China tightens rules, fines
China's banking regulator will be able to impose fines of more than 2 million yuan (US$240,000) on financial institutions who breach regulations, part of moves to bring the industry in line with international standards. Under new rules to standardize punishments for rule-breakers, the regulator can also impose fines of more than 100,000 yuan on individuals, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement on its Web site. The rules are effective from Feb. 1. The regulator's provincial branches will be able to impose fines of more than 1 million yuan, while sub-branches can set fines of more than 500,000 yuan.
Corning `did not dump'
China's Ministry of Commerce has determined that Corning Inc didn't "dump" optical fiber into the Chinese market, the company said Monday. The 16 percent dumping levies on imports to China, which were in effect since June 16, were removed from Corning products effective immediately. Corning said the Chinese ministry determined Jan. 1 that the difference between Corning's US and Chinese prices was less than the threshold for dumping. However, the ministry ruled that optical-fiber imports from the US, Korea and Japan collectively hurt the domestic Chinese fiber industry.
Japanese firm buys Menzies
A Japanese financial group said on Monday it had acquired British hotel operator Menzies, which runs 14 properties around the country, for ?120 million (US$228 million). Nikko Principal Investments Limited, the European merchant banking arm of Tokyo-based Nikko Cordial Corp, said it was buying the four-star chain as a potential acquisition vehicle. In a statement released in London, Nikko said it intended to build on Menzies' successful growth and to use it as "a platform for further consolidation in the UK hotel market."
■ Flat Panels
Largest OLED developed
South Korea's Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday it had developed the world's largest organic light emitting diode (OLED) display panel for high-definition televisions. The 21-inch OLED panel outperforms existing liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in brightness, slimness and power efficiency, the firm said. Samsung, one of the world's top electronics companies, said its new OLED display panel, an upgrade on its own 15-inch product, uses technology that can be easily mass-produced on the company's existing LCD production lines.
HK still most `free' economy
Hong Kong was ranked the world's freest economy yesterday for the 11th consecutive year by the US-based Heritage Foundation. The former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997, won the accolade in the 2005 Index of Economic Freedom put out by the Washington-based think tank. Singapore and Luxembourg were ranked second and third in the index, which is compiled by the foundation in collaboration with the Wall Street Journal. Hong Kong was praised by the foundation for its duty-free port, low level of government intervention, low inflation, low barriers to capital flows and foreign investment, and low level of regulation.