Asian media spending soars
Chinese consumers buying more lifestyle products drove advertisement spending in key Asia-Pacific media markets up 14 percent to a record US$66.6 billion in the year to September last year, an industry report said yesterday. The figures, for regional markets excluding Japan, showed corporate spending on television, newspaper and magazine advertisements in China totalled nearly US$37 billion, up 21 percent and accounting for 56 percent of the regional market, Nielsen Media Research said. "China now sits just behind Japan as the third-ranked advertising economy globally," it said in a statement. As a television advertising market only, China is ranked second globally, it added. Gayle Cunningham, executive director for Nielsen Media in China and Hong Kong, said advertising spending in Australia, the Philippines and India also posted strong growth, while South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore saw "modest declines."
■ Music downloads
Sales pass US$1 billion
Online music sales racked up more than US$1 billion last year as more users downloaded songs from music stores and bought ring tones for their mobile phones, the International Federation of Phonographic Industry said on Thursday. The US$1.1 billion in sales tripled the 2004 figure of US$380 billion and accounted for 6 percent of record companies' revenues. Most of the receipts came from new downloaders, while Web users of illegal file-sharing sites were only rarely migrating to authorized sites, the report said. But the trade group said there were hopeful signs that file sharing was stagnating. The organization credited a high-profile string of lawsuits against illegal downloaders for helping stem the tide and said it would continue its legal campaign against illegal downloading sites and their users.
Japan doubts US imports
Japan suspects imported US beef may have contained material considered at risk for mad cow infection, Japan's agriculture minister said. Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said there was the possibility that material from cattle spinal cords was included in beef imported from the US. "If it is true, then this goes against the terms of the agreement," Nakagawa told reporters. "A thorough investigation needs to be conducted." Japan in December partially lifted a two-year-old ban on US beef imports. The ban was imposed in December 2003 after the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in a US herd. The agreement allowed the import of meat only from cows aged 20 months or younger. The deal excluded spines, brains, bone marrow and other parts of the cow thought to be at particularly high risk of containing mad cow disease.
Microsoft maintains budget
Microsoft Corp said yesterday that annual spending in China on research and development (R&D) remained at US$100 million and no additional investment would be made as state press indicated earlier. "Microsoft's investment in all China related R&D activities currently stands at US$100 million per year," Microsoft spokesman Mathieu Collette said in a statement. The Shanghai Daily reported on Thursday that Microsoft planned to invest more than US$100 million annually over the next three to five years in China to strengthen research and development.