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Sat, Aug 19, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Oil
Shanghai exchange reopens

The Shanghai Petroleum Exchange resumed business yesterday after a 12-year hiatus, a step toward the eventual lifting of domestic controls on gas and oil prices. The limited reopening of spot trading in oil products is intended to help China's state-run petroleum companies familiarize themselves with the international market, state media reported. The exchange plans to later begin trading of other petroleum and chemical products, including crude oil, natural gas and liquefied gas. The petroleum exchange was first set up in 1993 but was closed a year later when the government clamped down on speculative trading.

■ Aviation

Air China shares drop

Shares in China's flag carrier, Air China Ltd (中國民航), opened 0.7 percent down from their initial public offering price yesterday, reflecting the dismal outlook for airline earnings due to high fuel prices, analysts said. State-owned Air China's initial performance compared with 50 percent to 80 percent gains typical of most IPO debuts. Earlier this month, the company cut the number of shares it was issuing by nearly 40 percent due to weak demand. The airline raised up to 4.6 billion yuan (US$575 million) in the IPO this month on the Shanghai exchange, issuing 1.639 billion shares at 2.80 yuan each.

■ Internet

Warner mulls YouTube deal

US recording label Warner Music said on Thursday it was in talks with the phenomenally popular Internet site YouTube to post its artists' song videos online. "I can confirm that we are having discussions with YouTube," Warner Music spokeswoman Amanda Collins said, declining to give any further details. The Wall Street Journal said that major labels Universal Music, EMI and Warner Music were all exploring "possible arrangements with YouTube." Britain's EMI is discussing "a variety of different business models" about distributing its music content via the site, the newspaper quoted a spokesman for the London-based company as saying.

■ Automobiles

Hyundai denies Jag interest

Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea's largest automaker, said yesterday it has no interest in acquiring Ford Motor Co's luxury Jaguar brand. In a statement, Hyundai said it once studied the acquisition of a "luxury nameplate like Jaguar, but that option was dropped in view of our immediate priorities," described as expanding production at overseas plants. Though Ford says it has no plans to sell any of its brands, industry analysts have speculated that the No. 2 US automaker may be forced to act to stem red ink.

■ Internet

Google to power China.com

Google technology will power China.com's online search engine under the terms of a partnership announced on Thursday. In Google's most comprehensive business alliance since entering the China market, it will support China.com searches for online content in English and traditional Chinese, the companies said in a release. "We are excited about our partnership with China.com and we expect our current partnership to bring significant strategic benefits. We are also looking forward to exploring further areas where our companies can cooperate," said Johnny Chou (周韶寧), Google president of sales and business development in Greater China.

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