World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

Mon, Nov 21, 2005 - Page 12

■ Games similar to drugs

Computer games can be addictive, a new study claims. Such an addition is essentially comparable with alcohol or marijuana addiction, according to Charite Hospital in Berlin. "Excessive computer gaming probably activates the same structures in the brain as physical drugs," said Sabine Gruesser from the university clinic's interdisciplinary addiction research group. The study compared 15 casual gamers with 15 excessive gamers. Players who met at least three criteria of addiction such as insatiable craving, withdrawal symptoms or the neglect of other interests were described as excessive. The test subjects were shown images of computer games, alcohol bottles and neutral objects. For the excessive gamers, the computer game scenes set off a much stronger stimulus in the brain than for the other subjects.

■ Investment

HK Link REIT price set

The price for the world's largest property trust in Hong Kong has been set at the upper end of the range at HK$10.3 (US$1.32), a press report said yesterday. The price means the initial public offering (IPO) of the Link real estate investment trust (REIT) will raise HK$19.8 billion. Citing unnamed sources, the Ming Pao daily said the government is expected to exercise its overallotment option in full, selling an additional 211.6 million units. This would increase the IPO size to HK$22 billion. Higher interest rates have dampened investor enthusiasm with the retail tranche of the REIT receiving a much cooler response the second time around following a legal challenge that delayed the original plan last December.

■ Automakers

GM, Chery resolve dispute

General Motors Corp and its major South Korean subsidiary have reached an out-of-court settlement with China's Chery Automobile Co (奇瑞) in an intellectual property dispute over the design of a small vehicle, the automaker said on Saturday. "GM Daewoo Auto and Technology Co [GMDAT], General Motors Corp and Chery Automobile Co have reached a settlement Agreement, which has resolved all disputes among GMDAT, GM and Chery. Hence all current lawsuits and related claims have been withdrawn," GM said in a statement. Malcom Bricklin, Chery's US partner, said the agreement clears the way for a smoother introduction of the newly designed, Chinese-made vehicles in the US, starting in 2007.

■ Electronics

Pioneer to restructure

Japan's struggling Pioneer Corp plans to scale down its DVD recorder business and cut 1,000 jobs or 10 percent of its domestic workforce as part of its restructuring, a report said yesterday. President Kaneo Ito and chairman Kanya Matsumoto, who is from the founder's family, will step down to take responsibility for the electronics manufacturer's dismal performance, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily reported. The package of retrenchment measures is likely to be officially approved at a board meeting today, the paper said, without naming its sources. Executive vice president Tamihiko Sudo is likely to be appointed as the firm's new president early next month, the report said. Under the restructuring plan, Pioneer will stop production of its current line of DVD recorders and procure them from low-cost manufacturer Funai Electric Co of Japan, the report said.