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HP wins licence to sell more smartphones in China

HP wins licence to sell more smartphones in China

Hewlett-Packard has won a licence from the Chinese government to sell more smartphone models in the country, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.

The Network Access Licence granted to the world's largest PC maker will allow it to expand smartphone sales in China to multiple models, but the company couldn't immediately confirm how many. Currently, HP is allowed to sell only one smartphone, the hp6515 iPaq.

The original licence to sell one mobile phone product was granted in 2005, but the new licence is much more comprehensive, said Liana Teo, a spokeswoman for HP in Singapore.

She declined to provide further details, and said HP would announce new models as it makes them ready for the China market.

China has more mobile phone subscribers than any other country: 508.6 million as of the end of July, according to the nation's Ministry of Information Industry (MII). That's more than double wireless trade group CTIA's estimate of 243.3 million for the U.S., or the 193 million subscribers in India reported by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Last week, HP announced five new iPaq models in the U.S.; the iPaq 900 Series Business Messenger, a 3G (third-generation) phone; the iPAQ 600 Series Business Navigator, a 3G phone with built-in GPS (Global Positioning System); the iPaq 300 Series Travel Companion, a PDA with built-in GPS; the iPaq 200 Series Enterprise Handheld for business users; and the iPaq 100 Series Classic Handheld with Wi-Fi connectivity and easy synching with a PC.

For now, those 3G models will offer little benefit in China, which has yet to issue network operators with licences to build 3G networks. However, the government has said it hopes to have 3G services running in time for the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008.

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