Shares of Sichuan Changhong Electric, China's fifth-biggest television maker, yesterday jumped to their highest price in 28 months after the firm posted a 320 per cent surge in fourth-quarter net profit, thanks to the launch of new, non-television products and an investment gain. Net profit rose to 84.6 million yuan in the three months to December from 20.1 million yuan for the same period a year earlier, as sales climbed 36 per cent to 6.6 billion yuan, the firm said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, citing domestic accounting standards. The Mianyang, Sichuan manufacturer, said its profit for the whole of last year grew 7.33 per cent to 305.9 million yuan or 16.1 fen per share compared with 285 million yuan or 13.2 fen per share in 2005. Full-year sales jumped 24.5 per cent to 18.7 billion yuan. Changhong began selling refrigerators and mobile communications devices in the past two years and said it would continue to develop these lines. But it did not give details of the earnings figures. It aimed to sell two million handsets last year but did not report whether it reached this goal. The new products will be important for the company because the country's television makers are struggling to make a profit as the market shifts rapidly to liquid-crystal display screens. In December, Skyworth, the mainland's second-largest television maker, blamed the drop in its gross margin to 16.3 per cent from 16.9 per cent on the severe competition in the LCD television market that had driven prices down. Changhong agreed in October to invest about 1.8 billion yuan in a joint venture with Irico Group Electronics, a Hong Kong-listed manufacturer of television parts, to produce plasma television sets. While citing investment earnings for the boost in income, the company did not disclose what they were. It proposed a final dividend of 70 fen per 10 shares compared with no dividend from a year ago. Boosted by the earnings report, the company's shares surged 3.7 per cent yesterday to close at 5.54 yuan on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The shares have risen 22.8 per cent from their levels a year ago.