World Business Quick Take


Mon, Jan 23, 2006 - Page 12

■ Technology

Infra-red Webcam launched

Taiwan-based Genius is offering a new infra-red Webcam for those who enjoy chatting away the long night hours. The VideoCAM Trek 310 is intended to produce high-quality pictures even in a room with poor lighting conditions, according to the company's German office in Langenfeld am Rhein. Good lighting for the subject will no longer be necessary. The new camera will deliver pictures in VGA with 32 bit color depth. Stills can be produced up to a resolution 1.3 megapixels. Up to 30 frames per second can be transmitted via a USB connection to the computer. Switchover to infra-red is automatic when the light conditions warrant. Genius said the camera would be available in Europe immediately at a price of US$48.28.

■ Auctions

Businessman gets Bond car

A Swiss businessman won the keys to James Bond's silver 1965 Aston Martin DB5 coupe on Friday with a US$1.9 million bid at an annual classic car auction in Arizona. The 45-year-old man, who did not want to be identified, placed his bids over the telephone through friend and car dealer Beat Roos to win the gadget-packed 007 car used in such classics as Goldfinger and Thunderball. Both men live in Bern, Switzerland. "His instructions were to bring the car back to Switzerland," Roos said. The winner, who was bidding in his first auction, will add the car to a collection of some dozen vehicles that includes classic Aston Martins and Porsches. Auction officials had estimated that Bond's vehicle could fetch between US$1.5 million and US$2.5 million. Two other classics cars also were sold, with bidders paying US$565,000 for gangster Al Capone's 1928 Cadillac sedan and US$195,000 for country music singer Hank Williams Jr's 1964 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, officials said.

■ World trade

India starts dumping probe

India has initiated anti-dumping investigations against import of bus and truck tires from China and Thailand, a news report said yesterday. India's directorate general of anti-dumping and allied duties (DGAD) ordered the probe after an industry body filed a complaint alleging firms from China and Thailand were dumping new or unused tires, tubes and flaps used in buses and lorries, PTI news agency reported. The Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association had approached the directorate on behalf of tire manufacturers Apollo Tyres, Ceat, JK Tyres, Birla Tyres and MRF. A DGAD notification said the industry body had provided relevant data on the declining market share, stagnant sales, increase in imports and price under-cutting.

■ Economics

Seoul expects retail growth

South Korea, Asia's fourth largest economy, forecast continued retail growth this year as domestic demand picks up, the commerce, industry and energy ministry said in a report yesterday. The ministry said it expects sales to grow 4.0 percent year-on-year at department stores, 8.6 percent at shopping malls and 26 percent on the Internet this year -- compared with growth of 5.8 percent, 4.8 percent and 39.8 percent respectively last year. It attributed the sustained retail growth to recovering private consumption, the rallying stock market, robust exports, a potential consumer spending binge sparked by this year's World Cup and falling household debt.