China Unicom 1H profit leaps 55 per cent on growth in mobile data sales, 3G customers

HONG KONG - State-owned China Unicom, one of the country's three big phone companies, says first half profit jumped by more than half as it signed up more third-generation users and customers increased their usage of mobile data services.

The Beijing-based company said Thursday that profit for the January-June period rose to 5.3 billion yuan ($865 million). That's up 55 per cent from 3.4 billion yuan last year.

Earnings per share rose to 0.22 yuan. Revenue increased by nearly a fifth to 144.3 billion yuan.

China Unicom is the country's second largest mobile phone company by subscribers, which rose 20 per cent to 262.2 million over the year before.

Unicom was the first to offer the iPhone in China but has faced tougher competition after rival China Telecom also began selling the smartphone last year.