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Mon, Jun 28, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Airways

Jobhunters swamp Cathay

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, Asia's sixth-largest carrier, received 1,000 applications in Hong Kong for 300 available cabin-crew positions as it expands its services and fleet this year, the South China Morning Post reported. Job applicants waited in line from 6am Hong Kong time, the newspaper said, citing Shirley Au, cabin crew manager. Cathay Pacific and other Asian carriers are expanding as demand for travel rebounds from record lows during the region's outbreak of SARS last year. That may help Hong Kong's jobless rate. Unemployment fell in May to 7 percent, seasonally adjusted, down from 7.1 percent in April, according to the government.

■ Property

Tokai Lease Co to expand

Tokai Lease Co plans to invest 1 billion yen (US$9.3 million) in China to expand its business of leasing prefabricated buildings, Nikkei English News (NEN) said, citing company sources that were not identified. The company's Chinese subsidiary is forecasting sales to triple to 2.5 billion yen (US$$23.3 million) in the year ending March 2007, according to the report. The unit will spend 600 million yen adding three distribution centers in Nanjing, Hangzhou and Tianjin, raising the total number to nine, the report said. The company also plans to expand its lease assets business in the world's most populous nation where it currently has assets totaling just over 1 billion yen, NEN said. China's property prices jumped 11 percent in the first five months of the year as the economy expands.

■ Internet

Gates may start own blog

Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates may start a personal "blog," saying the Internet diaries are useful for sharing information, the Seattle Times reported. "And so if I do a trip report, say, and put that in a blog format, then all the employees at Microsoft who really want to look at that and who have keywords that connect to it or even people outside, they can find the information," the paper reported, citing a transcript of a speech Gates gave last month at a conference for chief executives. Mary Jo Foley, who writes a technology newsletter, said the Microsoft chairman and philanthropist soon will begin a blog that includes personal tidbits such as how he spent his recent vacation, the Times said. Programmers popularized blogs in the late 1990s by developing software that makes it easy to produce and update personal Web sites. Microsoft wouldn't confirm Foley's report but left open the possibility that Gates may start a blog, the paper said, citing company spokesman Mark Murray.

■ Financing

GE targets Australia

General Electric Co's Australian consumer finance unit may make more acquisitions as it targets 15 percent growth in its A$12 billion (US$8.4 billion) of assets this year, Tom Gentile, chief executive of the unit said. GE Consumer Finance's local unit looked at more than 50 potential deals in Australia last year and sees opportunities for growth in retailing and health care, Gentile told Nine Network television. General Electric, the world's largest company by market value, bought Westpac Banking Corp's AGC finance unit for A$1.65 billion in 2002, making it the biggest lender in Australia's non-bank consumer finance market. Gentile may also take on new partners to bolster the unit's 550,000 credit cards in Australia.

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