Internet plans approved
China United Telecom-munications Corp, China's second-biggest mobile-phone company, received the government's approval to open 700 Internet cafes nationwide, the Shanghai Morning Post reported, citing unidentified company officials. The company plans to open the Internet cafes within this year and may charge customers less than cafe operators who rent the network from China United because it will use its own broadband network, the paper said. China Telecommunications Group Corp and China Netcom Communication Group Corp, two of the country's biggest fixed-line operators, have also applied to the government to open Internet cafes in the country, the paper said.
Arrow will cut 400 jobs
Arrow Electronics Inc, the world's biggest distributor of computer parts, will eliminate 400 jobs, a 3 percent cut, to save US$25 million a year. Reductions will be made at various sites, with related costs of US$12 million to US$15 million, Melville, New York-based Arrow said in a statement. About half of the expense will be booked in the second quarter, and a majority of the savings will occur at the beginning of the third, the 12,000-employee company said. Last month, Arrow reported a first-quarter loss because of debt repayments and said predicting demand has been tough. The company resells, stores and makes computer and communications gear for companies including Intel Corp, Motorola Inc and Texas Instruments Inc Arrow has shed some units to cut costs and use North American plants more efficiently.
■ Free trade
Brazil, US express optimism
Brazil and the US are confident they can resolve differences over the creation of a trade zone uniting North and South America, top negotiators said Wednesday. Seeking to quash doubts they may fail to meet a 2005 deadline to seal an agreement, US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Brazil's foreign minister predicted the target would be met. "I am leaving with a positive sense," Zoellick said after two days of talks with top advisers to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Foreign Minister Celso Amorin added: "We're satisfied that the US values our partnership." Zoellick and Amorin did not disclose details of negotiations held Wednesday, but Zoellick said he discussed ways to reduce tariffs on clothing and textiles over five years during a meeting Tuesday with Finance Minister Antonio Palocci.
Sanyo to build Haier phones
Sanyo Electric Co, the world's largest maker of cellular-phone batteries, started supplying camera phones to Qingdao Haier Co, China's biggest appliance maker, as part of a collaboration pact agreed on last year. The phones will be sold under the Haier brand, which is better known in China than Sanyo, said Akihiko Oiwa, spokesman for the Osaka-based company. Sanyo will make foldable handsets equipped with cameras and color displays at its factory in Tianjin, China, he said. Sanyo and Haier, which is based in the northeastern port city of Qingdao, said last January they would use each other's sales channels to take advantage of their domestic brand recognition. Sanyo is supplying handsets for sale under the Haier brand to test Chinese demand for more expensive phones with advanced features.