Vodafone Group and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have announced plans to invest in a subsidiary of China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd., the publicly-listed arm of China's biggest mobile operator, China Mobile Communications.
Vodafone will pay almost US$35 million for a 9.99 per cent stake in Aspire Holdings while HP will make an investment of undisclosed size to raise its stake in the company to 7 per cent. HP first invested in the company in January 2001, according to a China Mobile statement.
As part of the deal, Vodafone will work on research and development of wireless data services for China. Aspire develops and provides wireless data services, as well as systems and gateway integration services for China Mobile in mainland China, the company said.
Both Vodafone and HP will compete in the provision of wireless data application software and hardware related services for Aspire's Mobile Information Services Center (MISC) platform, a standardized nationwide platform for wireless data services in China, the company said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vodafone will continue to work with China Mobile in offering roaming services for wireless data subscribers in China, the statement said.
Vodafone currently has a 2.2 per cent stake in China Mobile, although it has made known its plans to increase it to a 25 per cent stake in the company.