Legend, Time Warner end Chinese joint venture

Legend Holdings Ltd., China’s largest PC maker, and Time Warner Inc. have agreed to end a Chinese Internet joint venture, a Legend spokeswoman said Thursday.

The joint venture, FM365.com Ltd., was established by the two companies in 2001 and was intended to offer a narrowband Internet access service for Chinese Internet users. The joint venture was 51 per cent owned by Legend and 49 per cent owned by Time Warner, with both companies originally pledging to invest US$100 million in the company.

Actual investment fell far short of original plans, with both companies investing around US$25 million in FM365.com, said Feon Lee, a spokeswoman for Legend in Hong Kong.

FM365.com acquired the 49 per cent stake held by Time Warner for an undisclosed price based on the net asset value of the joint venture, making the company a wholly owned subsidiary of Legend, Lee said.

Despite being launched to great fanfare in 2001, FM365.com has been stuck in limbo for the last year. In March 2003, Legend denied reports the joint venture had been put on hold, saying the joint venture’s business model was under review.

While FM365.com is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Legend, there is no clear plan for the company, Lee said.

“They’re working on it,” she said.

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