Inflation rate rises
The rate of inflation in Europe’s biggest economy continued to climb last month to reach the highest level seen this year, final data showed yesterday. The cost of living rose 1.9 percent last month on a 12-month basis, up from 1.8 percent in June, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. The pick-up in the rate of inflation was driven primarily by rising food prices, Destatis said. Using the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), the European Central Bank’s inflation yardstick, the rate of inflation was also measured at 1.9 percent last month.
Service fees to be cut
Authorities will reduce service fees charged by 14 government departments, the country’s top economic planning agency said yesterday, as part of Beijing’s efforts to cut red tape and promote reforms. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said charges would be cut for 20 services, effective on Oct. 1. The moves should save companies and individuals about 200 million yuan (US$32.7 million) a year, the NDRC estimated in a statement issued jointly with the Ministry of Finance.
Apple prepares for launches
Apple Inc is preparing for a busy close to the year with the debut of new iPhone and iPad models, seeking to retain its position in the increasingly crowded smartphone and tablet markets. After having minimal product introductions since last year, Apple will unveil a new iPhone at a Sept. 10 event, a person familiar with the plans said. New iPad models, including an iPad with a thinner body design and an iPad Mini with a high-resolution screen will be unveiled later, two people said.
Domino’s expanding in Asia
Australia’s Domino’s Pizza Enterprises yesterday said it is expanding into Asia, taking a 75 percent stake in the fast-food brand’s Japanese business for ￥12 billion (US$123.4 million). The Brisbane-based company will acquire the interest in Domino’s Pizza Japan, which has that country’s third-largest pizza delivery chain, by partnering with current owner Bain Capital Domino Hong Kong. The purchase, which will be funded via a combination of debt and equity financing, is expected to be completed before the end of next month.
Yum sales drop in China
KFC parent Yum Brands Inc says a key sales figure for its China unit fell 13 percent last month, which is slightly worse than the drop the previous month. The company, based in Louisville, Kentucky, had reported a 10 percent drop in June as it worked to recover from the double whammy of a supplier controversy over its chickens and a bird flu scare. That had suggested a recovery, given the 19 percent drop in May. Yum says it still expects sales at established restaurants to continue recovering over the course of the year and to turn positive in the fourth quarter. The company is the biggest Western fast-food operator in China.
Facebook to purchase MT
Facebook has agreed to acquire Mobile Technologies, a firm specializing in voice translation software, the two companies said on Monday, without providing financial details of the transaction. Founded in 2001, Mobile Technologies is best known for developing the Jibbigo mobile application for speech-to-speech language translation.