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Internet firms set to benefit
( 2003-08-26 10:53) (Shanghai Daily)

Foreign investors cannot resist the temptations that China's two stock markets offer in looking at the country's fast-growing economy.

Berkshire Hathaway, the world's leading institutional investor headed by American billionaire Warren Buffet, has bought heavily into Chinese companies traded in Hong Kong.

With the implementation of the qualified foreign institutional investor program, or QFII, we can predict that industries with good earnings outlook will soak up major portion of investment from big over-seas funds in the next one or two years.

Among them are the Internet-related firms.

According to a survey by China Internet Network Information Center, China's mainland, with its popu-lation of some 1.3 billion, is set to become the world's largest broadband consumer by 2005.

Compared with the country's three major Internet portals traded on the technology-heavy Nasdaq market, their domestically listed counterparts are more profitable.

Shenzhen-listed ZTE Corporation, a maker of access servers, reported 45.4 percent profit growth in its first-half earnings.

The company earned 194.8 million yuan (US$23.5 million) on sales of 5.9 billion yuan, an increase of 48.3 percent over the same period a year ago.

UBS Warburg, the first qualified foreign investor, placed its first order in ZTE.

Foreign investors are, therefore, expected to pay more attention to this sector, banking on the country's booming use of Internet.

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