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China Stocks Finish Mixed

BEIJING -- The Hang Seng Index gained 0.2% Wednesday to close at 16,522, while the Shanghai Comp traded down 0.3% to 1740.

In New York on Tuesday, China stocks got a breather after several days of heavy selling in the wireless sector. Wireless play Tom Online (TOMO) gained 3.9% to $13.90 and Linktone (LTON) was up 2.4% to $7.05.

China Finance Online (JRJC), which provides online data on securities that trade on mainland bourses, was up 4.1% to $5.64 after announcing the $1 million acquisition of a Shenzhen-based financial information database firm.

PCCW (PCW) tumbled 9.1% to $6.40 after the Hong Kong telecom outfit said it would sell a 23% stake to a local financier, dealing a setback to two foreign firms that submitted bids earlier.

Offers from Macquarie Bank and an arm of private equity concern Newbridge had helped propel PCCW shares higher in recent weeks. PCCW stakeholder China Netcom (CN) was said to have opposed selling the carrier's assets to foreign investors.

However, a Financial Times report suggested the two foreign bidders remain interested and are still talking with PCCW even after Monday's news.

Also on the technology front, the $37 billion China semiconductor market is expected to grow another 18% this year, according to El Segundo, Calif.-based research firm iSuppli. That would put China on pace to easily top projected worldwide chip growth of nearly 10% this year, according to the latest June estimate from the San Jose, Calif.-based Semiconductor Industry Association.

Still, iSuppli flagged a sharp slowdown in revenue growth over the past couple of years on an expanding sales base.

In 2004, yearly chip sales in China jumped nearly 35% before decelerating to 13% growth in 2005.

"China's semiconductor demand has enjoyed a brisk annual growth rate for about two decades, and so it's not surprising to see some slowing of the growth as the demand base expands," said iSuppli in a release. Shenzhen, China-based analyst Byron Wu could not be reached for further comment.

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