Cambridge, UK, 16 January 2003 – TTP Communications plc, (LSE: TTC) ("TTPCom"), and TCL Mobile Communication Ltd, China's largest local manufacturer of mobile phones, today announce that they have signed a long term strategic agreement for the development of advanced mobile phones. This agreement builds on the GPRS licensing deal that the two companies announced in December 2002 and gives TCL access to TTPCom's complete applications platform. The first product under development is a fully featured, MMS enabled camera phone complete with large colour screen and downloadable games, which TCL expect to launch in the first half of 2003.
TCL currently manufactures 6 million phones per annum, making it the number 3 in the Chinese market. It has recently increased its manufacturing capacity to 12 million phones per annum, reflecting the company's declared ambition in the mobile phone market, to be number 5 in the world within the next 3 years.
Under the agreement TCL gains immediate access to a comprehensive range of TTPCom's world-leading technology. TTPCom will provide a dedicated team to work alongside TCL's engineering team within the framework of a joint "lab" and will undertake a range of training programmes with the objective of accelerating the transfer of wireless expertise and know how. In addition TTPCom will offer consultancy services that will enable TCL to develop a roadmap of innovative products suitable for the worldwide mobile terminal market.
Dr. Wan Mingjian, CEO of TCL Mobile stated "For TCL to achieve a world leading position in the development of mobile phones we need to take more control of the technology, add the latest functionality to our products and offer these to market in as short a time as possible and at the most competitive price. This agreement with TTPCom is a true long-term partnership. TTPCom's platform approach, that enables technology to be reused across a range of phones, is key to keeping pace with a fast changing market and will give TCL the flexibility we need to build our position worldwide."
Tony Milbourn, Managing Director of TTPCom added: "TCL is China's leading manufacturer of handsets and we are very pleased that through this agreement we are forging a long-term relationship with them. We hope TTPCom's insight into the European and North American markets will prove invaluable to TCL as they develop their position as one of the world's leading manufacturers of mobile phones. We are building strong relationships with many of the European operators who recognise that TTPCom technology is integral to many of the products available on their networks, as demonstrated by the success of the Sharp GX10 camera phone used in the Vodafone Live! service in the UK. Through these relationships we can offer TCL a fast-track introduction to the European market for products resulting from this agreement."
Nick Kerry, TCL Lab Project Manager who is leading the TTPCom team said "The timescales are demanding, but we are used to bringing high tech phones into the market quickly."