Intel plans Vietnam plant
Intel Corp has asked the Vietnamese government for a license to build a chip plant worth US$605 million in southern Ho Chi Minh City, a government official said yesterday. "Intel applied for licensing with the Ministry of Planning and Investment on Wednesday. We expect that all the administrative procedures will end soon as this is a huge project for Vietnam's information and technology sector," a ministry official said. Under Vietnamese regulations, the project needs authorization from several ministries before being submitted to the prime minister for a final approval. Intel officials declined any immediate comment. According to the daily Tuoi Tre newspaper, the plant will cover 46.7 hectares and employ 2,000 local workers.
■ Stock trading
Slip-up blamed on human
Nikko Citigroup yesterday blamed human error for a mistaken buy order for shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, heightening concerns about stock trading here following computer glitches and a botched trade in recent months. Nikko Citigroup Ltd, a joint venture between US financial giant Citigroup Inc and Japanese brokerage Nikko Cordial Corp, placed a buy order on Wednesday for 2,000 Nippon Paper shares instead of two shares.
Toshiba ready with HD DVD
Toshiba Corp said yesterday that it will start selling high-definition players supporting its HD DVD format, jointly developed by another Japanese electronics maker NEC Corp, in the US in March -- the first commercial launch of the product in the world. The new HD DVD players -- HD-XA1 and HD-A1, priced at US$799 and US$499 respectively -- will hit the US market about the time major Hollywood studios are expected to unveil HD DVD movie titles, the company said.
■ Real estate
HK offices most expensive
Hong Kong office space is the Asia-Pacific region's most expensive, followed by Tokyo and Seoul, a survey released yesterday said. DTZ, a London-listed international real-estate advisory and consultancy firm, made the findings in its annual global office occupancy costs survey of 117 business districts around the world. The rankings focus on cost per workstation, which DTZ said better reflects the cost of accommodation. Hong Kong occupancy costs were up 61 percent, the highest percentage increase over the past decade, to US$15,000 per workstation per year, DTZ said. Behind Hong Kong, Tokyo's Central 5 wards and Seoul ranked as second and third-most expensive office locations, at US$11,870 and US$9,870 per workstation per year, it said.
US fines ABN Amro again
Dutch bank ABN Amro was hit on Wednesday with its second US fine in two months after settling a government probe into its mortgage lending in the industrial state of Michigan. The US Department of Justice said that under the settlement, the bank's subsidiary ABN Amro Mortgage Group had agreed to pay a total of US$41 million in cash and waived claims for government insurance payouts. The government alleged that ABN certified falsely that it had properly underwritten 28,097 mortgage loans that were federally insured by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.