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Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ TravelSARS would cut into travel

Business travel could slump by as much as 90 percent should SARS return to Asia, even though many countries have safeguards in place to prevent any future out-breaks from spreading, an American Express report released yesterday said. The world's largest corporate travel agency released find-ings of a new survey on business travel patterns among 807 corporate clients after the spread of SARS earlier this year. "Our clients are saying that they owe a duty of care to their staff," said Kyle Davis, American Express vice president and general manager for the Asia-Pacific. "They will enforce strictly all World Health Organization travel advi-sories and allow very few exceptions," he said. The survey covered business travel originating from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Australia and New Zealand. Amex found it would took only three weeks for business travel between SARS-affected regions to fall by 90 percent.

■ Forex

Five-year plan for yuan

The People's Bank of China is considering boosting the yuan's value by 30 percent in five years, Japan's Jiji Press reported yesterday, citing unnamed financial sources in Beijing. The bank is considering revaluing the yuan in stages, but the timing and how much it will be revalued in the initial step has not been decided, the report said. But in the face of strong domestic opposition, Chinese author-ities are expected to move cautiously on the matter, the report said. The com-merce and other depart-ments are strongly opposed to the plan because the revaluation of the yuan will make Chinese exports more expensive, it said.

■ Computers

Fujitsu, Siemens link up

Japanese electronics maker Fujitsu formed a partner-ship with a subsidiary of Siemens AG of Germany yesterday to work together in global computer services. The agreement will allow Fujitsu to offer its Japanese customers better services in Europe and North America, where Tokyo-based Fujitsu does not have direct opera-tions, while Siemens Busi-ness Services will be able to take advantage of Fujitsu's strength in Asia, both sides said in a statement. The companies will work to-gether in consulting, sys-tems integration and infra-structure management, they said. Siemens Business Services ranks fifth in IT services in Europe and employs 34,500 workers worldwide, according to the company.`

■ Automobiles

Chrysler mulls job cuts

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit is considering cutting 4,500 jobs as the US division of the world's fifth-largest carmaker tries to post an operating profit this year, a company spokesman said. A decision hasn't been made yet about the possible reductions, said Thomas Froehlich, a spokesman in Stuttgart, Germany. He was responding to a report in the Financial Times that cited chief financial officer Man-fred Gentz. Chrysler is aiming to boost US sales and lower costs after losing US$1.1 billion in the second quarter because it spent more than expected on rebates and loans to sell its Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep-brand cars and trucks. The com-pany last week said it would offer early-retirement buyouts to skilled trades union workers to cut costs as part of a new four-year contract with the United Auto Workers. Skilled-trades positions include electricians, toolmakers and machine-repair specialists.

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