| HONG KONG, April 21
HONG KONG, April 21 State-owned China Unicom
Hong Kong Ltd said on Friday first-quarter profit
surged 79 percent as it focused on its 4G mobile broadband
service, while its fixed-line segment maintained steady growth.
China Unicom's net profit rose to 862 million yuan ($125
million) for the January-March period, from 480 million a year
earlier, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
The company added 18.2 million 4G subscribers during the
period, taking the total to 122.7 million. Mobile billing
average revenue per user was 46.7 yuan, up slightly compared to
the full-year average of last year.
China Unicom last month reported a 94 percent drop in profit
The company is expected to announce an ownership reform that
could introduce private companies including China's major
internet giants as new shareholders, as part of a pilot
mixed-ownership reform scheme for China's state-owned
The group said in filings earlier this month that its
Shanghai-listed unit, China United Network Communications Ltd
, would be used as the platform for the reform,
instead of its Hong Kong-listed unit.
Analysts said mixed ownership reform could be a game-changer
in the long run for China Unicom, the worst performer among
China's state-owned telecommunication operators, but it would be
challenging to carry out substantial restructuring.
Shares of China Unicom closed down 1.7 percent ahead of the
earnings, lagging a flat broader market.
In March, China Unicom reported a drop in revenue and profit
for 2016, and was bracing for further challenges as the Beijing
government calls on telecommunications network operators to
($1 = 6.8835 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Anne Marie Roatnree and