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Tue, May 30, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Electronics
Philips to boost Asia sales

Electronics giant Philips is aiming for double-digit growth rates in Asia by increasingly tailoring products to suit the nuances of regional consumers, Andreas Wente, Philips' Asia-Pacific president and chief executive officer, said in a published report yesterday. The Netherlands-based firm is focusing on the booming markets of China and India plus emerging markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia, Wente said. "As the Asia-Pacific becomes more and more important for Philips, our ambitions are also growing," Singapore's Business Times quoted Wente as saying. Regional revenue amounted to S$15.9 billion (US$10.1 billion) last year, a 5 percent hike from 2004. The figure represents 25 percent of Philips' worldwide turnover. Wente is aiming for 33 percent by 2008.

■ Telecoms

NEC seeks handset alliance

NEC Corp, Japan's third-biggest mobile phone maker, said it was in final negotiations with larger rival Matsushita Electric Industrial Co on a handset alliance. The company is also in talks with Texas Instruments Inc. The Matsushita tie-up may include developing handsets and buying components together, NEC president Kaoru Yano said at a news conference yesterday in Tokyo. NEC is in talks with Texas Instruments, the world's largest maker of chips that run mobile phones, to set up a partnership, Yano said.

■ Aviation

Passenger numbers rising

Asia-Pacific airlines flew 10.9 million passengers last month, up 6.7 percent from the previous year, the Kuala Lumpur-based Association of Asia Pacific Airlines said yesterday. In the January to last month period, passenger traffic increased 5.2 percent on the year to 43.33 million, the association said. Air cargo was up 5.2 percent last month to 4.47 million tonnes and increased 5.6 percent to 17.1 million tonnes in the four months period. Despite the growth in passenger traffic, high oil prices continue to pose a threat to airlines, the association said.

■ Entertainment

Comics offered over phone

Walt Disney Co and Vodafone KK, Softbank Corp's wireless unit, will offer a service for mobile-phone users to read comics on their handsets in Japan. Disney and Vodafone KK, the Tokyo-based unit of Vodafone Group Plc bought by Softbank, will provide "Disney Mobile Comics," a digital service offered over the Internet by Vodafone, according to a joint press release issued yesterday. Ten titles featuring characters such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Chicken Little and the Lion King will be available as of Thursday, the statement said.

■ Internet

US price war boosts speed

Middle- and working-class Americans signed up for high-speed Internet access in record numbers in the past year, apparently lured by a price war among phone companies. Broadband adoption increased 59 percent from March last year to this past March among US households with incomes between US$30,000 and US$50,000, according to a survey released yesterday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. It increased 40 percent in households making less than US$30,000 a year. Among blacks, it increased 121 percent, according to the study. Overall, 42 percent of adult Americans have broadband compared to 30 percent a year ago.

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