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Thu, Jul 01, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ IPR

Sharp sued over LCDs

A former Sharp Corp employee has sued the Japanese consumer electronics maker for Y500 million (US$4.6 million) over key technology he claims to have developed for use in flat-screen products, reports said yesterday. The suit was filed Tuesday with the Osaka District Court. The former researcher claims to have invented technology that improved the efficiency of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) while cutting their cost and power usage, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said. The man in his sixties was paid ?770,000 after his retirement for his extra work while the firm is expected to see profits of ?96 billion from LCD patents based on his work before they expire in 2009, the suit claimed.

■ China

Ex-GITIC chief sentenced

Capping one of China's biggest financial debacles, a court sentenced the former general manager of the bankrupt Guangdong International Trust and Investment Corp (GITIC) to 14 years in prison on Mon-day, official media reported yesterday. Huang Yantian was found guilty of fraud and illegal investments that contributed to the trust's multibillion-dollar collapse, the state-run China Daily reported. GITIC closed down in October 1998 after defaulting on more than US$4.7 billion in debts owed to foreign and domestic institutions. Huang was found responsible for causing at least 900 million yuan (US$109 million) in losses at the trust, the China Daily said.

■ Semiconductors

Hynix in talks on plant

French-Italian semiconduc-tor maker STMicroelec-tronics said on Tuesday that it is in talks with South Korean partner Hynix Semiconductors about building a join fabrication plant in China. The com-pany said a decision on whether to build the semi-conductor factory with Hynix would be made within six to eight weeks. STMicro and Hynix already have a joint venture for NAND flash memory chip production. Hynix said three months ago that it was having talks with STMicro about a Chinese plant.

■ Malaysia

Extra security for cigarettes

Malaysian tobacco firms were introducing security marks on cigarette packs yesterday under a govern-ment plan to curb sales of contraband tobacco. British-American Tobacco (Malaysia), which controls 67 percent of the country's cigarette market, expects 40 million ringgit (US$10.6 million) in extra costs annually from the marks, analysts said. The costs would add about 10 percent to the company's yearly operating expenses, but marks may help it and other companies raise sales of duty-paid products and increase their market share, said Edward Ong, an analyst for ING Financial Markets.

■ Outsourcing

Hallmark signs job deal

Hallmark Cards Inc said it has signed a seven-year, US$230 million deal to outsource some of its high-tech jobs. The deal announced Tuesday will keep the jobs, at least initially, at the firm's Kansas City headquarters. Affiliated Computer Services, based in Dallas, will set up a tech-nical services center that will employ 145 former Hallmark workers, who will provide technical support, network programming and other computer assistance. As part of the deal, the145 jobs cannot be shifted to ACS's operations in India.

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