Hong Kong's spending on information technology services fell for the first time on record last year, as people spent 2 per cent less on IT services, according to research house Gartner Dataquest's latest report. Hong Kong information technology end-users spent a total of US$1.2 billion last year, lagging behind the 3 per cent year-on-year growth recorded by the Asia-Pacific IT services market. Gartner said the worldwide IT services industry saw revenue decline 0.6 per cent to US$536 billion last year. Shangri-la to operate eighth hotel in Malaysia Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has signed a management agreement with Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Sendirian to operate the Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The hotel, due to be opened in mid-2005 as part of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre development, will be the eighth in Malaysia for Shangri-La. Raw materials trim polyester firm's profits The net profit for Growth Enterprise Market-listed polyester product-maker Far Eastern Polychem Industry fell 57.73 per cent year on year to HK$13.25 million in this year's first quarter, despite turnover rising 13.13 per cent to HK$468.88 million. The profit decline was blamed on escalating raw material costs. Mainland takes over as top copper consumer China has surpassed the United States as the world's largest copper-consuming country, taking up 2.5 million tonnes - 17 per cent of the world's 15.2 million tonnes last year, the mainland's Economic Daily reported, quoting figures released by the International Copper Association. Securities commission safeguards get thumbs-up The government-appointed process review panel has confirmed that the Securities and Futures Commission has adequate safeguards in its internal procedures but urged it to speed up inspections and its handling of complaints. Production of Jiangxi Copper's mainstay up 22PC H share Jiangxi Copper produced 96,500 tonnes of copper cathode - its mainstay product - from January to April, up 22 per cent year on year. Gold production rose 41 per cent to 2,911kg. Federation of Insurers elects new chairman The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers has elected Edward Lau, of Manulife (International), as chairman. Hang Seng Insurance's Chan Kin-por was elected deputy chairman.