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Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ ELECTRONICS

Apple to reveal secret

Apple plans to hold a press conference on Tuesday whose subject is a secret -- sparking intense speculation by telephone companies as to who will be named to distribute the iPhone in Europe. The US computer and consumer electronics company sent invitations to journalists on Thursday with the line: "Mum is no longer the word." Apple is well known for shrouding its announcements in mystery. Apple's European launch of their specialty telephone is programmed for the fourth quarter. Financial Times Deutschland reported last month that Germany's T-Mobile, part of Deutsche Telekom, France's Orange (France Telecom), and Britain's 02 (owned by Spain's Telefonica) had snapped up commercial exclusivity of the iPhone in their respective countries.

■ AUTOMOBILES

Toyota plans Japan facility

Toyota Motor Corp is planning to build its first new auto assembly plant in Japan in nearly two decades, Japanese media reports said yesterday. The Japanese automaker said in a statement it's studying all such production possibilities, but no decision had been made. Kyodo News, citing anonymous sources, said Toyota is considering Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido or the northern region of the main island as possible sites for the plant. A decision for the US$872 million plant, producing from 100,000 to 200,000 vehicles a year, could come as early as this year, the report said.

■ CHINA

Central bank cautious

China's central bank will not launch measures directly targeting the prices of assets such as stocks and real estate, state media reported yesterday, citing the bank's vice governor. The central bank will keep a close watch on asset prices, but it will not enact measures in response to their movements, the China Securities Journal said, citing Wu Xiaoling (吳曉靈), vice governor of the People's Bank of China. Analysts said it shows the central bank would rather focus its monetary policy on the key target of fighting inflation.

■ FINANCE

HSBC to buy BaoViet stake

HSBC has agreed to buy a 10 percent stake of a leading Vietnamese insurance company, as the global banking giant continues its Asian expansion strategy. HSBC said in a statement it will pay US$255 million for the stake in Vietnam Insurance Corp (BaoViet), the country's leading insurance and financial group. The London and Hong Kong-listed bank will provide the Hanoi-based company technical assistance, training and will second some staff as part of the deal in an effort to tap into the expanding insurance market in Vietnam. BaoViet is the market leader in both life and general insurance and has total assets of US$1.04 billion, the statement said.

■ PROPERTY

US firm invests in Shanghai

Morgan Stanley paid ?5.75 billion (US$50 million) to buy 10 percent of the Shanghai World Financial Center -- China's tallest building when completed next year -- from Mori Building Co, Japan's biggest privately held developer. "Morgan Stanley expressed a strong desire in buying the building, so we sold the stake to them," Hiroo Mori, senior managing director of Mori, said in an interview. "They wanted a bigger share so we sold them about 10 percent." When completed, the building will be the world's tallest after Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

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