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Mon, Jul 05, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Semiconductors

Chips sales rise 37%

Semiconductor sales worldwide surged in May to their highest level in three and a half years, helped by rising demand for cellular telephones that can take photos and use the Internet. May sales totaled US$17.3 billion, a jump of 37 percent from a year earlier and the most since December 2000, the California-based Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said in a statement. The gain from April was 2.1 percent, it said. The association expects "strong growth'' for the rest of the year," SIA president George Scalise said in the statement. The biggest increase, 54 percent, came in the Asia-Pacific region. European sales rose 29 percent and North America gained 27 percent, SIA said. Sales in Japan increased 25 percent.

■ LCD Panels

Sony, Samsung in talks

Sony Corp is in talks with joint venture partner Samsung Electronics Co about making larger liquid-crystal display panels used for televisions, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, citing Sony's vice president Ken Kutaragi. Sony, the world's second-largest consumer electronics maker, is building a plant with Samsung Electronics to make so-called seventh-generation sized LCD panels. The two companies may make larger eighth- generation panels, the newspaper said, citing Kutaragi. South Korea's S-LCD Corp, the two companies' joint venture, is aiming to start production of the seventh-generation panels in the three months ending June 30 next year. The panels will exceed the largest size currently produced at a Sharp Corp plant in Mie Prefecture, Japan.

■ Airlines

Thailand approves airport

Thailand's transport ministry has given the green light for a second airport on the resort island of Samui aimed at coping with surging tourist arrivals, according to a report yesterday. Promoting the popular island as a world-class tourist destination would require building a new airstrip to accommodate the 6,000 visitors per day expected during the high season, deputy transport minister Vichet Kasemthongsri said in The Nation newspaper. "The feasibility of building a second airport now depends on the environmental impact study of the past year," Vichet said in the English-language daily. The palm-fringed island in the Gulf of Thailand is currently served by a privately-run airport operated by domestic carrier Bangkok Airways.

■ Labor

S Korea to arrest unionists

Arrest warrants have been issued for five unionists leading a strike that has hamstrung the US-owned KorAm Bank for the past 10 days, police said yesterday. The management and the union held marathon talks overnight into early yesterday but the prospects of a breakthrough appeared gloomy as both sides stuck to their positions. "We obtained the warrants late Saturday from the Seoul district court," a police official told reporters. The five were accused of playing leading roles in illegally occupying the Seoul headquarters of the bank, police said. The strike is the longest such action by a bank union in South Korea's history. KorAm workers voted for an indefinite strike on June 25 that has shut down nearly 80 percent of KorAm's 225 branches, with about 2,600 of the 3,828 employees joining the walkout.

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