NetGear sees 25 pct sales growth for 5 yrs

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HONG KONG, Oct 10 (Reuters) U.S. networking products maker NetGear Inc expects revenue to expand 25 percent, and sees turnover from the Asia Pacific exceeding that rate, over the next five years as broadband use spreads across the region.

Simon Tsang, the firm's North Asian managing director, told Reuters on Wednesday he expected Chinese and Indian broadbandtake-up in particular to power a region that yielded a tenth of the group's revenue of 3 million last year.

Tsang's revenue forecasts trump analysts' predictions.

NetGear is expected to post revenue growth of 25 percent and 15 percent in 2007 and 2008, respectively, according to a survey of 10 analysts by Reuters Estimates. In 2009, two analysts forecast sales growth slowing to 12.6 percent.

''We are confident that the whole company will grow 25 percent a year over the next five years. Our goal for Asia Pacific is to grow faster than that, because we have two fast-growing countries in the region: China and India,'' Tsang said in an interview.

''We see huge potential not only in the emerging markets but in mature markets such as Hong Kong as people keep upgrading their broadband bandwidth.'' NetGear competes with Cisco Systems Inc and D-link Corp in designing products that enable home users and firms to share Internet access, files, multimedia content and applications among computers and other Internet devices.

Firms like NetGear benefit as media and electronic devices in the home and workplace link up increasingly, by selling the products that enable that process. Tsang said 60 percent of its regional sales came from small and mid-sized companies and 40 percent from household users.

Key to convergence is speed. Broadband subscribers worldwide are expected to hit 226 million this year, up 14 percent, and grow to 251 million in 2008 with Asia taking up the biggest proportion, according to Dell'Oro Group.

The number of Internet users in China alone reached 162 million at the end of June, the largest after the United States, with 122 million boasting broadband Internet access, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

To extend its distribution, NetGear has forged dozens of partnerships in the region, including with Japan's Softbank Corp , Australia's Telstra Corp Ltd and China's Digital China Holdings Ltd.

On Wednesday it also tied up with Taiwan's Synnex Technology , the world's third largest electronics distributor, to sell its products in Hong Kong.

Asia houses the company's only two research and development centres outside of its headquarters: one in Beijing and anotherin Taipei.

''We set the Beijing R&D centre in July mostly for the unique requirements in China and Asia, and the Taipei centre mainly for our global clients,'' the information technology veteran said.

REUTERS MP PM1914

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