Bank blocks virtual credit
The Chinese central bank blocked plans by Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) and an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) to offer virtual credit cards, a person with knowledge of the matter said, as the Chinese government moves to tighten restrictions on online financial products. The People’s Bank of China issued a notice to its Shenzhen and Hangzhou branches to halt virtual cards as well as payment operations using so-called quick response codes, citing safety risks, the person said, declining to be identified because the information is private. The virtual cards would have allowed consumers to buy goods from online retail Web sites on credit.
Facebook begins video ads
Facebook Inc on Thursday began weaving video ads into people’s news feeds at the leading online social network in a move to grab revenue from the lucrative television market. Called premium video ads and in testing since the end of last year, the spots are being integrated into accounts of its more than 1.2 billion members, product marketing manager Susan Buckner said in an online post. The 15-second commercials play automatically when they pop up in news feeds and are designed for advertisers who want to reach large audiences with sight, sound and motion, according to Facebook.
Ferrari plans Spanish park
Italian luxury sports carmaker Ferrari announced on Thursday it will open a 100 million euro (US$138.6 million) amusement park in 2016 with rides and a five-star hotel in Spain, its first such venture in Europe. Spread over 75,000m2 within the PortAventura resort near Barcelona, Ferrari Land will feature Europe’s highest and fastest “vertical accelerator,” a driving simulator, restaurants, and a 250-room hotel, it said. Ferrari, part of Fiat Group Automobiles, already operates another theme park in Abu Dhabi called Ferrari World, which opened in 2010 and has a roller coaster touted as the fastest in the world.
Inflation slows in Germany
The rate of inflation in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, inched lower last month, official final data showed yesterday. The cost of living rose by 1.2 percent on a 12-month basis last month, compared with 1.3 percent in January, Germany’s federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. Using the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices, the European Central Bank’s inflation yardstick, inflation in Germany stood at 1 percent last month, down from 1.2 percent in January. The European Central Bank defines price stability as increases in the harmonized index of close to but just below 2 percent.
Steelmaker names CEO
An engineering expert yesterday took the helm of South Korea’ steel giant POSCO promising an overhaul of the company as it suffers falling profits owing to global economic uncertainty and competition from Chinese rivals. Shareholders and board of directors at the world’s No. 5 steelmaker approved Kwon Oh-joon, a 64-year-old metal engineer, as its eighth CEO yesterday, putting him in charge until March 2017. POSCO said in January that net profit for last year plunged 43.2 percent to 1.35 trillion won (US$1.25 billion) as a slowdown in China and economic woes in Europe sapped demand and caused a global glut. POSCO earns about 40 percent of its sales overseas.