In Tuesday's Asia papers

05 September 2006 02:40  [Source: ICIS news]

Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition)

Front page


Russia indicts crab boat skipper on charges of poaching, intrusion

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia--The fishing boat captain whose crew member was fatally shot by Russian border patrol was indicted Monday on charges of intruding in Russian territorial waters and poaching.

Skipper Noboru Sakashita, 59, of the No 31 Kisshin Maru, was indicted by the Yuzhno-Kurilsk regional prosecutors office.


Electrical group aims to lighten China's CO2 load

To help curb China's carbon dioxide emissions, an association of major electrical companies in Japan is preparing to persuade Chinese consumers to exchange incandescent light bulbs for energy-saving fluorescent ones.

The project, to be conducted by the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association (JEMA) in conjunction with Chinese authorities, is due to start next year. It will be the first of its kind in the world, a JEMA official said.


Business & Industry


Keidanren leader to meet China premier

BEIJING--Fujio Mitarai, new chairman of Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), will meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today amid strained diplomatic relations.

While energy and environmental issues are expected to dominate the agenda, Japanese political and business leaders are watching for Wen's remarks on bilateral relations and the successor to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.


Moneylending revisions to clarify interest rate obligations, but loophole to remain for 3 years

The Financial Services Agency plans to revise moneylending laws to deal with exorbitant annual interest rates pushed on desperate borrowers. But critics say the first phase of the changes will tilt in favor of the lenders for at least three years.

The revisions were planned after numerous complaints about “gray-zone” interest rates stemming from differences in the ceilings of two separate laws.


China Daily, China (online edition)

Front page


Property policy to deter overseas speculators

The Chinese government continues to rein in overseas speculators in the country's property market, as it is now requiring foreigners to get approval before they send funds out of the country that were earned from selling houses.

According to a circular on management over foreign investment in China's housing sector, which was jointly released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) and the Ministry of Construction, overseas investors who want to take over or acquire stakes in Chinese property companies will come up with the full purchase price.


Bo: China to honour WTO commitments

Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai promised yesterday that China will fulfil its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments.

At a ceremony to mark China's five-year WTO partnership, Bo said all market sectors would be opened in time, referring especially to banking and telecommunications. By 11 December, the fifth anniversary of China's accession to the WTO, the two sectors must be opened up to foreign firms.


Business & Industry


China's overseas investment in 2005 hits new high

China's direct investment overseas hit a new high of $12.26bn in 2005, exceeding $10bn for the first time, the Ministry of Commerce said Monday.

The figure, which excludes investment in the financial sector, rose 123% over that of 2004, the ministry said in a statistical bulletin on China's overseas investment in 2005. Out of the number, $3.8bn came from capital stocks,3.2bn from reinvested profits and the remaining $5.26bn were invested through other forms.


Tariff policy to play key role in macro control

China needs to use tariff policy as a key macro economic tool, Deputy Finance Minister Zhu Zhigang has said.
“Tariff policies must be used to stimulate the transformation of the economic growth model and restructure industry,” Zhu said at a national conference on tariff policy over the weekend.


Taiwan News, Taiwan (online edition)

Front page


Taiwan, allies issue 'Palau Declaration'

President Chen Shui-bian and the heads of state or government of Taiwan's six Pacific allies yesterday signed a “Palau Declaration” to conclude the First Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit held in Koror, Palau and set a framework for the future cooperation mechanisms and “partnerships” between Taiwan and its developing allies.

The declaration was signed after a day of discussions on developing government capabilities, eight cooperation fields and a new regional “alliance” to improve health and medical standards.


'Spiritual fortress' plan rejected

The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs has turned down an application from organizers of an anti-corruption campaign against President Chen Shui-bian to set up a so-called “spiritual fortress” around a historic site in downtown Taipei.

The department made the decision after consulting with officials from the Cabinet-level Council for Cultural Affairs and other agencies in charge of the preservation of historical relics.


Business & Industry


Tech stocks gain on upbeat profit expectations

Taiwan share prices closed 1.49% higher yesterday, tracking Wall Street's gains after US jobs data showed that an economic slowdown might not be as severe as some have expected, dealers said.

The bellwether tech sector was firmer on expectations of improved corporate earnings in the current quarter as the industry gears up for its traditionally strong performance in the run-up to the Christmas shopping season, they said.


Quanta may buy up to 5 parts makers to cut costs

Quanta Computer, Taiwan's largest maker of notebook computers, said it's in talks to buy as many as five electronic parts makers in China, Taiwan and the US to lower costs and add products such as music players.

The company has set aside NT$1bn ($30m) for acquisitions this year and twice that amount for next year, Chief Financial Officer Tim Li said in a telephone interview on 1 September. He declined to name companies involved in negotiations.


Korea Herald, South Korea (online edition)

Front page


Power union ends strike

Unionized workers at the country's five power companies ended their strike yesterday, about 15 hours after they staged an illegal walkout demanding better working conditions.

Workers are returning to work today, said Jung Hong-sub, vice president of the Korea Power Plant Industry Union.


Auditors zero in on key players in gaming scandal

State auditors yesterday began an extraordinary probe into four key protagonists of the recent gaming scandal.

Under investigation are the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Korea Media Rating Board, the Korea Game Development and Promotion Institute and Seoul Guarantee Insurance.


Business & Industry


Foreigners spend less in Korea

Foreigners spent the least amount in nine years in Korea as the stronger Korean won increasingly pared off their buying power in recent months, central bank data showed yesterday.

The Bank of Korea said foreign tourists and nonresident business travelers consumed around Won1.92trn ($2bn) in the first half of the year, down 4% from a year earlier.


Shipyard earnings to surge until 2008

Korean shipbuilders' earnings are forecast to improve through 2008 as the tight supply and demand balance allows them to pass on rising costs, said US-based investment bank Lehman Brothers in a report.

Lehman expects earnings at the shipyards to report a 64% growth over the 2006-08 period as revived interest in container ship investment amid continued demand for tankers and gas carriers is increasingly making global shipbuilding a seller's market.


Business Standard, India (online edition)

Front page


Tatas to babysit technology firms

Tata Industries will pick up between 10% and 26% equity, in the initial phase, in companies it has identified in the emerging areas of technology.

The plan is to fund such companies for the next 5-10 years, so that at least three or four of them are able to scale up as mega businesses.


TCS may clinch $200m China deal

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is close to clinching a $200m core banking solution contract from Bank of China — the second largest banking entity in China. This will be one of the major contracts bagged by an Indian IT company from that country.

“TCS and Bank of China have signed a deal, and are expected to announce it soon,” a source close to the development told Business Standard here today. TCS executives declined to comment on the deal.


Companies & Industry


Biotech revolution: Dept shortlists 12 novel projects

Department of Biotechnology is considering 12 novel research projects, initiated by leading bitechnology companies, in the country under the second round of Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI) funding.

The projects shortlisted for the second round of SIBRI funding include some pathbreaking technology initiatives of Bangalore-based Avesthagen, USV Limited, Bharat Serum and the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.


HLL's second shot at ayurveda

Hindustan Lever is having another go at retailing ayurveda in a bottle. After transferring the Ayush Spa range from the retail shelves to the direct selling network the onus, this time around, is on the Fair & Lovely brand.

The company has launched a range of products like body lotion, body pack and face pack under the Fair and Lovely Ayurvedic Fairness brand.


Business Times, Singapore (online edition)

Front Page


M'sian report on opening up of KL-S'pore air sector soon

Malaysia will present a report to Singapore within days on whether to open up the long-protected and highly popular Kuala Lumpur-Singapore air sector to budget airlines, although Malaysia doesn't have to do so until 2008.

Malaysia's Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said yesterday the ministry's report on the KL-Singapore air sector could be presented 'in the next few days'.


Temasek favours China assets that tap into growing middle class

(SINGAPORE) Temasek Holdings, the largest overseas investor in Chinese banks, says it has spent more than S$8bn ($5.1bn) buying assets in the country and plans to add more to capitalise on the nation's growth.

The Singapore investment company favours investments that will benefit from the burgeoning middle class in the nation of 1.3bn people, Frank Tang, managing director and head of Temasek's investments in China, said in an interview.


Singapore Companies


Chemoil set to launch S'pore IPO this month

Chemoil Energy, which market players expect will raise between $400m and $500m, looks set to launch its initial public offering (IPO) towards the end of this month as the company lodged its preliminary prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday.

Chemoil will be selling 382.2m shares, comprising new and vendor shares by way of an international placement and a Singapore public offer.


S&P coverage on 14 stocks

Standard & Poor's Equity Research has initiated coverage on 14 stocks under the SGX-MAS Research Incentive Scheme, with seven 'buy' or 'strong buy' recommendations among them.

The 'strong buy' stocks are LMA International, Pacific Healthcare Holdings and SNP Corporation, while those with a 'buy' call are Freight Links Express Holdings, Genting International, Jackspeed Corporation and Sunpower Group.


Bangkok Post, Thailand (online edition)

Front Page


Kongsak opposes talks with PULO
Thailand's Interior Minister Kongsak Wanthana on Monday said he opposed a bid by the Muslim extremist group Pattani United Liberation Organisation (PULO) to negotiate peace in the country's deep South, saying that the unrest remains an internal affair, and that negotiation was out of question.
Air Chief Marshal Kongsak said that PULO is not part of the kingdom's internal affairs, and that its offer was aimed only at gaining recognition in the region.


Asia-Europe summit to focus on Burma
Brussels/Berlin (dpa) - Global security issues, including joint Asia-Europe counter-terror measures, nuclear tensions with North Korea and failed international efforts to end military rule in Burma will head the agenda of next week's Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to be held in Helsinki.
The 10-11 September gathering, bringing together leaders from 13 Asian and 25 European Union states - plus the European Commission - is also expected to take decisions on widening ASEM membership to bring in more Asian and European states.


Business & Industry


Benefits sought for southern firms

The three southern border provinces should be developed into a special economic zone to help existing companies and draw new investment, according to local industry leaders.

Soft loans, tax waivers and new investment funds should be offered to businesses in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat to help spur growth in the area, the joint standing committee on commerce, industry and banking of the three groups said yesterday.


NESDB cuts forecast range

The National Economic and Social Development Board yesterday cut its economic growth forecast for the year to between 4.2% and 4.7%, down slightly from 4.2-4.9% in its last forecast. The revision followed the release of data showing the economy grew by 4.9% in the second quarter from the year before, down sharply from 6.1% in the first quarter.

The NESDB said slowing growth reflected poor private investment and consumption, expensive fuel prices and rising interest rates.

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