Sept 13 (Reuters) - Japanese component suppliers and social media stocks were among the biggest beneficiaries of Apple Inc’s launch of its latest iPhone and a new operating system that promises users better on-the-go networking capabilities.
Shares of the usual suspects from Apple’s Asian supply chain - Korean and Taiwanese hardware makers - saw a less enthusiastic response following healthy rallies in the sector in the run-up to the unveiling on Wednesday of the iPhone 5.
The new lighter iPhone, which is likely to see sales of 10 million to 12 million this month alone according to analyst forecasts, will sport a larger screen with “retina” display, a new connector and improved camera.
In Taiwan, shares of major iPhone assembler Hon Hai climbed 1.4 percent, while Cheng Uei, the maker of the iPhone 5’s new smaller connector, jumped as much as 5 percent.
Analysts at Citigroup continue to see Hon Hai as the best bet on the iPhone launch, citing the improvements in profitability that the company can extract from Apple’s move to use an aluminium casing rather than ceramic glass.
The updated operating system, iOS 6, has an embedded Facebook application, which helped the beaten down shares of the social network surge 7.7 percent in the United States.
The move in Facebook shares lifted Japanese social media stocks such as DeNA and Gree, which were up more than 4 percent each and among the heaviest traded stocks in Asia.
Japanese component suppliers also rose, with Meiko Electronics Co Ltd, which makes printed circuit boards, up 17.6 percent. Murata Manufacturing was up 2.9 percent while Mitsumi Electronics gained 3.6 percent.
Reaction to the new iPhone was most muted in South Korea.
Flat-screen maker LG Display fell 1.8 percent while SK Hynix lost 1.4 percent. LG Display shares are still up nearly 32 percent since late July.
“Apple’s iPhone 5 is not fun. It is not sexy. It is unfortunate for Apple to come up with such a phone, but this does not come as good news to other smartphone makers and parts suppliers, either,” Lee Sun-tae, a tech analyst at NH Investment & Securities in Seoul, said.
Shares in Apple’s biggest rival Samsung Electronics rose 0.4 percent, bringing their gain so far this year to 22.8 percent.