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Facebook users can already access the site on their mobile phones through the Facebook mobile page, but apparently the combination of the social network and 3G networks is what prompted Hong Kong tycoon, Li Ka-shing, to up his stake in the company to more than $100 million from $60 million.
Li talked about his Facebook investment on an earnings call for Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa this morning, where he is chairman. MarketWatch reported that Li is willing to invest even more because “we could have some synergy between the 3G services of Hutchison and Facebook, so the customers could use Facebook on mobile phones.”
Hutchison, which provides 3G service in Asia, Europe and the Middle East under the 3 brand, has lost more than $16 billion since 2002 building out 3G networks. In fact Hutchison today reported that its 3G services turned cash-flow positive for the first time in 2007, with 17.6 million subscribers worldwide and total sales of HK$ 59.91 billion ($7.7 billion). However, it still reported a net loss of $2.31 billion on 3G services.
An alliance with Facebook might be a way to pump up the brand a bit more. Actually, this looks remarkably similar to Microsoft’s reason for investing in Facebook. And who wouldn’t put a $15 billion valuation on sex appeal?