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Tue, Feb 22, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Airlines

China to license private firm

China's aviation regulator is expected to issue a licence soon to Okay Airways Co, making it the first private airline authorized to operate there, state media reported yesterday. Okay Airways is based out of Binhai International Airport in Tianjin, a city of 10 million people about 100km southeast of Beijing, although its headquarters is in the capital. After receiving a licence from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Okay Airways was expected to begin services in early March, the state-run newspaper China Daily reported. China began easing controls on private investment in airlines early last year. Earlier reports said Okay would start out operating six Boeing 737 aircraft. Okay Airways was expected to mainly operate air cargo and express services, passenger charter flights and ground distribution services, it said. The airline intends to offer low-cost services with greater flexibility than China's larger state-run carriers, the report said.

■ Semiconductors

Intel selling 64-bit chips

Intel Corp, the world's biggest computer-chip maker, began selling versions of its flagship Pentium processor capable of running software that processes data in chunks twice as large as those used in today's personal computers. The company, whose microprocessors are the main engines in more than 80 percent of the world's PCs, is selling the chips for as much as US$999, Santa Clara, California-based Intel said in a statement. Companies such Microsoft Corp, the world's largest software company, are developing programs that process data in 64-bit chunks. That lets the programs manipulate data faster than existing 32-bit software and requires 64-bit-capable chips.

■ Semiconductors

Toshiba to lift investment

Japan's Toshiba Corp said yesterday it plans to raise capital spending on chipmaking for the current fiscal year by 13 per cent from a previous plan to a record ?203 billion (US$1.9 billion). The leading Japanese appliance maker said its planned increase in chip investment is to make more chips with large-capacity memory that are used for digital cameras and cellphones with camera functions. Although chip demand continues to fall due to fluctuations in digital electronics sales, Toshiba sees this sector turning around starting this autumn, experts said. They said by expanding production ahead of time, Toshiba is aiming for sharp earnings growth when demand recovers.

■ Internet

Yahoo Japan to sell music

Yahoo Japan Corp, which operates Japan's most-visited Web portal, will start a fee-based music download site as early as this month with distributor Label Gate Co, a company spokesman said. The Web site will offer about 73,000 of the more than 100,000 songs available on Label Gate's download service, and allow Yahoo Japan users to pay for the music using Yahoo Wallet and other settlement services, said Masanori Satake, a spokesman at Tokyo-based Yahoo. Closely held Label Gate was set up by 18 domestic record companies including Columbia Music Entertainment Inc, Universal Music KK and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. The songs on the Yahoo Web site will cost about ?150 to ?370 each, in line with prices on Label Gate's service.

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