Business Briefs


Sun, Jul 20, 2003 - Page 11

■ Telecom
China halts mobile licensing

China will stop issuing permanent manufacturing licenses for mobile phones and conduct inspections of all models in an effort to raise standards, the 21st Century Business Herald reported, citing unidentified officials with the country's Ministry of Information Industry. The government will step up enforcement of rules to ensure that each mobile phone made for sale in China has a corresponding production license, issued after the ministry inspects the model and certifies that it meets required standards, the report said. The effort is intended to stop license holders from selling their manufacturing rights to companies that may produce substandard phones, often leaving buyers of faulty phones without recourse.

■ Crime

Music graft case exposed

Hong Kong's anti-graft body arrested three people for alleged share price manipulation as the agency probed the music industry for possible bribery that allowed certain songs and singers to win awards. Those arrested included a solicitor who worked for two listed companies, a managing director of a brokerage firm, and a housewife, the Independent Commission Against Corruption said in a statement, without identifying any person or company. The agency began its investigation earlier this week and has so far arrested 28 people, including the chairman of the listed companies who was detained on Wednesday.

■ Electronics

Sony uses self-made chips

Sony Corp announced the first handheld computer to carry the company's own microprocessor, signaling dissatisfaction with existing chips from others. Sony's new CLIE personal digital assistant, due to ship in September, will also mark the company's entry into wireless communication. The new line will be optimized for audio files and video -- commercial movies as well as personal clips that Sony thinks people will want to share -- while draining as little battery power as possible, said Masanobu Yoshida, president of the company's handheld computing company, on Friday. Current Sony CLIEs have Intel microprocessors. Sony promises smoother video and longer battery life in the new models -- 16 hours for continuous playback of music or five hours for video. Performance is to double with an attachable battery pack. Sony already plans to make its own chip for its next-generation PlayStation game console.

■ Trade

China proposes Taiwan FTA

China has proposed a free trade pact with Taiwan that could be modeled on a recent deal with Hong Kong that eliminated many tariffs and gave wider access to Chinese markets. A Chinese official raised the proposal at the end of a seminar on ties between China and Taiwan on Friday, a Chinese-language newspaper said. The newspaper carried no details of the plan, but compared it to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement signed last month with Hong Kong, a move by Beijing to boost the territory's ailing economy. "Both sides of the Taiwan Straits could initially carry out joint research into the tourism and civil aviation industries, which have been hard hit by the outbreak of SARS," Wang Zaixi (王在希), deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, was quoted yesterday as saying. China imported nearly US$18 billion worth of goods from Taiwan in the first five months of the year, up more than 29 percent from a year earlier. Exports to Taiwan were US$3.3 billion, up more than 46 percent.