DoCoMo bets on expansion
NTT DoCoMo Inc, the world's No. 2 mobile-phone company, raised its forecast for subscribers to its high-speed wireless Internet service, betting an expanding network and wider handset choice will lure customers. Tokyo-based DoCoMo aims to reach 1.5 million users of its FOMA service by the end of March 2004, increased from 1.46 million, President Keiji Tachikawa said at the Wireless Japan conference in Tokyo. The company had 534,800 FOMA subscribers last month, behind rival KDDI Corp's 8.6 million high-speed users. DoCoMo, whose high-speed user growth has lagged KDDI's for three consecutive months, said in April it will provide handset makers such as NEC Corp with about ?42 billion (US$356 million) in the current fiscal year to defray the cost of developing mobile phones with longer battery life and other features.
Singapore boosts exports
Singapore's exports expanded last month at the fastest pace in three months as Trek 2000 International Ltd and other manufacturers on the island got more US and Chinese orders. Exports rose 18.7 percent from a year earlier, after expanding 8 percent in May, according to International Enterprise Singapore. The median of forecasts by nine economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for exports to expand 12 percent. From a month earlier, non-oil domestic exports grew 11 percent, after adjusting for seasonal factors. The trade report is the earliest evidence that Singapore's US$88 billion economy is probably on the mend after it shrank an annual 12 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months. A virus outbreak that scared tourists away from Asia and emptied the island's hotels and malls contributed to the contraction, the worst on record.
Germany is stagnating
Siemens AG's chief economist, Bernd Stecher, said German economic growth will probably stagnate this year and won't exceed 1.5 percent next year, Boersen-Zeitung reported, citing an interview. Growth in Europe's largest economy could accelerate further in 2005 if the Doha round of negotiations at the WTO is successful and boosts global trade, Stecher told the newspaper. The forecasts assume that tax cuts brought forward to next year are ``solidly'' financed and that planned changes to labor laws and social welfare are implemented quickly, he said. Germany's US$2.2 trillion economy, which shrank in the first quarter, is heading for a third year of stagnation as the euro's appreciation against the dollar in the past year hurts exports.
Yahoo Japan doubles profits
Yahoo Japan Corp, the operator of Japan's most-used Web search directory, said fiscal first-quarter profit more than doubled, aided by a surge in business at its Internet auction site. Group net income at Yahoo Japan, a unit of Yahoo Inc, totaled ?4.54 billion (US$38 million), or ?4,818 a share, in the three months ended June 30, up from ?2.18 billion, or 9,259, a year earlier. Sales rose 84 percent to ?15.56 billion. Auction services have become the main engine of growth for Tokyo-based Yahoo Japan since the company started charging fees in April last year to list products for sale through its Web site.