Sina Tech, 6/30/11
China Unicom (NYSE: CHU; 0762.HK; 600050.SH) and Chinese mobile phone distributor Funtalk (Nasdaq: FTLK) announced today that they had signed a strategic partnership agreement under which Funtalk will open Unicom service counters and product display areas at its 800 stores nationwide. The two companies will also cooperate on promoting Unicom's "Wo" brand 3G service, including offering number activation services and 3G handsets such as the iPhone and LePhone, ultimately expanding to handle 2G handset sales and fixed-line and broadband services.
China Unicom has more than 20,000 service centers around China at present, approximately 18,000 of which are capable of handling 3G services. The operator has also partnered with 3C retail chains including Suning (002024.SZ), Gome (0493.HK), and Best Buy subsidiary Five Star Appliance. Unicom service centers and other self-operated channels account for roughly 60% of its 3G service channels, with channel partners accounting for the remaining 40%. Li Gengxin, Unicom's deputy GM of sales, said that the operator hopes for channel partners to account for a greater percentage of its channel resources in the future.