Apple’s market value soars
Apple, maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod, iPhone and iPad, surpassed Chinese oil giant PetroChina (中石油) during trading on Thursday to become the world’s second-largest company in terms of market value. Apple shares hit a record US$292.76 during trading on Wall Street, giving the California gadget-maker a market capitalization of US$266 billion, more than PetroChina’s US$265 billion. Apple shares eventually closed at US$288.92, putting PetroChina back on top at the end of the day. ExxonMobile is the largest company in the world with a market capitalization of US$310 billion.
Branson eyeing hotels
After venturing into space tourism, British billionaire Richard Branson is seeking to expand his Virgin Group into the luxury hotel sector in North America. Already established as one of the world’s leaders in services ranging from mobile phones and music to air transportation, Branson now wants to enter the highly competitive hotel market. According to its Web site, Virgin Hotels aims to acquire up to US$500 million in properties in a number of key US cities, including New York, Las Vegas and Miami, over the next three years.
Olam, Louis Dreyfus in talks
Singapore-based commodities trader Olam International said yesterday it held “preliminary confidential discussions” with French rival Louis Dreyfus Commodities that could lead to a merger. In a statement to the Singapore Exchange where it is listed, Olam said the talks were still in their preliminary stage. Olam told shareholders that “it had engaged in preliminary confidential discussions with Louis Dreyfus Commodities in relation to a possible business collaboration which may take the form of, among others, a merger.” It emphazised, however, that the talks “are still preliminary and that no definitive agreements in relation to the possible collaboration have been entered into as at the date of this announcement.”
KNOC’s Dana bid picks up
South Korea’s state oil firm said yesterday its takeover bid for British oil explorer Dana Petroleum had won support from 64 percent of its shareholders. Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), which plans to secure at least 75 percent so it can delist the Aberdeen-based company, said in a statement its £18-a-share offer is now wholly unconditional. The Korean firm made its first approach to Dana in July, but the two companies’ management could not agree on a price. On Aug. 20 KNOC went straight to the shareholders with a £1.87 billion (US$2.9 billion) bid.
Business confidence up: Ifo
A closely watched survey showed that German business confidence has improved slightly this month — its fourth consecutive monthly increase. The Ifo institute said yesterday that its business confidence index edged up to 106.8 points this month from 106.7 last month. The index is a key indicator for the German economy, Europe’s biggest. Ifo said companies were increasingly positive about their current situation, but were more skeptical about the outlook for the coming six months. Strong exports helped the German economy grow 2.2 percent in the April-June period compared with the previous quarter. However, that pace is expected to slow in the year’s second half.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks