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Mon, Aug 07, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Electronics
Pioneer to build TV plant

Japanese audio and visual equipment maker Pioneer is planning to invest more than ¥30 billion (US$263 million) to build a new plant to produce plasma televisions in central Japan, a report said yesterday. The plant, due to start operations by March 2008 in Yamanashi prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, would initially produce more than 300,000 units a year and raise output to more than 1 million units, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. With the new plant, Pioneer hopes to double its production of plasma televisions from the current 970,000 units, the business daily said. To lighten its investment burden, Pioneer would consider tying up with another electronics manufacturer on the facility, Nihon Keizai said.

■ Economy

Protesters pan HK tax plan

Nearly 3,000 people marched from a downtown park in Hong Kong to government headquarters yesterday to protest a proposal to levy a sales tax in the territory, arguing it will hurt local businesses. Protesters carried signs saying, "Say no to sales tax" and chanted "no to GST." "Our costs will be high. We expect many restaurants to not be able to take it and shut down," Woo Chu, a restaurant industry association official, said in an interview aired on Cable TV. Police spokeswoman Cynthia Au said that about 2,900 people marched yesterday. The government is currently consulting the public about a possible sales tax. It said in a statement that Hong Kong must take advantage of its current economic strength to shore up public finances for future generations. "We must act now to broaden our tax base for the future prosperity of Hong Kong," it said.

■ Economy

India needs infrastructure

India needs to invest US$330 billion in infrastructure over the next five years to sustain an average annual growth rate of 8 percent, the country's top business group said yesterday. The Confederation of Indian Industry said a study carried out by the group showed India needs to increase its spending on infrastructure projects to 8 percent of its GDP from 4.6 percent now. That means investments in infrastructure must total US$331 billion over the next five years, it said in a statement. India currently spends much less on infrastructure than China and other developing countries in the Asian region, and experts have often warned that its booming economy could falter because of inadequate ports, roads and power supplies.

■ Beverages

Soft drink sales halted

An Indian state has banned the sale of soft drinks at government-run schools and colleges, after allegations that drinks from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo sold in the country contained high levels of pesticide, a report said on Saturday. The government of western Gujarat state has asked state-run colleges and schools not to allow sales of soft drinks on their premises, the Press Trust of India said, quoting the state's education minister Anandiben Patel. The ban will be effective from today, she said. Last week, both firms denied the charges, saying the soft drinks they manufacture and sell in India "comply with stringent international norms and all applicable national regulations." Gujarat is the second state to impose a ban after a New Delhi-based independent research body said last week that it found pesticide residues in samples of Coke and Pepsi that were 24 times above the limits set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.

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