Intel, Philips in media tie-up
Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, and Dutch electronics group Philips are setting up a joint initiative to market home entertainment systems with Intel chips, Intel said yesterday. The US chipmaker will supply a processor, chipset and software for a Philips media center that will allow customers to store and share photos, music and video in a single system, as they promote digital products for the home. The PC-based Philips Showline Media Center will include a card that allows users to watch two TV channels at once, as well as a 250-gigabyte hard disk drive for storing music and photo collections and a recorder for DVDs and CDs.
■ Oil industry
Dispute costs Shell US$9.2m
Oil Giant Shell has been forced to pay out US$9.2 million in legal fees and make changes to its corporate governance structure as part of a settlement with disgruntled shareholders. The case pending in New York and New Jersey courts followed the statement from Shell last January that it had overstated its oil and gas reserves in filings with the US regulator, the securities and exchange commission. Shell still faces a much larger and potentially damaging class action suit from a wider group of shareholders as well as investigations by the operator of the Dutch stock market, Euronext, and a state regulator in California.
China sees export slowdown
China's top development and planning body estimates the country's rapid export growth will begin to slow in the second half of the year as global demand weakens overall, state press said yesterday. "It is expected that significant changes will take place [in export growth] in the second half of this year or in the first half of next year at the latest," the National Development and Reform Commission was cited as saying by the China Securities Journal. It said the country's exports in July rose 30 percent year-on-year to US$65.58 billion -- the lowest monthly increase this year and 5.1 percentage points lower than a year earlier. The growth decline is partly due to a weakening in global demand and China's recent cancellation of tax rebates on high resource-consuming products. Actual foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country fell for four consecutive months. In July, actual FDI fell 4.9 percent from a year ago to US$4.53 billion, the report said.
PRC to legalize direct selling
New legislation will make China's scandal-ridden direct selling industry legal after it was banned nearly a decade ago, a state press report said yesterday. The State Council has laid down a set of stringent rules that will be implemented on Dec. 1 permitting companies to sell directly to the consumer, the Information Times reported. However, to set up a business direct sellers must pay a minimum 20 million yuan (US$2.46 million) deposit and have registered capital of at least 80 million yuan, a Ministry of Commerce official was quoted as saying. Maximum commissions for individuals engaged in direct sales will be 30 percent, up from 25 percent previously before direct sales were banned in 1998, it said. China outlawed direct sales due to widespread pyramid schemes and other fraudulent activities, which in course forced major cosmetic firms like Avon and Amway to sell through retail outlets.