■ Japan's economyCapital investment rising
Private-sector capital investment in Japan is expected to rise 10.4 percent in the year to March 2005 from the previous period, the first double-digit increase in 14 years, a survey said yesterday. The increase was 4.9 percentage points higher than companies' initial capital investment plans tabulated in May, underscoring that many firms have boosted their spending plans for the current fiscal year, said the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, which surveyed 1,675 companies. Among manufacturers, 15 of 17 sectors showed year-on-year growth in planned capital spending -- the top being electrical device producers with a 23.7 percent gain, the paper said. Capital investment by automakers is poised to be 16.8 percent higher on the year, with Toyota Motor Corp spending more than ¥1 trillion (US$9.5 billion) and Nissan Motor Co hiking its figure by a double-digit percentage, the paper said.
Yahoo boosts free storage
Yahoo Inc is more than doubling its limits on free e-mail storage in its latest move to combat two of its biggest rivals, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp. E-mail accountholders were to get up to 250 megabytes of free storage effective yesterday, up from the 100 megabytes previously offered by Sunnyvale-based Yahoo. The change follows Microsoft's recent decision to boost the free storage on its Hotmail service to 250 megabytes per account. Both Yahoo and Hotmail have dramatically increased their storage limits since Google rolled out its free e-mail service offering in April. The Google service, called Gmail, offers each accountholder up to 1,000 megabytes of e-mail storage.
Dow Jones announces deal
Dow Jones & Co, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, will purchase MarketWatch Inc for about US$519 million in a deal that would end a bidding war for the online financial news and information provider. If approved by shareholders, Dow Jones would gain a valuable foothold in the fast-growing Internet content and advertising sales businesses. MarketWatch, founded in 1997, operates two Web sites, CBS.MarketWatch.com and BigCharts.com. The company also produces the syndicated CBS MarketWatch weekend program and airs financial reports on CBS and the MarketWatch Radio Network. Last month, the company reported that its third-quarter net income more than doubled amid growth in online advertising revenue and its merger with another company, Pinnacor.
■ China's economy
Law to target multinationals
A planned anti-monopoly law in China has taken on new urgency amid complaints that legislators are moving too slowly to ensure that multinationals do not dominate the fledgling Chinese market, state press reported yesterday. The Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce are speeding up the legislation and have prepared a final report, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing ministry officials. They said that because multinational companies use unfair competition practices and command dominant positions through mergers, brand management and abundant capital, more must be done to protect local players. The report cited companies such Coca-Cola, Kodak, HP, Nokia and Motorola as having too strong a position in the Chinese market.