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Tue, Dec 23, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Development

China cuts illegal zones

China plans to sharply cut the number of industrial parks and development zones -- more than half of which are illegal -- in a crackdown on land allocation practices, the China Daily said yesterday. Of the country's 3,837 development zones and industrial parks, only 1,251 were approved by the State Council -- China's cabinet -- or a provincial government, the newspaper said. "We know there are serious land distribution abuse problems involved in those zones and parks and we have devoted this year to figuring out how serious this problem is," it quoted Zhang Xinbao, director of the Ministry of Land and Resources' supervision bureau, as saying. "Next year is the time for action," he said without elaborating.

■ Chipmaking

NEC to spend more

NEC Electronics Corp, the world's largest maker of chips for mobile-phone displays, will increase capital spending by 12 percent in the fiscal year starting April 1 to boost production of chips for cellphones and DVD players, Jiji Press reported. NEC Electronics will spend 110 billion yen (US$1.02 billion), compared with 98 billion yen this year, Jiji said, without saying from whom it obtained the information. NEC Electronics spokesman Seiji Sakai declined to confirm the report, saying the company will announce its capital investment plan in April when it releases this year's earnings. The company, which is based in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, has said it will start mass production at a new chip factory in the northern prefecture of Yamagata by the end of next year. The line will have a monthly capacity to make 4,000 of the silicon wafers onto which chip circuits are etched.

■ IRAQ

Aussie company wins bid

An Australian company has won a A$4 million (US$2.95 million) contract to help build power plants in Iraq, trade minister Mark Vaile said yesterday. The Snowy Mountains Engineering Co (SMEC) will help restore existing plants and build new ones in three northern Iraq regions, he said. "SMEC's work will provide millions of Iraqis with what so many of us take for granted, heat and light at the flick of a switch," Vaile said in a statement. SMEC is the latest Australian company to benefit from US contracts awarded to countries that supported the US-led Iraq war. Australia committed troops to the military campaign and is sharing in the US$18.6 billion that the US-led civil administration in Iraq has earmarked for reconstruction.

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