■ Mobile Phones
Motorola veteran to resign
Motorola Inc, the world's second-largest cellphone manufacturer behind Nokia, said on Wednesday that veteran executive Mike Zafirovski is resigning as president and chief operating officer at the end of the month. Zafirovski, 51, had been widely expected to leave after being passed over for the chief executive's job in December 2003 when the company replaced CEO Christopher Galvin with Ed Zander, the former president of Sun Microsystems Inc. Zafirovski is credited with a key role in Motorola's turnaround, dating to his stint as head of its cellphone business.
■ Auto Industry
BMW cuts selling prices
Germany luxury carmaker BMW has slashed prices on several sedan models in hopes of reinvigorating slumping sales in China, which fell 16 percent last year, state press reported yesterday. The company, which sold 15,500 cars last year in China, has cut prices on several of its 3- and 5-series sedans by as much as 14 percent or 50,000 yuan (US$6,000), the China Daily quoted Christoph Stark, president and chief executive officer of BMW China Group, as saying. "We are making the price adjustment to be more competitive and play a bigger role in China's car market," Stark said.
China investment soars
Foreign direct investment in China rose about 14 percent to a record last year as companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Coca-Cola Co expanded to tap rising demand in the world's fastest-expanding major economy. Investment increased to US$60.6 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said on its Web site. The pace of growth slowed from a 22 percent gain in the first 11 months of last year and accelerated from 1.4 percent in 2003. Contracted investment, a sign of future plans, jumped to US$153.5 billion last year. China, the world's seventh-largest economy, attracted US$53.1 billion in foreign investment in 2003, surpassing the US as the biggest recipient.
Infineon sees lower profit
Infineon Technologies AG, Europe's second-largest semiconductor company, said first-quarter profit and sales will be below analysts' forecasts because of inventory built-ups and the decline in the value of the US dollar. The company expects to have earnings before interest and taxes of 211 million euros (US$279.7 million) on sales of about 1.82 billion euros, the Munich-based company said in a statement to the Frankfurt exchange, citing preliminary figures. "Results were influenced by reduced volumes due to inventory corrections at customers and lower-than-expected manufacturing utilization," the company said in the statement.
Cisco to buy Airespace Inc
Cisco Systems late on Wednesday said it agreed to acquire privately held Airespace Inc for around US$450 million in stock and assumed options in a move to strengthen its offerings of wireless, local area networking products. San Jose-based Cisco expects the deal to close in its fiscal third quarter that ends on April 30. Airespace, also based in San Jose, is a leading maker of wireless equipment based on the so-called WiFi standard. Airespace will become part of Cisco's data center, switching and wireless technology group after the deal closes, Cisco said.