Disposal tax to check mountain of e-waste The central government will levy a new trash disposal tax on all foreign consumer electronics from July 1 next year, according to mainland media reports. The tax is designed to offset the cost of dealing with discarded computers, cathode ray tube monitors and other hardware that finds its way into mainland landfills. Much of the so-called 'e-waste', however, is not generated in China but overseas. In the United States, up to 80 per cent of what the country described as 'recyclable' electronics waste is sent to Asia, said green groups. One group estimated the US exported more than US$1 billion in electronic waste to China last year. ? Hong Kong at the top in mobile phone usage Hong Kong had the highest mobile-phone penetration rate in the region at 83 per cent, according to a study released last week by market researcher TNS. The figure was unchanged from last year, largely because anyone who wants a mobile phone has already bought one, said analyst Stephen Yap, adding that those who did not own one were 'rejectors' and were never likely to. Taiwan often claims to be a leader in mobile phone penetration, with a rate above 100 per cent. But Mr Yap said this was because some studies counted the number of mobile phone accounts relative to the overall population. TNS, on the other hand, counted the number of subscribers relative to population. Text messaging in Hong Kong, meanwhile, remained low because of low voice tariffs as a result of stiff competition. Hong Kong users sent an average of 23 short messages a month. Text messaging is more popular in places where voice packages are costly. Singaporeans send an average of 219 messages monthly, while the figure is 466 in the Philippines. ? Flurry of hotmail notes as users fall for hoax The 'hotmail hoax' was the most popular e-mail hoax last month, according to Sophos, a British computer security specialist. The hoax asked recipients to forward copies of an e-mail to 10 other hotmail users or face deletion of their hotmail account. No8 on the list was another Microsoft-related hoax, called the 'Bill Gates fortune'. Recipients of this e-mail are promised US$245 by Microsoft for every time the letter is forwarded to a friend. 'Administrators are advised to set up a company policy telling users not to forward hoaxes to friends or colleagues,' Sophos said.