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Sat, Jul 24, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Camcorders

Digital shipments rising

Sony Corp, Canon Inc and other makers of digital camcorders will see world-wide shipments exceed 15 million units in 2008, from 92.9 million last year, mar-ket researcher IDC said. Global shipments of digital camcorders will reach 15.1 million in 2008, up 63 per-cent from last year, said Christopher Chute, senior analyst at Massachusetts-based IDC. Digital cam-corder sales are growing

as consumers shift from analog models for the increased resolution from digital models. Higher spending by consumers in the US and Europe is also driving sales of digital camcorders. Global ship-ments of consumer cam-corders including digital and analog reached 13 million units last year. Last year 71 per-cent of global camcorder shipments were digital and 29 percent analog. Sony last year was the leading supplier of digital camcorders, with a 44 percent share of the global market. Canon was No.2, with a 19 percent share, according to IDC.

■ Aviation

New budget carrier takes off

Nok Air, Thailand's newest budget airline, took to the skies for the first time yesterday, a spokesman said. The inaugural flight of Nok Air, partly owned by Thai Airways International, flew from Bangkok to the northern city of Udon Thani, a company spokes-man said. It also began services to Chiang Mai and Hat Yai. It will offer 20 flights daily until October, when it will begin flying to Phuket, the spokesman said. Nok Air is leasing two Boeing 737-400 planes and cockpit crews from Thai Airways, which owns a 39 percent share of the airline, the official said. Nok Air is the third no-frills carrier to set up in Thailand. Orient Thai Airlines last year set up 1-2-GO, and Thai Air Asia, a joint venture with Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia, began flights within the kingdom in February.

■ Banking

Sojitz gets bailed out

Japanese lenders Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group and UFJ Holdings and others will bail out ailing borrower Sojitz Holdings ahead of the banks' planned merger next year, reports said yesterday. The banks, along with Swiss bank UBS, will inject about ?250 billion to ?300 billion (US$2.3 billion to US$2.7 billion) in capital into the major trading firm in exchange for preferred shares, the Nihon Keizai and Yomiuri dailies reported. Sojitz, formed in April last year from the merger of Nissho Iwai and Nichimen, is one of UFJ's largest borrowers and rebuilding its finances is one of UFJ's major priorities before merging with MTFG, reports said. Sojitz will aim to cut its debts by ?500 billion to ?1 trillion by March 2007 in the new plan. The firm forecast a ?50 billion net profit in the year to next March, but an expected ?250 billion write-down may push it into the red, the Nihon Keizai said.

■ Telecoms

AT&T shifts focus

AT&T said on Thursday that it would shift focus to business telephone services and to emerging technol-ogies such as the voice over Internet protocol (VOIP), which lets people call each other over the Internet. "As a result of recent changes in regulatory policy governing local telephone service, AT&T will no longer be competing for residential local and standalone long-distance customers," it said in a statement. AT&T said it would still service existing residential customers but stop investing in gaining new clients.

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