■ Mobile phones
Three firms in venture
NEC, Matsushita Electric Industrial and Texas Instruments said yesterday that they had set up a joint venture to develop mobile phone operations. Adcore-Tech, based in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, is capitalized at ¥12 billion (US$104 million) with some 180 employees, the companies said in a joint statement. The firm is 44 percent controlled by the NEC group, while Matsushita -- best known for its Panasonic brand -- and its mobile phone unit jointly own another 44 percent. The remaining 12 percent is held by Texas Instruments. The venture is based on their agreement last month to jointly develop handsets and a common software and hardware platform.
■ Auto industry
AB Volvo plans acquisitions
AB Volvo, the world's second-largest truck maker after DaimlerChrysler AG, has outlined ambitious plans for a series of acquisitions to broaden its product range, according to a published report on Sunday. "Given our growth target of 10 percent, to do that wholly organically is almost impossible. A significant part of that will come from acquisitions," said Leif Johansson, chief executive, the Financial Times reported, citing an interview in an article on its Web site. The company is also in discussions with Dongfeng, the Chinese truck maker, about a possible alliance. "We are discussing doing something bigger in China," Johansson said. He will also consider acquiring a truck maker in Russia if the right deal can be reached.
China plans TV standard
Chinese regulators will soon announce a digital TV standard for the world's biggest television market, a state news agency reported yesterday. The system will apply to terrestrial, satellite and cable broadcasts in China, the Xinhua news agency said, citing Wang Xiaojie (王效傑), director of the technology department of State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The government has said that it would start rolling out digital television this year. China has about 400 million television viewers, according to industry estimates. It is also one of the leading producers of digital television sets. China already has 4.13 million households that receive digital pay-TV channels, and companies that serve them will be required to switch to the new standard, Xinhua said. The country has more than 120 licensed pay television channels, according to the government.
Telstra sale under review
Australia's Cabinet will discuss this week whether to proceed with the country's largest-ever privatization by selling the government's stake in Telstra Corp now that the firm's share price has dropped, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday. Legislation to sell the government's 51.8 percent shareholding in the telecommunications company passed the Senate by a narrow margin last September. The sale was then expected to make A$30 billion (US$23 billion), but the share price has since slumped about 21 percent. Telstra shares fell to A$3.51 yesterday after the company downgraded its full-year earnings guidance, down from A$4.44 on the day the legislation was passed nearly a year ago. Telstra blamed the downgrade on the national competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which sets the prices the company can charge its competitors to share its national infrastructure.