World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

Thu, Sep 23, 2004 - Page 12

■ SemiconductorsChip VAT rebates extended

Weeks after agreeing to scrap tax rebates to Chinese semiconductor makers following US complaints, Beijing says it has a new plan for similar reimburse-ments on products that contain chips made in China. The new plan, announced on Tuesday by the National Development and Reform Commission, appears to apply to chips made in China by both domestic and foreign com-panies. Chip makers with factories outside China complained that the earlier measure unfairly hurt them in the Chinese market by return-ing a 17 percent VAT to domestic makers on chip sales in China while foreign producers got nothing. The new plan will give a full VAT rebate on exports of pro-ducts that contain chips made in China, the com-mission said on its Web site.

■ Semiconductors

Hynix fined for bad books

South Korean microchip giant Hynix Semiconductor has been fined for irregular accounting practices, financial regulators said yesterday. The Securities and Futures Commission said Hynix has been fined 2 billion won (US$1.7 mil-lion) for falsifying its accounts to the tune of 1.98 trillion won in 1999. Former Hynix president Park Jong-Sup and two other exec-utives have been referred to prosecutors for punishment, the commission said. Hynix admitted its former manage-ment was involved in illegal accounting but said the company had since cleaned up its financial statements.

■ Telecoms

SingTel ready to launch 3G

Singapore Telecommunica-tions (SingTel) said yester-day it will commercially launch its high-speed third generation (3G) mobile service within months, putting it at the forefront of Southeast Asian telecoms firms looking to roll out the technology. SingTel said it will start a month-long trial for 150 customers tomor-row and use their feedback to fine-tune problems before beginning full commercial operations. The commercial start-up could come as early as the end of this year, although it was more likely to be the first quarter of next year, a top official said.

■ Banking

Share purchase to end

Japan's central bank plans to stop buying stocks from the nation's banks later this month because financial markets have stabilized, officials say. In an unprece-dented move, the Bank of Japan decided in 2002 to buy shares from banks to pump more money into the financial system as the economy struggled with a slowdown that lasted more than a decade. The measure was initially intended to last a year, but the bank extended it for one more year. The pur-chases were slated to end on Sept. 30, and would need a special extension.

■ Automobiles

Chinese await price cuts

China's vehicle imports rose at a slower pace last month as potential buyers held off purchasing new vehicles in anticipation prices will fall further. Imports rose 2.6 percent last month from a year earlier to 12,000 vehicles, compared with a 5.4 percent increase in July, the commerce ministry said in its Web site. Total vehicle imports gained 6.5 percent to 124,700 units in the first eight months of the year, the ministry said. China will remove import quotas and cut tariffs to 30 percent next year from as much as 37.6 percent in order to meet its WTO obligations.