Treasure to turn Double Kingdom into major player

CHINA Treasure Holding, after acquiring a 39.1 per cent stake in listed original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Double Kingdom in January, will launch an aggressive expansion programme on the mainland to turn Double Kingdom into a major China play.

Double Kingdom will be renamed Chinese Treasure Telecom Holdings from next month to reflect the new ownership structure and the emphasis on telecommunications.

A new company, China Treasure Telecom, has been set up to spearhead the expansion across the border, while the wholly owned China OEM venture of Double Kingdom in Hong Kong, in Guangdong's Dongguan city, will retain the name of Double Kingdom.

Clement Mak, chairman of Double Kingdom in Hong Kong, said discussions were underway with corporations under the Chinese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and other departments to set up at least 10 joint ventures.

The ventures would make telephones with and without cords, facsimile machines, PABX machines, beepers and trunk radios for the domestic market.

The Dongguan factory exports almost all its output to Europe and the United States.

Details on the projects will be announced next month.

Mr Mak said: ''The Chinese telecommunications market is extremely huge, although it is not fully liberalised. We are building up our operations now so that we are in a position to exploit the market when restrictions are removed.'' The company will set up a head office for its China operations in Beijing.

''We're not just looking at the major cities but also cities in the less developed provinces,'' said Mr Mak.

The Dongguan factory would be expanded by June, and then would sell part of its output domestically.

It lacked a proper distribution and relationships network, making it hard for Double Kingdom to sell in China, said Paul Tse, Double Kingdom's executive director.

''With the extensive ties of China Treasure, the problem can be overcome,'' he said.

China Treasure Holdings is seeking a secondary listing on the New York stock exchange by year-end for its property and construction operations.