China Unicom's Q1 net profit up 89 pct

HONG KONG, April 25 Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:32am EDT

HONG KONG, April 25 (Reuters) - China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd , the country's second-biggest mobile phone operator, posted an 89 percent rise in net profit for the January-March period due to a rising number of subscribers spending more on data.

Its net income came in at 1.9 billion yuan ($310 million) in the first quarter, up from 1.007 billion yuan a year earlier, the carrier said in a statement after the Hong Kong market closed on Thursday.

A Macquarie analyst had forecast its first-quarter net profit at 2.8 billion yuan, while another Everbright analyst expected its net profit to rise by between 45-50 percent, or 1.46-1.51 billion yuan.

Results for China Unicom, the first Chinese carrier to carry iPhones when it signed a contract with Apple Inc in 2009, came days after bigger rival China Mobile Ltd reported a 0.3 percent rise in first-quarter net profit.

On Thursday, China Unicom's shares ended down 0.2 percent, underperforming the Hang Seng Index's 1.0 percent rise.

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