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Sat, Mar 27, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Music Players

Mini iPod release delayed

Apple Computer Inc said Thursday it had postponed the overseas launch of the smaller version of its iPod music player, citing unexpectedly strong US demand since the product's launch last month. The Cupertino, California-based company said it pushed back the international release of the iPod mini from April to July because it needs more time to meet expected demand. "The iPod Mini is a huge hit with customers in the US and we're sure it will be the same worldwide once we can ramp up our supply in the July quarter," said Tim Cook, Apple's executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations, in a prepared statement.

■ Vending

Bread machine invented

Two Singapore inventors announced yesterday that they had developed a vending machine capable of dispensing enough bread to feed an army. The BreadPod -- the brainchild of Tan Suan Loke, 36, and Cheo Meng Soon, 49 -- is believed to be the first that can hold 156 loaves. "The machine can be customized to hold bagels, buns and French loaves," Cheo told the newspaper Streats. "All are sealed and changed daily so it's fresh." Tan, an engineer, and Cheo, who works in electronics and communications, formed VendPod, which specializes in vending machines.

■ Semiconductors

AMD in China venture

US semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has formed a strategic alliance with Beijing University Founder Group Corp in a bid to increase its market share in China, state press said yesterday. Under the agreement, Founder Group will make and sell computers based on AMD's 64-bit microprocessors, which allows processors to manage thousands of gigabytes in memory, the China Daily reported. "The partnership with Founder Group will enable us to integrate AMD's technological advantage with Founder's local resources and it will become a new start for our business in China," the newspaper quoted AMD corporate vice-president and China general manager Karen Guo as saying.

■ Televisions

Sales to peak this year

Growth in global television shipments will peak this year as the increase in demand for flat-panel screens begins to slow, starting next year, technology industry researcher Isuppli Corp said. Global shipments will rise 7.5 percent to 173 million units this year, the highest annual percentage increase until 2008, Isuppli said. Growth will slow to 5.3 percent next year and 4.4 percent in 2006, it said. By type, shipments of liquid crystal display TVs will more than double to 8.7 million units this year from 3.6 million last year and growth will begin to slow next year, rising 58 percent, it said.

■ US

Economy grew strongly

Economic growth in the US was 4.1 percent in annual terms during the final quarter of last year, according to figures released Thursday by the US Commerce Department. GDP grew at an annualized 8.2. percent in the third quarter. Combined, the two quarters produced the strongest half-year US growth in almost 20 years. "The economy grew solidly in the fourth quarter and appears to be doing so in the first quarter," Steven Wood, principal economist at Insight Economics in Danville, California, told the Bloomberg financial news agency. "

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