Famous sites to reopen
Three of the most renowned US National Parks — the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty — are to reopen in coming days after state governors reached deals despite an ongoing government shutdown. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard said in separate statements on Friday that they had reached agreements with the federal government to reopen their respective parks between yesterday and tomorrow. The emblematic parks are among 401 National Park Service attractions across the US that shut their gates to fee-paying visitors on Tuesday last week after the US Congress and the White House failed to reach agreement on raising the nation’s debt limit.
Assess exchange rates: US
The US urged the IMF on Friday to assess exchange rates and governments’ interventions in the exchange market, pointing to China’s controls on the yuan. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew said in a statement to the IMF’s steering board, the International Monetary and Financial Committee, that world growth is still being held back by insufficient expansion of domestic demand in countries that run strong trade and capital surpluses. “It is not enough for domestic demand growth to rise in surplus countries. Rather, domestic demand growth must exceed GDP growth,” he said. Lew said one issue involved in boosting domestic consumption in surplus countries — the leading one of which is China — is moving toward market-set exchange rates.
GM to debut electric Cadillac
General Motors Co (GM) will go head-to-head with electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc starting in January, when a plug-in version of its luxury Cadillac brand will go on sale. GM said on Friday its 2014 Cadillac ELR plug-in coupe will have a starting price of almost US$76,000, including delivery fees — putting it in competition with the similarly priced Tesla Model S. US federal tax credits could reduce the cost of the ELR to consumers by up to US$7,500. Similar to the Volt, the ELR has an electric driving range of about 56km on the highway and a gasoline engine that gives it a total driving range of more than 483km. The ELR will bring GM in more direct competition with Tesla’s all-electric Model S, one of the top-selling pure electric cars. The four-door Model S starts at US$70,000.
ZTE aims for top three
ZTE Corp (中興), the third-largest smartphone vendor in China, plans to be in world’s top three handset companies in three years as it increases investment in products, branding and distribution channels, ZTE executive vice president He Shiyou (何士友) said in an interview in Taipei yesterday. ZTE, which became one of the world’s top 10 smartphone vendors by selling handsets for less than US$100, is looking to costlier devices for sales growth. The company plans to get 60 percent of total income from mid and high-end smartphones, priced at more than 1,500 yuan (US$245), within three years, He said. In the US, ZTE last week became a sponsor of basketball’s Houston Rockets to boost the Chinese firm’s profile as it sells two new high-end devices there.