Filmmakers cry foul
Chinese moviemakers are accusing local TV stations of joining the thriving movie piracy industry. The Chinese Movie Copyright Association says TV stations air up to 1,500 pirated Chinese movies a year, costing studios up to 75 million yuan (US$9.4 million) in lost revenues, the Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. "The number of movies illegally aired is startling -- more than 100 in the first six months of the year, and most of them are very recent," Meng Yu, the association's legal director, was quoted as saying. Beijing is under pressure from its trading partners to stamp out the piracy. But China's own studios say the damage to them is even greater than to their foreign competitors as pirates rob them of their important domestic market.
Skilling told to pay up
Federal prosecutors want former Enron Corp CEO Jeffrey Skilling to turn over nearly US$183 million for helping perpetuate one of the biggest business frauds in US history -- his alleged share and that of his late co-defendant, company founder Kenneth Lay. Lay died on July 5 of heart disease. Prosecutors said that with his conspiracy conviction, Skilling is "liable for all the proceeds attributable to all co-conspirators, indicted or unindicted, including Lay," because they participated in the same scheme.
Honda to set up bike plant
Japan's Honda Motor Co will build a new motorcycle plant in India through a joint venture in an attempt to expand its already dominant share of the fast-growing subcontinental market, a report said yesterday. A total of US$420 million will be invested by 2010 in the factory, which will have an annual production capacity of 1.5 million motorbikes, Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. With the investment, Honda plans to boost its annual output in India by about 50 percent to 7 million units, including those produced by wholly owned subsidiary Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India, the report said.
Japan confident on outlook
More than 90 percent of major Japanese firms expect the domestic economy to keep expanding through next spring, but rising oil prices and a potential US slowdown are looming concerns, a survey showed yesterday. The poll of 100 top Japanese firms also indicated that 60 percent expect the Bank of Japan to increase interest rates again before next March, after raising rates last month for the first time in six years, Kyodo News agency said. The survey, conducted late last month to early this month, found that 94 of the 100 companies expect the economy to recover either moderately or strongly, while 86 companies cited high oil prices as a potential problem, Kyodo said.
Indonesia may outperform
Indonesia is likely to continue outperforming other Asian stock markets over the next 12 months because of its declining interest rates, a trend that will boost consumption and economic growth, said Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong) Ltd senior portfolio manager Manish Bhatia. "Our expectation is that Indonesia will continue reducing interest rates and as interest rates come down, consumption can pick up and that will become a solid leg for the economy to stand on," said Bhatia, who helps manage around US$450 million in assets in Asia-Pacific funds.