■ Asian Banking
Corporate lending lags
Asian banks are lagging behind their Western rivals in some regional corporate lending activities in terms of quality of products and services offered, a survey said yesterday. US financial giant Citigroup and British-based HSBC and Standard Chartered collectively account for 49.3 percent of the primary transaction banking relationships segment as at the end of last month, Sydney-based banking research firm East and Partners said in the survey. Their share of this segment of the corporate lending market was 48.6 percent six months ago, it said. "They [foreign banks] are ahead at the moment," Paul Bartholomew. "They can offer the kind of level of products and services that large corporates expect ... they are sort of better in areas like Internet banking."
Airbus proposals examined
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), parent of aircraft maker Airbus, said on Monday it would re-examine proposals to launch the A350, which would rival Boeing's 7E7, on Dec. 10 but would not necessarily make a decision then. But an Airbus spokeswoman later said that "the [EADS] board fully supports the proposals brought by the Airbus management ... Final decisions will be made at the 10th December regular board meeting," she said. But an EADS spokesman quickly countered that timeline. "The board will not necessarily make a decision on Dec. 10," he said. "It will proceed with a re-examination of the matter."
Firms detail `cell' processor
Technology giants IBM, Sony and Toshiba on Monday released the first details of their new "cell" processor, which they said will bring the performance level of supercomputers to personal computers and other home devices like high-definition television. The processor, which is to enter production next year and was set to appear first in Sony's next-generation videogame consoles in 2006, has been in development for four years and is based on a 64-bit processor core that will allow it to perform 16 trillion calculations a second. The processor, code-named Cell, will handle vastly more memory than today's consumer chips as well as enable hardware-based copyright protection and allow multiple operating systems to run at the same time, the companies said in a joint statement. Such abilities would give it a leading position in the race to create a machine that could seamlessly handle all home computing and entertainment tasks in the coming years, representing a significant challenge to the likes of Intel and Microsoft.
■ Auto Industry
Renault to invest in S Korea
French auto giant Renault said yesterday it will invest some US$570 million in South Korea over the next three years as part of its global strategy to become a key player in Asia. Renault chairman Louis Schweitzer announced the investment plan in Seoul at the launch of a new sedan, the SM7, made by Renault Samsung Motors, the group's South Korean affiliate. "The investment for the next three years will be 600 billion won [US$573 million] or 200 billion won a year," Schweitzer told a press conference. Renault's presence in South Korea is key to the French firm's expansion strategy in the fast growing Asian market, he said. According to reports, Renault will construct a 200 billion-won engine plant in Busan.