DoCoMo to offer BlackBerry
NTT DoCoMo will introduce BlackBerry handheld devices in Japan by offering them to corporate customers later this year, Japan's top mobile carrier said yesterday. BlackBerry devices, from Research In Motion, based in Ontario, Canada, have a keyboard for typing with the thumb, and offer wireless connection with software such as Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino and other corporate data as well as e-mail. The devices in Japan will operate on the super-fast W-CDMA mobile network, used by cellphones here, and GSM/GPRS networks used abroad to allow for voice and data relay around the world.
Tianjin to assemble A320
Tianjin has been selected as the sole candidate city for an assembly line of A320 mid-range planes, China's state press reported yesterday, quoting local authorities. Citing city planning agency Tianjin Municipal Development and Reform Commission, the official Xinhua news agency said the northern city had won approval to be the location for a potential Airbus assembly line. But it gave no other details in the short dispatch, and an Airbus spokesman said the company was still awaiting a decision from Beijing.
■ Interest rates
ECB raises key rate
The European Central Bank (ECB) raised its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 2.75 percent yesterday in a move aimed at keeping inflation at bay. Analysts have said such an increase could help settle the world's stock markets, which have been volatile since the US Federal Reserve Bank head suggested more rate increases could be in the offing in the US. But bank watchers will be waiting to hear if ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet provides any hints about what is ahead for Europe -- possibly another increase as soon as next month. Holger Schmieding, an economist with Bank of America in London had said a quarter of a percent move would settle the world's stock markets, which have oscillated wildly in the wake of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments.
Hybrid car sales pick up
Toyota Motor Co's energy-saving hybrid Prius car has surpassed the half-million mark in worldwide sales, the Japanese automaker's US subsidiary said on Wednesday. More than half the sales of the world's first mass-produced gas-electric hybrid vehicle -- 266,212 -- have been in the massive US market. The Prius was launched in Japan in late 1997 and entered the US market in July 2000 as a niche market vehicle popular with environmentalists and Hollywood stars. Sales picked up in the fall of 2003 with a second-generation model and grew to more than 107,000 units last year.
Disney to link theme parks
A new marketing campaign will link Disney theme parks around the world for the first time, the firm said. The "Year of a Million Dreams" campaign, announced on Wednesday, will be launched in October to replace the 18-month Disneyland 50th anniversary promotion. The Walt Disney Co has hired advertising agencies Leo Burnett and mcgarrybowen to help create and manage the effort linking 11 parks in California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. It has also hired photographer Annie Leibovitz, best known for her portraits of rock stars, to create a celebrity-based campaign.