Newbury-based outfit thinks big...Despite some headline-grabbing losses recently, the latest rankings of global mobile network operators show Vodafone remaining bullish with its investments, especially in Asia-Pacific. The world's largest operator upped its stake in China Mobile Hong Kong on 16 May by an additional 1.09 per cent, at a cost of $750m. In a statement telecoms market research specialist EMC, producer of the latest statistics, said: "The British-based cellular heavyweight is continuing to take the battle over world domination right to the door of its Asian rival NTT DoCoMo." Vodafone has various holdings in the Asia-Pacific region - including J-Phone in NTT DoCoMo's home market - though its interest in China is deemed very important because of that market's predicted growth rate over the next few years. NTT DoCoMo is known for its success in Japan but has just 1.12 million subscribers elsewhere in Asia-Pacific, according to EMC. Instead, it has several tie-ups in Europe and is targeting future 3G services as well as the use of its proprietary i-mode offering. DoCoMo partner KPN Mobile is currently rolling out i-mode-style data services in Germany and Holland and in the autumn will do so in Belgium too. Vodafone's two main international rivals remain Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile, despite retreats in south-east Asia, and France Telecom's Orange.