Automation to cost jobs
Automation of infotech infrastructure services and business processes is set to result in significant job losses in developed countries starting next year, a study forecast yesterday. More niche jobs will be on the line in parts of Asia, the US and Europe, according to research house Gartner Inc. The impact will be felt predominantly by IT departments in large companies and external service providers over the next two to 10 years. "The trend toward offshore services has monopolized attention in terms of job losses," Glanluca Tramacere, Gartner's IT services analyst, told The Business Times. The increasing reliance on highly automated infra-structures "will significantly reduce the need for manual procedures and direct involvement of the workforce," he added.
■ Mobile Phones
NEC eyeing 3G in China
Japanese electronics giant NEC Corp said yesterday it is seeking to build third-generation (3G) mobile phone infrastructure in China in a bid to gain a foothold in the world's biggest mobile phone market. NEC said it had been in talks with China Mobile Communications Corp, the country's biggest mobile phone operator, and China Telecommunications Corp to sell 3G equipment. Beijing is expected to allow local telecommunications firms to offer 3G services next year, the Nihon Keizai business daily said. "We are ready to enter the 3G market in China," said NEC spokes-woman Akiko Shikimori. NEC has set up a showroom for 3G ground stations and other equipment in Guang-zhou and plans to sell 3G-related equipment.
■ Flat Panels
Samsung ahead of schedule
Samsung Electronics Co, the world's largest maker of flat panels used in televisions and monitors, may begin running its newest liquid crystal display (LCD) plant ahead of schedule in anticipation of rising demand for LCD TVs. The Suwon, South Korea-based budgeted an initial 286.7 billion won (US$274 million) to build the 7-2 plant, located west of the current line that Samsung jointly invested in with Japan's Sony Corp, Samsung said yesterday in a state-ment. Smaller rival LG Philips LCD Co said on Dec. 1 it plans to spend a record 5.3 trillion won to build the world's largest LCD plant. Samsung said production from the plant, whose dimensions and capacity have not yet been decided, is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2006. Spokesman Kim Chung Hyun said in May that the company planned to begin production from a new plant, geared to make LCD TV panels measuring more than 40 inches diagonally, during the second half of 2006.
China reiterates yuan policy
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, reiterated yesterday its intent to maintain the basic stability of the yuan's exchange rate at "rational" and "balanced" levels. The monetary policy committee of the central bank, in its fourth quarter regular meeting, said it would further improve the exchange rate system and maintain the basic stability of the currency. China's currency has been pegged at around 8.28 to the dollar for the past decade but policy-makers have been coming under increasing pressure to revalue the yuan. Beijing has long stated it wants to make its foreign exchange regime more flexible but it has declined to give a specific timetable for its plans.