Best Buy closing PRC outlets
US retailer Best Buy said yesterday it would close its nine outlets in China, as well as its head office in Shanghai, making it the latest foreign operator to struggle in the fast-growing market. The consumer electronics giant said it would merge its China operations into its wholly owned subsidiary, Five Star Appliance Co. “It was a difficult decision to close the stores, but we are confident in our business strategy,” Best Buy Asia president Kal Patel said in a statement. Five Star will open nearly 50 stores in fiscal 2012, Best Buy said.
Alibaba executives quit
Alibaba.com Ltd (阿里巴巴) shares fell the most in more than a year after the company said an internal probe found more than 2,300 vendors used its Web site to defraud global buyers, prompting the chief executive officer to quit. A number of Alibaba employees were responsible for allowing sellers to create bogus storefronts, China’s biggest electronic-commerce company said on Monday. Chief executive David Wei (衛哲) and chief operating officer Elvis Lee (李旭輝), who were not accused of wrongdoing, resigned to take responsibility for the “systemic breakdown” of integrity, it said.
BP, Reliance sign deal
Britain’s BP said on Monday it would pay US$7.2 billion for a stake in Indian energy giant Reliance Industries’ oil assets. The deal could be worth up to US$20 billion, with later investment in key Indian oil and gas assets. BP will initially pay Reliance US$7.2 billion for a 30 percent stake in 23 Indian oil and gas blocks, most of which are along the country’s east coast. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and BP chief executive Robert Dudley signed the deal — India’s single-largest foreign direct investment — in London.
CS banker arrested in US
A Credit Suisse (CS) banker has been arrested in the US in connection with a federal investigation into the Swiss bank’s work with offshore accounts, the New York Times reported on Monday. The banker, Christos Bagios, was arrested in New York and transferred to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was charged with conspiracy and fraud, the report said, citing unnamed sources. It was unclear whether Bagios, a Greek citizen, was cooperating with the investigation, the report said.
Consumer sentiment rises
Consumer sentiment is tipped to rise slightly next month owing to wage increase expectations, according to a GfK survey released yesterday. GfK expects its household confidence index to reach 6 points next month, from a revised 5.8 points this month, a statement said. The Nuremberg-based research group said consumers felt salaries would increase as unemployment falls in the largest European economy.
BMW unveils new brand
German luxury carmaker BMW on Monday introduced its long-awaited new brand, BMW i, with two new models that will be equipped with electric and hybrid drive systems from 2013. The group said it had also created a venture capital company based in New York to “significantly expand its range of mobility services over the years ahead,” with an initial investment that is to total US$100 million. The initial rollout is planned for 40 US cities and 40 others worldwide.