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Monday, July 25, 2016, 20:24

Telecom stocks soar on Pokemon effect

By Lin Wenjie
Telecom stocks soar on Pokemon effect

People play Pokemon Go on their mobile phones on Monday when the augmented-reality game became officially available in Hong Kong. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Share prices of local telecommunication and internet companies soared on Monday, taking the lead to push the benchmark index back on track. This was as the much anticipated augmented-reality game Pokémon Go made its debut in Hong Kong, the second place in Asia after Japan.

The Hang Seng Index fell slightly in the trading hour but rebounded in the closing auction session by 0.13 percent to 21993.44 points at Monday’s close, with local telecom and internet companies faring well. Integrated telecommunication provider Hutchison Telecommunications surged 3.47 percent to HK$2.98 per share, hitting an eight-month high. The share price of mainland internet giant Tencent rose 1.51 percent to a record HK$188 per share.

As the game will be launched in Asian markets successively in the next few months, analysts do not expect Pokémon Go to push up Asia-Pacific telecom data usage.

Citigroup warned that the market should not be overly optimistic regarding the increase of data usage, as inter-app competition may curb the increase of data usage. According to the situation in the US, data usage did heighten for Pokémon Go after its launch, but that of other apps such as YouTube and Twitter reduced significantly.

The bank said in its report that data plans of Asian emerging markets are mostly prepaid. Thus the problem centers on whether consumers will pay more telecom fees. The report believed that users' decision was mainly affected by their disposable income rather than availability of mobile phone functions.

Pokémon G o is a virtual reality game which features all the original 150 Pokémon. The game encourages players to hunt down Pokémon in the real world. The phone’s GPS keeps track of the player’s location and their proximity to nearby Pokémon.

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