Toyota to keep it in family
The grandson of Toyota Motor Corp’s founder will take the helm of the automaker in June, newspapers said yesterday. Toyota’s top executives will hold a board meeting as early as Monday to endorse the appointment of Akio Toyoda, said the Nikkei daily, a top business newspaper, citing no sources. Apart from the Nikkei daily, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper and the Mainichi daily said in their evening editions yesterday that Toyoda will take over the top job in June. It will mark the first time in 14 years that a member of Toyota’s founding family will run the auto giant. Neither of the papers cited any sources.
Plan receives revamp
China has updated an ambitious blueprint to aggressively revamp the country’s key manufacturing region — a plan that has already helped cause many low-end factories to move or shut down. The sweeping new plan, released on Thursday in Beijing, covers the next 12 years and targets the booming Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province. The National Development and Reform Commission says the general goal is to transform the region into a base for advanced manufacturing, innovation and heavy industry. The plan calls for the creation of 10 China-based multinationals, each with annual sales of US$20 billion by 2020. It will be home to two to three big automakers with output worth more than 100 billion yuan (US$14.6 billion) each by 2020.
Palm Inc unveils smartphone
Palm Inc, a pioneer in handheld devices but suffering hard times lately, unveiled a touch-screen smartphone on Thursday that impressed reviewers and sent its stock price soaring. The Palm Pre, released at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, runs on a new operating system, the Palm webOS mobile platform, developed by the company. Palm said the Pre would be available through US carrier Sprint by this summer. It did not reveal the price for the device, which notably allows users to move seamlessly from one application to another like with a desktop computer and run multiple applications at the same time.
Skype turns to cellphones
Skype, which brought cheap and free calls to the Internet, is doing the same for cellphones. The Web-based voice and text messaging service owned by auction giant eBay announced on Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show that it was bringing its Internet communications software to cellphones. It said it had developed a “lite” version of Skype that can be downloaded for free to more than 100 models of Java-enabled cellphones or those using Google’s open-source Android platform. The T-Mobile G1 runs Android software, while phones from LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsugn and Sony Ericsson are Java-enabled.
Dell to cut Irish workforce
US computer maker Dell Inc announced on Thursday it will slash its Irish work force and shift its European manufacturing operations to Poland in a move certain to undermine Ireland’s recession-hit economy. Dell is Ireland’s second-largest corporate employer, its biggest exporter and in recent years has contributed about 5 percent to the national GDP. Economists warn that each Dell job underpins another four to five jobs in Ireland. Managers told its approximately 4,300 Irish employees that 1,900 of them would lose their jobs between this April and January next year.