Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ ENTREPRENEURSHIP

NT$2bn in loans on offer

Business start-up loans totaling NT$2 billion (US$65.7 million) are available for young entrepreneurs this year, an offer that is expected to help 2,000 Taiwanese start their own businesses and create approximately 7,000 jobs, Council of Economic Planning and Development officials said yesterday. The sum was jointly provided by domestic banks and the government’s Sino-American Fund for Economic and Social Development, council officials said. To encourage youth entrepreneurship, the council and the National Youth Commission on May 1 lowered the interest rate for the start-up loans, and extended the repayment period of non-secured loans to six years and that of secured loans to 10 years. The loans are open to people aged 20 to 45 who have job experience or have received training provided by accredited agencies.

■ BOOKS

Chain to close China outlets

Media multinational Bertelsmann said on Friday it would close its chain of 36 bookshops in China, effective from July 1, because the 21st Century retail chain had failed to turn a profit. The company said at its German head office in Guetersloh that it had announced the move the same day in Beijing to the 200 staff. The business had failed to achieve its targets, said Bertelsmann, which is both a book publisher and retailer as well as a major music and TV investor. Bertelsmann said it would continue to invest in China as one of its most important markets.

■ AVIATION

Guam-HK flights suspended

Continental Micronesia has cut flights linking Guam with Hong Kong and Bali, citing higher fuel costs and lower demand. Nonstop flights between this US territory and Hong Kong will be suspended on July 28, while Guam-Bali nonstop flights will end on Oct. 2, the company said. Flights between Saipan, the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Manila will also end on July 16. “The record fuel costs, combined with lower customer demand in these markets, led to the decision to suspend service,” Continental Micronesia CEO and president Mark Erwin said. Continental Micronesia will continue to offer daily service between Saipan and Manila through Guam, it said.

■ INVESTMENT

Singaporeans not saving

Nearly half of Singapore’s affluent residents have yet to start saving for their retirement, although they would like to stop working in their mid-50s, a poll said yesterday. Only 25 percent were turning to professionals for advice, preferring their family and friends instead, said the findings emerging from the Zurich International Life (ZIL) Wealth Monitor that were published in the Straits Times. While 69 percent said they would rather save for the future than spend excessively now, few were doing so. The 400 queried, including 200 expatriates, earned S$8,000 (US$5,970) to S$10,000 a month.

■ AUTOMAKERS

Chrysler raising prices

Chrysler LLC is raising prices by an average 2 percent on most of its remaining vehicles for this year in response to rising costs of steel and other raw materials. The increase will take effect on vehicles shipped to dealers starting tomorrow, and won’t affect vehicles already in dealers’ inventories. Chrysler spokesman Stuart Schorr says the increase will bring the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker’s total model year price increase in line with those of key competitors. Chrysler’s sales were down 25 percent last month.

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