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Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Motorcycles
Firm eyes big bike market

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd will increase motorcycle production on surging demand for large bikes in the US and Europe, the Nihon Keizai Shinbum said. The Kobe-based maker of the Ninja motorcycle plans to invest ¥50 billion (US$425 million) in its Akashi plant in Hyogo Prefecture over the next five years, the paper said. Kawasaki will boost its annual output by 50 percent to 300,000 units in the fiscal year starting in April 2010 from the current 200,000, the paper said. Kawasaki will also develop next-generation motorcycles, such as hybrid models and electric vehicles, to catch up to its rivals, the paper said.

■ Gaming

Nintendo moves into Russia

Nintendo Co will start selling video game products in Russia to boost profits, the Nihon Keizai Shinbum said. Nintendo of Europe GmBH has appointed ND Videogames to act as the official distributor of Nintendo products for the Russian market, the paper said. The distributor will start offering Nintendo's products from next month. The products to be sold in Russia include the Nintendo DS portable player and Nintendo's new home console, Wii, which will be launched in December, the paper said.

■ Automobiles

VW building Russian plant

Volkswagen became the latest foreign car maker to establish a foothold in Russia on Saturday, as the German company laid the foundation stone for its first factory in Kaluga, 160km southwest of Moscow. Volkswagen's factory -- which will produce both Volkswagens and Skodas, its other brand -- is expected to be finished by the end of next year and will create 3,500 jobs. Production will begin at 20,000 vehicles annually before eventually topping out at 115,000. Skoda Octavia will be the first model assembled at the plant, with other models -- including Polo, Passat, Tuareg and another brand specifically tailored for the national market -- to follow.

■ Labor market

Youth unemployment rises

The number of unemployed youth aged 15 to 24 has risen worldwide over the past decade, with the highest increase seen in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, a report by the International Labor Office (ILO) revealed yesterday. While the number of unemployed youth increased globally by 14.8 percent between 1995 and last year, rising from 74 million to 85 million, in Southeast Asia and the Pacific it shot up 85.5 percent, from 5.2 to 9.7 million, the ILO said. In East Asia, comprising Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan, there was a decrease in youth unemployment of 8.2 percent between 1995 and last year, falling slightly from 13.1 to 12 million.

■ Economy

Foreign investment down

Foreign direct investment in South Korea plunged in the first nine months of this year amid a worsening business climate and falling growth potential, official data showed yesterday. Just US$790 million flowed in for the nine months to Sept. 30, just a fourth of the US$3.42 billion invested during the same period last year, the central bank said in a report released by the Yonhap news agency. South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, has attracted less and less foreign direct investment with US$9.25 billion in 2004 and US$4.34 billion last year, it said. South Korea recorded a net outflow of foreign investment of US$2.2 billion last month.

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