Celestial Asia Securities Holdings (CASH), which yesterday completed a HK$260 million share placement to fund a joint venture for mobile phone chipsets, aimed to break even on the project in 18 months, said Bankee Kwan Pak-ho, chairman of the Hong Kong-listed financial, retail and investment holding conglomerate. CASH yesterday completed the placement by selling 130 million shares at HK$2.02 each. The company's shares closed down 4.23 per cent at HK$2.04. The proceeds will help fund a venture forged last week with Chongqing-based CYIT Group that will commercialise CYIT's TD-SCDMA mobile-phone chipset. CYIT is one of the nation's five chipset makers. The TD-SCDMA standard, a mainland-developed technology for third-generation mobile phones, is to form the basis of one of three 3G networks after licences are issued, probably before next summer. China Mobile, the country's biggest mobile-phone carrier, is widely tipped to secure the licence to operate the TD-SCDMA network. 'The company has made an investment in one of the high-growth sectors in the mainland,' Mr Kwan said at a press conference yesterday. 'We expect the joint venture to turn a profit in 18 months.' Celestial Asia will invest between 300 million yuan and 500 million yuan in cash for a 50 per cent stake in the joint venture. CYIT will transfer its TD-SCDMA-related patents and technology for the remaining stake. Bob Chan, CASH director of investment, was confident that with China Mobile opening a tender for about two million TD-SCDMA mobile phones with four billion yuan this October, 'the joint venture should benefit by selling the chipset to various handset vendors'. CYIT, together with Datang Mobile Technology, has been a pioneer in developing the homegrown TD-SCDMA technology since 1999 and holds four patents with 46 patents pending approval. CYIT has two TD-SCDMA chipset products pending commercial use. CASH believes that revenue will be driven by sales of TD-SCDMA chipsets by the end of 2007. The company also will acquire a 2G chipset developer, Dr Chan said. The joint venture also will develop a 2G/3G data card product for laptops to help China Mobile capture business users.