■ ComputersSales up nearly10%
Computer sales in the Asia-Pacific region outside Japan increased almost 10 percent to 8.5 million units in the September quarter, boosted by exceptionally strong orders in India, an industry report said. Sales also received a boost from healthy demand for mobile computers, mainly laptops, which grew 26.1 percent from a year ago, US tech-nology research house Gartner Inc said in a recent report. Demand for desk-based computers were up 6.5 percent, said the report which gave no absolute numbers. Lenovo (聯想), China's largest computer maker, sold the most computers in the region for the September quarter with 1.017 million units shipped, giving it an 11.9 percent market share in the region, Gartner said. Hewlett-Packard was second with 10.1 percent market share, having sold 861,000 computers. In third place was IBM which sold 672,000 computers, which is the equivalent of 7.9 percent share of regional sales.
Toy sellers slash prices
US toy retailers, including Toys "R" Us Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, have begun dropping prices in a bid to attract more shoppers heading into the holiday season, the Washington Post reported. Toys "R" Us, which has said it will seek a buyer for its 1,200 stores, and KB Toys Inc, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, are battling to survive by trying to beat prices offered by Wal-Mart and Target Corp, the Post said, citing surveys by industry analysts. Wal-Mart discounts of as much as 20 percent last year contri-buted to the toy retailers' demise, the Post said. In two separate surveys covering the same toys, Toys "R" Us undercut Wal-Mart this year, the Post said. KB Toys didn't appear to be keeping pace on discounts, the paper quoted the analysts as saying.
Beijing seeks `medium'
China will place more importance on developing medium-sized cities with populations between 200,000 to 500,000 people in order to generate jobs, state media said yesterday. In coming years, the govern-ment will invest more in infrastructure around such cities to draw residents and businesses there, Zhai Baohui, an official with the Ministry of Construction was quoted by the Xinhua news agency saying. The plan is aimed at creating jobs to alleviate pressures on the countryside which suffers from high under-employment due to surplus farm labor and dense populations. China's plan is shaped by international trends which show that while big cities have played an important role in world economic development and trade, high costs make it difficult for many residents to make a living, Zhai said.
DHL raises stake in India
DHL Worldwide Express, owned by Europe's biggest postal service Deutsche Post AG, said it will buy an additional 20 percent of Blue Dart Express Ltd, raising its stake in the Indian courier company. DHL will pay 1.66 billion rupees (US$36.8 million), or 350 rupees a share, to buy 4.75 million Blue Dart shares from shareholders, the company said in a statement to the Mumbai Stock Exchange. DHL on Nov. 8 agreed to pay 5.7 billion rupees to buy 68.2 percent of Blue Dart. Under India's exchange rules, acquirers of more than 15 percent in a company must offer to buy another 20 percent from shareholders.