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DoCoMo to up Asian investments

NTT DoCoMo Inc, Japan's leading mobile operator, said Tuesday that it would invest as much in Asia as it had in the US and Europe.

SINGAPORE--NTT DoCoMo Inc, Japan's leading mobile operator, said Tuesday that it would invest as much in Asia as it had in the US and Europe.

"We are a part of Asia... We have invested 100 billion yen (US$807 million)--a relatively small amount--in the region so far, but we want to bring our investments to the same level as the United States or Europe and we are considering various opportunities," Reuters reported the company's senior executive vice president Yoshinori Uda as having told an annual shareholders meeting.

However, Uda said, such a move in Asia would take time, as "there are various country regulations on foreign investment, the exchange of capital and telecom regulations. We must take these into consideration and try to operate in an open environment that makes sense to us".

According to Reuters, DoCoMo had invested 580 billion yen in Europe for shares in KPN Mobile--a unit of Dutch carrier KPN Telecom NV--and British cellular services venture Hutchison 3G UK Holdings Ltd. In the US, it invested 1.15 trillion yen on a 16 percent stake in AT&T Wireless Group Inc. These made up the bulk of DoCoMo's 1.8 trillion yen overseas investments.

The company said that it saw no need to write down the value of its existing overseas investments despite concerns voiced by its shareholders. "At this time, we do not think the value of our 1.8 trillion yen in investments overseas has fallen excessively," said Masao Nakamura, an executive vice president.

KPN Telecom shares have fallen 86.8 percent over the past year, AT&T Wireless shares are down 37.5 percent, while DoCoMo is down 34.6 percent on the year.