Trade deficit jumps
The country logged a bigger-than-expected trade deficit of ￥907.3 billion (US$11.5 billion) last month as the nation’s energy costs soared, official data showed yesterday. The ￥907.3 billion shortfall marked a record deficit for the month of May and was 5.4 percent higher than the ￥860.7 billion deficit in May last year. Last month’s imports jumped 9.3 percent to ￥6.14 trillion from a year earlier, largely due to rising purchases of foreign oil and gas. Exports, meanwhile, rose 10.0 percent to ￥5.23 trillion as shipments of automobiles and auto parts soared.
Hynix to buy US firm
South Korea’s SK Hynix said yesterday it would buy a US-based IT firm for US$248 million to strengthen the performance of its flash memory devices, used in smartphones and tablet computers. The firm said it would acquire Link_A_Media Devices Corp, a California-based company founded in 2004 which develops “controller” devices. These interlock with processors to help increase the speed and reliability of NAND flash memory. SK Hynix expects its competitiveness to be further strengthened by the acquisition of the US firm, “which has extensive expertise in controller technology and excellent engineering resources,” chief executive O.C. Kwon said in a statement.
RIM to cut more jobs
Research In Motion Ltd (RIM), the struggling maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, is cutting jobs as part of a broad cost-saving effort aimed at trimming US$1 billion in operating expenses. “RIM has committed to achieving significant efficiencies and operating cost reductions over the course of this fiscal year,” Tenille Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, said in an e-mail on Tuesday. “Headcount reductions are part of this initiative.” The shakeup may lead to job cuts of 2,000 to 3,000, assuming RIM tries to eliminate 30 percent of the targeted operating expenses through labor reductions, according to Sameet Kanade, an analyst at Northern Securities Inc in Toronto.
H&M posts profit surge
Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M), Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, posted the strongest profit increase in seven quarters as sales rose in the US and Asia. Net income gained 23 percent to 5.22 billion kronor (US$750 million) in the three months through May from 4.26 billion kronor in the year-earlier period, the Stockholm-based company said in a statement yesterday. That beat the 4.86 billion kronor average estimate of 14 analysts compiled by Bloomberg. H&M said it plans to add about 275 stores in the financial year through November, with China, the US and the UK being the largest areas of expansion. The retailer had 2,575 stores as of May 31.
Facebook changes app rules
Facebook is letting app developers charge subscription fees, in addition to existing one-time payments, for games and other applications on its site. Facebook Inc said on its developer blog on Tuesday that the subscription feature will be available next month. The changes open up a new revenue stream for developers as well as for Facebook, which takes a 30 percent cut from all payments on its site. People will still able to make payments on a one-time basis.