Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

VIETNAM

New airport planned

Lawmakers yesterday voted to build a controversial new US$16 billion airport near Ho Chi Minh City, as the country vies to become one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs. The project aims to ease airport congestion in the business hub and cater to an ambitious 100 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of cargo a year by 2050. If all goes to plan, the proposed airport in neighboring Dong Nai Province would turn the nation into a regional aviation hub.

? SMARTPHONES

Bacteria-free handset touted

BlackBerry might design a bacteria-free smartphone as it bids to become the secure mobile choice for the healthcare industry, chief executive John Chen (程守宗) said. “Healthcare workers have to be worried about one less thing to wipe down [with a bacteria-free handset],” Chen told reporters on Wednesday at a hospital north of Toronto where BlackBerry unveiled a clinical alerts pilot project. The Canadian mobile manufacturer is partnering with ThoughtWire and Cisco Systems Inc to provide nurses and doctors in a Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital unit with a portable messaging and alert system. BlackBerry is to provide the software and devices. A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that about 20 percent to 30 percent of germs transfer between a phone and a fingertip.

TEXTILES

Garment workers on strike

More than 300 Chinese workers at a garment factory that supplies international brands such as Uniqlo have been protesting for about two weeks what they say is a unilateral decision by the management to close down. The strike is one of more than 1,000 collective actions since January by Chinese workers, who are increasingly turning to group actions in fighting for their rights. Workers at Shenzhen Artigas Clothing & Leatherware said the management is forcing them to move to another factory and they demand a proper negotiation for the relocation. Officials at Lever Style Ltd, which manages Artigas, have refused to comment, while Uniqlo Co has issued a statement urging for a peaceful resolution. The Japanese retailer said it could terminate its contract with the supplier if the matter is unresolved. Workers said they would like to receive proper payouts, including back payments for social security, overtime work and unused holidays.

RETAIL

H&M shares fall

Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) said that the rising US dollar would have a “very negative” effect on garment costs in the second half, after the greenback drove second-quarter profitability to the lowest level in nine years. Gross margin narrowed to 59.4 percent in the three months through last month, Stockholm-based H&M said yesterday, missing the 59.8 percent estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg. The shares fell the most in more than a month in early Stockholm trading and were down 2.2 percent to 332.50 krona at 9:03am. The vendor of US$9.95 beach dresses and US$12.95 espadrille sandals said that its purchasing costs would be “substantially increased” because of the US dollar in the second half, as Asian garment costs are often linked to the greenback. That trend has hurt other apparel retailers like Associated British Foods PLC’s Primark chain. The currency has strengthened 7.9 percent against the euro and 5.5 percent against the krona this year.

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