Magazine article Business Asia

On-Line Use to Increase

Magazine article Business Asia

On-Line Use to Increase

Article excerpt

NTERNET USAGE in the Asia-Pacific region will more than double by 2003 and triple by 2005 as on-line access fees decline, a recent study said. According to the Dataquest study, the number of internet subscribers will grow to 183.3 million people by 2003 and 248 million by 2005, from 78 million last year. India, the second-largest country by population, will have the highest growth rate of new subscribers. By 2005, India will have 21.3 million subscribers, trailing China, Japan and South Korea in the region. Falling prices and improved infrastructure, especially in countries with big populations like China and India, is a recipe for encouraging large numbers of new subscribers, Dataquest said.


Australia will launch a new Asia-Pacific television service to promote the country's voice in the region. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) have signed a five-year $90 million contract for the new service, to boost Australia's profile in the region. The new service will go to air later this year, and will include four new programs produced for the ABC Asia-Pacific: two news programs, a studio-based interview style program and an education program.


Bank of China said half of its 12,000 staff in Hong Kong and Macau may be moved or fired as it combines its 12 local commercial banking units, streamlining its operations to challenge its Hong Kong rivals. According to the bank's spokeswoman, half of the local staff working within the branch network, computer centres, and credit card operations, will keep their jobs. The other 6000 will join the relocation process. The cuts come amid increasing competition in Hong Kong.


It appears job loss and not pollution is the top concern for Hong Kong residents. According to a new survey, undertaken by the marketing firm Taylor Nelson Sofres, around 73 per cent of the 1000 respondents see the potential for a recession and unemployment as the most serious issue facing the territory. In contrast, only eight per cent said environmental issues were urgent. After unemployment, respondents stated they were most concerned with the availability of housing, the quality of education and the high cost of living in Hong Kong.


Australia and the World Bank will undertake a joint study into the make up and management of Indonesia's foreign debt to see whether the international community could ease the massive burden. The proposed study will investigate how much in loans was pilfered by corrupt officials and see whether adjustments to payment schedules -- over and above those already agreed to by another one of Indonesia's creditors, the Paris Club -- can ease the burden on the new Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri. …

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