April 2006, a flashback

BY LEE HAN SHIH
Apr 05, 2009
*Special to asia!

Booming sales in China

Auto sales in China soared by more than 70 per cent in January, putting it on track to overtake Japan as the world’s second biggest automobile market this year. Last year 5.9 million vehicles were sold in China. Growth this year is projected at 15 per cent.

Japanese banks in bid for GM finance unit

Aozora Bank and Morinchukin Bank are possible investors in Cereberus Capital Management’s $11 billion bid for General Motors’ finance arm. Aozora, majority owned by Cereberus, could be in for $1 billion.

Cathay’s fuel saving measures

Cathay has removed the outer layer of paint from its cargo planes and polished the surface to a bright silver. This reduced the weight of each plane by 200 kg and led to savings of HK$1.5 million, said a spokeswoman.

Hong Kong says goodbye to ‘death tax’

Hong Kong has abolished its century-old estate duty, which takes effect in February. Government officials estimate the move will deprive the state of $19 million in revenue, but this would be more than compensated by increase in optimism in business investment, stamp duties and other forms of taxation.

DBS in bid for Korea Exchange Bank

DBS of Singapore has submitted a bid for 50.5 per cent of the Korea Exchange Bank which could be as high as $6 billion, making the purchase the single biggest corporate acquisition. The seller is Lone Star Funds of the US.

Legend/Lenova to float property interest

Legend Capital plans to spin off its property interest for a separate listing, which could take place either in China or Hong Kong, said co-founder Liu Chuanzhi. Until last year Liu was running Lenova, a member of Legend and the biggest personal computer maker in China. It was under Liu that Lenova bought IBM’s PC business for $1.75 billion in 2005.

Brinksmanship by Taiwan credit card issuers

The top eight card issuers threaten to stop issuing cards and extending loans to up to one million people should the Taiwan government set the interest rate for credit and cash loans at 12 per cent, much lower than the current level. They claim this will create 500,000 new insolvent card debtors. Taiwan has 4.3 million credit card and small loan holders, with nearly one million in some sort of financial trouble.

London to lure west China IPOs

David William Brewer, the 678th Lord Mayor of the City of London, recently led a contingent of the city’s finance experts on a visit to Chengdu and Chongqing, the two biggest cities in Sichuan, China’s most populous province. He was trying to interest companies there to list on the Alternative Investment Market, the London Stock Exchange’s smaller exchange for global smaller companies. So far 16 Chinese companies are listed on AIM.

New derivative exchange for Shanghai

The State Council has agreed for Shanghai to start preparatory work to set up a futures exchange for financial products, said Feng Guoqin, a vice mayor of the city. The exchange will have five owners, two of China’s main stock exchange and its three commodity exchanges, each holding a 20 per cent stake.

Overseas IPOs hurt China

The rush of Chinese firms for listing overseas has led to $60 billion of state owned enterprises being drained out of China, which could affect the country’s economic future, said an official of the Remin University of China at the recent meeting of the National People’s Congress.

Scandal at Bank of China

Officials at China’s second largest commercial lender and a businessman embezzled 96 bank bills and cashed them for 914.6 million yuan ($186 million) over the past three years. Zhu Dequan, head of the Fuquiang and Oils Trading group, has been arrested in relation to the matter.

China, US inked agreement

The Motion Picture Association and the China Film Copyright Protection Association signed a MOU for cooperation on intellectual property rights education and joint anti-piracy activities. Opinions are mixed on whether this will in any way affect pirated films from being made and distributed in China, which produces billions of such films every year.

Sun Hung Kai in Singapore partnership

Hong Kong’s second largest property player is teaming up with Singapore’s CapitaLand, the biggest property firm by asset in Southeast Asia, to look for projects in Asia. The two are already working on a S$2 billion ($1.26 billion) mall and apartment project in Singapore.

Hong Kong to issue cat stamp in the Year of the Dog

In a logic-defying move, the Hong Kong Post Office has issued a new series of Hello Kitty stamps to commemorate the Year of the Dog. A total of 3,888 sets, each with 16 stamps in eight different styles, were issued. Demand was said to be overwhelming.

Government broke major smuggling case in Guangdong

Custom officials said they have uncovered a series of steel smuggling from January 2003 to August 2005 by a foreign corporation. The sum involved came to more than 100 million yuan, comprising 86 million yuan in steel products and 16 million yuan in unpaid taxes.

Nanya broke ground of 12-in wafer plant

Nanya Technology started construction on its first 12-inch wafer fabrication plant. Phase one of the project costs NT$40 billion while the entire plant will cost NT$84 billion. Nanya expects to start ramping up production of chips in the middle of next year.

Seiko sets up R&D centre in Singapore

The Japanese electronic firm is to set up its first research and development centre outside of Japan in Singapore, to focus on hard disk development and other fields. It will have up to 20 staff in 2010.

3G cross halfway mark among Japan consumers

lee han shihLee Han Shih is the founder, publisher and editor of asia! Magazine.

 

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