Sun, Jul 13, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Television
EchoStar moves into China

EchoStar Communications Corp, the second-largest US satellite-television broadcaster, and Eastern Multimedia Group, a Taiwan cable-television broadcaster, have signed a pact to provide TV programs to China, the ETTV television station said, citing Eastern Multimedia's chairman. "EchoStar will provide us four satellite channels for Chinese programs," Eastern Multimedia Chairman Gary Wang said in the report by ETTV, which belongs to Eastern Multimedia. Privately held Eastern Multimedia on June 6 said it planned to sell shares in Taiwan this year and in Hong Kong next year to fund the purchase and production of television programs and movies.

■ Electronics

Sony standardizes chips

Sony Corp, the world's second-largest consumer-electronics maker, plans to halve the time and cost of product development by using common chips and software for its audiovisual products, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, without saying where it obtained the information. Sony plans to sell televisions, DVD players, camcorders, digital cameras and other audiovisual equipment that use standard chips starting later this business year that ends March 31, the report said. A new audiovisual product is now largely designed with dedicated chips, the report said, and chips and software make up more than two-thirds of the total develop-ment cost. The company reported a wider-than-expected loss of ?111.1 billion (US$940 million) for the three months ended March 31 after sales at its game business fell 25 percent and demand for stereos and televisions slumped.

■ Policy

Chen stumps for reform

President Chen Shui-bian yesterday tried to sell his administration's reform of the country's grass-roots credit cooperatives and insurance programs for farmers and fishermen in his weekly televised broadcast. The president said the reform of the current credit cooper-atives run by farmers' and fishermens' associations is aimed at strengthening the country's grass-roots credit system to prevent unnec-essary losses, which would be at the taxpayer's cost. The administration's plan to reform the insurance program for farmers and fishermen is aimed at closing the loop-holes in the current system and ensuring the govern-ment's subsidy to the program is enjoyed by real farmers and fishermen, he added. In order to get this message across, the president said, he will make a whistle-stop tour to every village and rural town around the island to explain his administration's reform.

■ Steel

Thailand dumps dumping-tax

Thai Minister of Commerce Adisai Bodharamik announced yesterday that his country will scrap the anti-dumping tax on steel from Taiwan and 13 other countries to help cut the costs for several of its industries, including the automobile, electronics and zinc coating industries. Thailand imposed anti-dumping taxes on the 14 countries a month ago, with a rate averaging 36 percent. The anti-dumping tax for steel from Taiwan is 3.45 percent, but the rate for steel from Venezuela is as high as 75 percent. In making the announcement, Adisai also said that Thai steel product manufacturers must buy their raw materials domestically in large quantities, and that the ratio should be 55 percent in the first year, 63 percent in the second year, 73 percent in the third year, 91 percent in the fourth year, and 97 percent in the fifth year.

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