Business digest

HK's first Push-to-talk service launched

New World Mobility, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed New World Development, yesterday launched Hong Kong's first push-to-talk cellular service, called Press 'n Talk.

The service enables users to talk simultaneously with multiple handset users at the push of a button, provided they use designated handsets.

The service, based on general packet radio service (GPRS) technology, is similar to using a walkie-talkie

However, it offers much greater coverage and distance, including international calls and roaming.

New World Mobility is offering customers free trials until the end of next month.


'We believe this convenient, instant communication service will be well received by Hong Kong mobile users, particularly those who need to stay connected with others,' said Norman Wai, the company's president and chief executive.Toh Han Shih

wayward traders fined for cold calling

The Securities and Futures Commission has successfully prosecuted Lam Suk Kuen and Lau Chun Kwok for cold calling, to which both pleaded guilty.

Lam was fined $7,500 plus $8,158 in costs, while Lau was fined $5,000 plus $8,363 in costs.


An SFC investigation found that on various dates between April last year and January, Lam and Lau made unsolicited calls inducing members of the general public to enter into agreements for trading in futures contracts on foreign currencies and commodities.

During the time of the investigation, Lam and Lau were licensed representatives of Tanrich Futures.


The South China Morning Post earlier reported that about 1,000 investors suffered a paper loss of at least $300 million in the past few months.

They had invested in Japanese futures contracts, with at least 12 investors complaining they had been victims of cold-calling tactics.Toh Han Shih

Cosco unit expanding coal transport business


A Guangzhou-based subsidiary of state-owned shipping line Cosco Group will expand its coal-transportation business by setting up a 200 million yuan joint venture with a local power company.

Guangzhou Ocean Shipping, which focuses on bulk transportation, signed an agreement this week with Guangzhou Development Industry to take 50 per cent of Cosco Development, a company to be set up for coastal coal transportation.

'Partnering with Guangzhou Development will ensure a steady demand for our shipping service,' said a spokesman from the shipping line.


'The joint venture can also help our partner to cope with the capacity shortage problem.

'It's not easy to find vessels to move coal as it is in huge demand.'

Initially, Guangzhou Ocean Shipping will put in 160,000 tonnes of capacity - which is equivalent to three mid-size bulk vessels.

The company will focus on moving coal from Qinhuangdao in the north to Guangzhou Development's power plant in Guangdong city, which requires about three million tonnes of coal a year for electricity generation.

'We are also looking to tap the coal import market. We will increase our capacity at the joint venture to 500,000 tonnes eventually,' the spokesman said. Annette Chiu

developers awaiting direction from auction

Hang Lung Properties executive director Terry Ng Sze-yuen yesterday forecast the property market would stabilise after the land auction on October 12.

'The [property] market is now unclear. Everyone is awaiting the land auction. That's why there are not many new projects in the market,' said Mr Ng.

He added that many property developers had also stopped selling their projects.

The group will launch its latest property development AquaMarine in West Kowloon after the land auction. It will disclose the prices and number of units to be sold two weeks later. Show flats will open to public later this month. The project has 1,616 flats, ranging from 670 to 2,500 square feet.

Mr Ng declined to disclose whether Hang Lung would take part in the land auction, but said the company would make purchases only if the price were right.

He also said that the slight increase in interest rates last week had a negligible effect on the property market. Dikky Sinn