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Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Telecoms
Nokia, Sanyo drop JV talks

Sanyo and Nokia said yesterday they had dropped talks to work together on a mobile joint venture, just four months after they announced the plan. After negotiations, Nokia Corp of Finland and Sanyo Electric Co of Japan decided it would be better to pursue other options, the companies said in a joint statement, without elaborating. In February, Sanyo and Nokia announced they would set up a joint venture to develop and make advanced cellphones, underlining their ambitions to grow globally in the increasingly competitive mobile market. Both sides had said they expected to sign a deal in the second quarter of this year, and the new business would start in the third quarter. But yesterday, the two companies said they would announce future plans separately for their handset businesses.

■ Telecoms

HK market nears saturation

Hong Kong has the highest mobile phone penetration rate in Asia and is near saturation point, a survey said yesterday. There are about 5 million mobile phones for the 6.9 million population of the southern Chinese territory, or 95 percent of the people between the ages of 15 and 59, according to a survey by Nielsen Media Research of media habits, lifestyles and attitudes. That compared with 93 percent in South Korea, 89 percent in Singapore and 87 percent in Australia.

■ Banking

China may ease foreign cap

Former US commerce secretary Donald Evans said yesterday that talks with Chinese finance officials this week gave him the impression that China will lift caps on foreign equity in provincial banks. "It appears to me that the caps on the provincial banks will move up at a quicker pace than the big five banks," said Evans after meeting several Chinese officials. China limits investments by individual foreign banks in its lenders to 20 percent of total equity, with the total for all foreign investments in any single bank capped at 25 percent.

■ Aviation

Merger talks collapse

The long-awaited US$500 million Jet Airways takeover of domestic rival Air Sahara collapsed yesterday amid a row over the price of India's largest airline merger, according to reports. A deadline to complete the deal passed at midnight to create the country's biggest domestic carrier, controlling about half of the booming market. The failure of the deal came five months after the tie-up was first announced and both sides went to the courts over money lodged in an account designed for the merger.

■ Trade

Japan trade surplus surges

Japan said yesterday its trade surplus soared more than 35 percent last month to post the first rise in 17 months as growing US sales of Japanese cars reinforced signs of a strong economy. Economists cautioned, however, that Japanese exports still risked stumbling in the near future due to a potential slowdown in the US where the market has been hit hard by fears over inflation and higher interest rates. The trade surplus last month rose 35.2 percent to ¥384.9 billion (US$3.35 billion) from May last year, the finance ministry said. Exports jumped 18.9 percent to ¥5.70 trillion, topping imports which grew 17.9 percent to ¥5.32 trillion.

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