Sun, Nov 02, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ InternetSpam problem growing

Just as pressure is mounting in the US Congress and elsewhere to reduce unsolicited commercial e-mail, so, too, is the amount of e-mail being sent. Last year alone, people and businesses around the world created 5 billion gigabytes of data, according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley. That is a 30 percent increase in stored information from 1999, the last time the study was conducted. That's also enough new e-mail -- junk or otherwise -- to fill 500,000 Libraries of Congress, the study said. It works out to about 800 megabytes a person, or the equivalent of a stack of books 30 feet high, according to the study, by the university's School of Information Management and Systems.

■ Trade

S Korea posts record exports

South Korea posted record-high exports amounting to US$19.04 billion in October, an increase of 26.2 percent from the same month last year, South Korea's commerce ministry said yesterday. The ministry said South Korea had a US$10.79 billion aggregate trade surplus for the first 10 months of the year, thanks largely to shipments of cars, semiconductors, wireless telecommunications and computers to China, the US and Europe, the top three destinations for South Korean exports. Commerce minister Yoon Jin-Shik forecast exports of US$190 billion this year, surpassing his ministry's previous forecast of US$170 billion. "The country's exports are regaining strength amid the doldrums of sluggish consumer spending and stingy corporate capital expenditures," Yoon told reporters.

■ Automobiles

Honda to make Thai Fit

Japanese auto maker Honda Motor Co Ltd will begin production and sales of its popular small car, Fit, in Thailand this month, a newspaper said yesterday. Honda Automobile Thailand, a local production unit of the Japanese company, will produce 20,000 units a year, the Sankei Shimbun said. Honda will announce the plan as early as next week, it said. Honda Automobile Thailand has already expanded its production capacity from 70,000 units to 120,000 a year at a cost of ?4 billion (US$36 million) ahead of the launch of Fit, which will be named Jazz in Thailand. It will be the second production of Fit overseas following its output at a Brazilian plant. Honda also plans to produce Fit models in China in 2005. Honda Automobile Thailand may export the small cars to its neighbor countries, including Indonesia, Sankei said.

■ Privatization

Indonesia plans gas sale

Indonesia plans to divest 30 percent of the state gas company through an initial public offering in December, press reports said yesterday. "The divestment is planned according to schedule in mid-December and it cannot be late. Before the holidays or after Lebaran there must by an IPO," W.M.P. Simanjuntak, president director of PT State Gas Company, said as quoted by the Media Indonesia daily. Lebaran is the celebration and start of holidays that will follow the Muslim fasting month at the end of this month. Divestment had been planned for November but a number of European and American investors took issue with an audit of the company's 2001 finances by Arthur Andersen.

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