HK beats expectations
Hong Kong's economy is set to grow by more than 6 percent this year, higher than the government's forecast of a 4 to 5 percent increase, a media report said yesterday. Standard Chartered Bank has upgraded its full-year estimate from 6 percent to 7 percent, while HSBC is forecasting 6.4 percent growth and Hang Seng Bank 6.3 percent, the South China Morning Post said. The Hong Kong government will announce second-quarter economic growth data next Tuesday, after the economy expanded by 8.2 percent in the first quarter.
Air Berlin shares surge
Shares in budget airline Air Berlin Plc surged 5.5 percent yesterday after Germany's second biggest carrier announced that it had acquired rival DBA as part of moves to expand the number of its routes. Air Berlin said that it would pay a "mid double-digit million euro" amount for the Munich-based DBA. "Acquiring our dream partner was an opportunity not to be missed," Air Berlin chief executive Joachim Hunold said announcing the purchase. The announcement led to Air Berlin shares, which were only listed on the stock market in May, rising to 10.44 euros (US$13.40) in early morning trading.
Business cards online
A Chinese Web site has sparked controversy by posting information from 2 million people's business cards without their consent and winning 5 million visits a month, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Mingpian.com, named after the Chinese word for business card, offers people's mobile phone and office numbers and e-mail and company addresses for free, Xinhua said. Xinhua said the Web site had deleted information about some protesting card owners but insisted its practice provided "valuable business information for China's sales and marketing people and helps companies recruit competent employees."
Sino-French venture at risk
Chinese supermarket giant Lianhua (聯華) may ditch its stake in a money-losing discount retail chain it runs with French retail powerhouse Carrefour, an official and a Hong Kong newspaper said yesterday. Lianhua may sell its 45 percent share in the 120-outlet Shanghai Dia Lianhua to Carrefour, Lianhua executive director Liang Wei (良威) was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post. The Sino-French venture was set up in 2003 with registered total capital of 90 million yuan (US$11.25 million). A final decision would be reached before the end of the year, said Liang, who declined to provide details.
Subaru might outsource
Toyota Motor Corp, the world's second-largest automaker, is considering providing small cars to the maker of Subaru autos for sale in Europe, where demand for fuel-efficient vehicles is expected to increase, a news report said yesterday. The deal would include Toyota's popular Vitz model, called the Yaris in Europe, and its Aygo model, which is only sold in Europe, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported without saying how it got its information. The partnership will take effect as early as 2008, it said. The autos will be built for Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, the maker of Subaru-brand autos.