■ Vehicle safety
Motorcycle airbag produced
Honda Motor Co has developed airbags for motorcycles that the Japanese automaker says is the first of its kind in the world for production motorcycles. The airbag, which inflates after sensors detect an oncoming crash, will be available on the new Gold Wing motorcycle that will go on sale in spring next year in the US, Honda said yesterday. The airbag opens in front of the riders and reduces the speed at which they get thrown off the motorcycle, lessening injuries when they hit the road or another vehicle, it said.
China, India to drive growth
Developing Asian economies should grow by 6.6 percent this year despite surging oil prices that will clip prospects in Southeast Asia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday. China and India will carry the region over the next two years with international trade and financial conditions expected to remain favorable for Asian exports as well as investments into the region, the Philippines-based lender said in a report. It upgraded the GDP forecast for China by 0.7 of a percentage point to 9.2 percent this year and by 0.1 point to 8.8 percent next year. India's 2006 GDP forecast rose by 0.7 percentage points to 6.8 percent, while the bank's forecast for the country for this year was unchanged at 6.9 percent. For developing Asia as a whole, the Asian Development Outlook report upgraded its GDP forecast for this year by 0.1 point to 6.6 percent this year, while maintaining its 6.6 forecast for next year.
Burger King targets China
US fast-food chain Burger King plans to have 1,000 stores in China by 2015, moving onto turf long dominated by rivals McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, senior executives were quoted as saying yesterday. Steve DeSutter, president of Burger King's Asia-Pacific business, said most of the stores will be franchises, the National Business Daily reported. Burger King opened its first restaurant in China in Shanghai at the end of June. Figures from the China Chain Store Franchise Association show McDonald's already has about 700 outlets in China and has pledged to have 1,000 by 2008.
HSBC to sell collection unit
HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank by market value, agreed to sell a 56 percent share of its Asian credit card payment-collection unit to Global Payments Inc to gain technology and cut costs. Global Payments, based in Atlanta, will pay HSBC US$67.2 million for the stake in its Asian and Pacific unit, which collects credit card payments from 40,000 stores in 10 countries, the two companies said yesterday in a statement. London-based HSBC will retain a 44 percent stake in the company. "The joint venture will have the benefit of HSBC's large and extensive footprint in the region as well as Global Payments' technological expertise," said Michael Smith, chief executive of HSBC's Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp Ltd. Countries covered by joint venture include Hong Kong, India, China, Malaysia and Taiwan.