October 27, 2017 / 10:11 AM / a year ago

China Unicom's 9-month profit doubles, but warns of tough Q4

HONG KONG, Oct 27 (Reuters) - China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd said its net profit for the first nine months of the year more than doubled, helped by business reform and cost savings, but it reiterated that its earnings would come under pressure in the fourth quarter.

The telecommunications operator posted a net profit of 4.05 billion yuan ($609 million) over January-September, versus 1.59 billion yuan a year ago, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday, in line with a profit alert issued earlier this month.

Mobile service revenue grew 6.7 percent, while average revenue per mobile user per month, a key industry performance indicator, rose to 48.4 yuan from the 2016 average of 46.4 yuan.

The number of its 4G network subscribers climbed by 55.7 million to 160 million. But, revenue from telecom product sales - such as handsets - dropped by 49 percent to 17.9 billion yuan.

China Unicom repeated its warning that it would “face increasing pressure” in the fourth quarter of the year due to an industry-wide rate cut and intensifying competition.

One of China’s three state-owned telecom firms, China Unicom is set to undergo a 80-billion yuan ownership reform that would introduce major Chinese technology firms including Tencent Holdings, Baidu Inc and Alibaba Group as new strategic shareholders. ($1 = 6.6525 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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