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Thu, Dec 28, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Tourism
Holiday travel predictions

Chinese authorities expect tourists to take 2.2 billion trips over the Lunar New Year holiday in February, a news report said yesterday. Tourists are expected to take nearly 2 billion trips by road during the 40-day travel season that begins Feb. 3, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's main planning agency. Travelers will take 155 million trips by train and more than 19 million by air, Xinhua said.

■ Automobiles

Carmaker chiefs meet

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp confirmed that Chairman Fujio Cho met Ford Motor Co President and CEO Alan Mulally in the wake of media reports of talks last week in Tokyo, a company spokeswoman said yesterday. Toyota spokeswoman Yasue Kato said Cho and Mulally "met and exchanged greetings," but refused to offer any further details, including when and where the talks took place. The meeting was held at Ford's request, the Kyodo news agency said yesterday, citing an unidentified Toyota official. The talks appear to have focused on how the two companies can strengthen cooperation in environmental technology, Kyodo and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

■ Electronics

New DRAM chip released

Samsung Electronics Co said yesterday it has developed a new mobile memory chip that is thinner and uses less power than its predecessor. The 1-gigabit mobile DRAM is at least 20 percent thinner than the existing product, which stacks up two 512-megabit chips and uses about 30 percent less power than the predecessor, Samsung said in a release. The new product can be used for a wide range of advanced handset applications as well as for digital still cameras, portable media players and portable gaming products, the company said. "Samsung plans to mass produce the new device beginning in the second quarter of 2007," the company said.

■ Cellphones

Essar to buy partners

India's Essar group, which owns a 33 percent stake in mobile phone firm Hutchison Essar, has offered to buy out its partners in the company, a report said yesterday. The Essar group has the first rights to buy the 52 percent stake owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa. The remaining 15 percent is held by two individuals. Analysts said the company is worth approximately US$15 billion. The Essar group made the offer through its advisors, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns, who met senior Hutchison officials in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the Economic Times said yesterday.

■ US economy

Retail rises moderately

US retail spending rose modestly over the Christmas holiday season, helped by a late surge from last-minute shoppers, surveys showed. The data suggested the world's biggest economy continued to grow, but at a less than spectacular pace. A report on Tuesday by MasterCard research arm SpendingPulse showed overall spending up 6.6 percent excluding automobiles. But adjusted for an extra shopping day this year, the growth was only 3 percent. That compared with 8.7 percent growth last year, or 5.2 percent after adjustments. The report noted that electronics and luxury retail sales were generally strong, while apparel spending lagged.

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