.57 billion yuan from a restated 6.83 billion yuan.

Ningbo Bird said in October it would post an annual loss. Publicly traded companies in China are required to announce if they expect to turn to a loss from profit or vice versa.

The company's share of the Chinese handset market, the world's biggest by users, fell after Nokia and Samsung introduced more models priced at 400 yuan or less to win consumers in small towns and rural areas. China added a record 86.2 million handset users last year after China Mobile Ltd and China Unicom Ltd, the nation's only wireless carriers, cut calling rates, Bloomberg News reported.

Bird's shares fell 2.3 percent yesterday to 3.76 yuan in Shanghai before the earnings release. The stock has dropped 34.3 percent this year, compared with a 38.8 percent decline in China's benchmark CSI 300 Index.

Nokia widened its lead in China to 35 percent of the market in the fourth quarter, from 34 percent a year earlier.

(Shanghai Daily April 22, 2008)

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