iPad owners richer, older
US owners of iPads tend to be older and richer than people who buy rival tablet computers, according to a study released on Friday by NPD Group. The industry trackers Tablet Adoption and Insights Report showed that more than 40 percent of iPad owners had household incomes of US$100,000 or more, with only 26 percent of those owning non-Apple tablets rising into that bracket. Apple’s cheapest iPad costs US$499. Most of its rivals offer cheaper devices with Amazon’s Kindle Fire selling for just US$199. As tablet computers become more mainstream, the demographic disparity is lessening because of younger people with lower incomes getting the devices, according to NPD.
UPS persists with TNT bid
United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) is pressing ahead with talks to buy TNT Express NV after Europe’s second-largest package-delivery company rejected a US$6.43 billion takeover offer. The “highly conditional” bid of 9 euros a share, 42 percent more than Friday’s closing price in Amsterdam, was turned down by TNT’s supervisory and executive boards, the Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based company said in a statement. UPS confirmed that discussions were continuing. “This is a low enough offer that UPS could write a check for it in a heartbeat,” said Kevin Sterling, a BB&T Capital Markets analyst in Richmond, Virginia. “The euro keeps weakening and TNT’s position keeps weakening, so TNT isn’t exactly negotiating from a position of strength here.” Acquiring TNT would extend the European reach of Atlanta-based UPS, which is already the world’s largest package-delivery company.
Spectrum plan approved
The US Congress approved legislation on Friday that would free up the spectrum for next generation wireless networks to meet the surging growth of mobile devices. A bill passed by the House and the Senate extending payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits also called for the Federal Communications Commission to auction the wireless spectrum for commercial use. Wireless carriers and technology companies have been demanding access to more of the airwaves to allow them to keep pace with the explosive growth of Internet-connected smartphones and tablet computers. The auction plan calls for the sale of some spectrum that is currently used by television broadcasters. Some of the proceeds from the sale would be used to build a nationwide network for police, fire and other emergency services.
Central bank to cut RRR
The People’s Bank of China said yesterday it would cut commercial banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 0.50 percentage points from Friday onward to ease restrictions on lending, state media reported. The reduction by the central bank in the amount banks must hold in reserve will decrease the ratio for most large banks to 20.5 percent, effectively increasing the amount they can lend, Xinhua news agency reported. The move is a sign the government is continuing to ease restrictions put in place to curb surging inflation and property prices, and follows the central bank’s last cut, which took effect on Dec. 5 last year. “This RRR cut is very good news to the market. It will help release liquidity and allow banks to extend more loans,” HSBC economist Ma Xiaoping (馬小平) told Dow Jones Newswires. “The cut reflects that stimulating economic growth is currently the government’s priority,” Ma said.