■ IT procurement to grow
The procurement of information technology (IT) and electronics products made by foreign companies' purchasing offices here is expected to reach US$54 billion this year, up 11 percent from US$48.5 billion last year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. The ministry expects the purchasing amount to increase by 10 percent to US$60 billion next year. Hewlett-Packard remained No. 1 with purchasing of US$17.2 billion this year, up 6.2 percent from a year ago, and is sequentially followed by Dell, which spent over US$10 billion, Sony, Apple Computer and IBM, with purchases worth around US$4 billion each, the ministry said.
■ Government subsidies urged
The government should give more subsidies to help the service sector create brand value and expand outlets overseas, William Wang (王國安), director-general of the Association of Chain and Fran-chise Promotion (連鎖加盟促進 協會), said yesterday. The association has 1,366 members nationwide, which operate 80,000 outlets in Taiwan. Wang said the group plans to spend NT$1 million (US$30,000) on hiring professors next year to give courses on marketing and business-related knowledge.
■ NT dollar weakens
The New Taiwan dollar fell for a second day on speculation the central bank sold its currency to slow an appreciation, and after foreign investors reduced stock purchases. The currency slipped NT$0.143 to close at NT$33.117 against its US counterpart on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$970 million.