October 5th, 2010
Customers who bought video game consoles at stores like Best Buy or GameStop in the past years were given notice of retail-supported extended warranties. The warranty plans, however, go by many names. Among its aliases are “customer care plans” and “product replacement plans.” Despite having different names, they function similarly; they allow consumers to return any defective purchased products without going through the hassles of customer service.
Sony Computer Entertainment aims to eliminate middleman activity by offering PlayStation Protection Plans for both the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation 3 (PS3). Consumers who bought a PS3 game console within the last year can now extend their repair warranties by a year for an affordable price of $45 and $60 for a two-year warranty. PlayStation Portable owners can likewise avail of the same offer: $30 for a one-year extension and $40 for two years. They can also choose to extend their plans in covering “accidental damages,” such as a cracked screen. This warranty should be purchased within its first month.
The PlayStation 3 is the third home game console manufactured by Sony, succeeding the PlayStation 2. The PS3, as part of the seventh generation of consoles, is a competitor of the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Xbox 360.
The PlayStation Portable, on the other hand, is a handy video game console also made and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment.
October 4th, 2010
The General Electric Company (GE) plans to expand its employment opportunities in Michigan. The company recently announced that it intends to employ 220 more workers in the said state as compared to its number of employees in 2009. As a result of this, in the next five years, GE will increase the sum of new occupations it established in Michigan to over 1,300.
GE announced the job opportunity news on the same day that it held a ribbon cutting event that launched the new building for software and enhanced production technology located in Wayne County.
GE’s new jobs will be incorporated into the company’s aviation business. The company will be adding around 90 jobs to a facility in Muskegon and an additional 130 jobs in a facility located close to the Van Buren Township.
GE is a United States-based multinational business company that is headquartered in the State of New York. Last year, Forbes magazine listed General Electric as one of the biggest companies known in the world. At present, the company has over 323,000 workers from across the globe.
September 29th, 2010
The US-Saudi Arabian Business Council and the CIT (Committee for International Trade) of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CS) held the Saudi-US Business Opportunities Forum last April 28th and 29th, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.
The forum focused on the increasing role of Saudi Arabia in the world’s financial circles, as well as the need to strengthen the business relationship between the United States and Saudi, as reported by the organizers.
The trade between the nations two years ago reached $68 billion. Back in 1970, it only crossed $160 million.
Saudi and US government representatives, particularly those in the industry and business sectors, were invited to be guest speakers at the event.
Some of these guests were:
• James Smith (United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia)
• Steven Chu (Energy Secretary)
• Timothy Geithner (Treasury Secretary)
• Gary Locke (US Commerce Secretary)
• Abdulrahman Al-Saeed (Royal Court adviser)
• Adel Al-Jubeir (Saudi Ambassador to the US)
• Gov. Abdulrahman Al-Tuwaijri (Capital Market Authority)
• Gov. Amr Al-Dabbagh (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority)
• Gov. Muhammad Al-Jasser (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency)
• Abdullah Zainal Alireza (Commerce and Industry Minister)
• Ibrahim Al-Assaf (Finance Minister)
Last May 2009, the CIT also partnered with NAF (the New America Foundation) in forming a discussion that addressed the condition of and prospects for the association between Saudi and the US.
August 30th, 2010
Barra Energia, a newly established independent oil company from Brazil, intended to form prospects in onshore and shallow water with $500 million in financial support from the First Reserve Corp.
According to Renato Tadeu Bertani (Thompson & Knight Energy Services chief executive officer ) and Joao Carlos de Luca (president of the Brazilian Petroleum and Gas Institute and formerly the Repsol YPF Brazil president), Barra Energia’s aim to pursue ultradeep breakthroughs offshore, along with an assumed tighter control over them by Brazil, made the shallow locations a point of opportunity.
Bertani said that because most of the focus has been on deep water, there is not much attention given to onshore and shallow water discoveries.
The company intended to implement new geologic models and enhanced technology to advanced areas of manufacturing to boost output, as much as the latest strategies have enabled businesses to use shale in developing gas production in the United States.
The initial deal was said to come soon, but the company founders did not disclose a particular date.
First Reserve Houston’s branch managing director, Will Honeybourne, said that this was the way America reinvents itself. He further added that since Brazil lacked capitalized independents, there are countless opportunities for improvement.
August 24th, 2010
Entrepreneurs and businesses that have contributed to the success of the relations between China and Singapore will now be rightfully acknowledged, as the first Business China Awards will be held on November 23rd 2010.
Honoring two decades of diplomatic partnership between these Asian nations, the Business China Awards organizers said that the event aims to strengthen the bond as the Chinese market continues to be productive, with a record of 12% growth in the first quarter of 2010.
According to Business China’s chairman, Chua Thian Poh, one of their aims is to persuade more Singaporeans to take up the China challenge.
The award, after being launched last year, opened to businesses and entrepreneurs from Greater China (Macau, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), as well as for those from Singapore.
The Business China Award is segregated into four categories, namely Business China Enterprise Award, Business China Young Achiever and Business China Excellence Award.
The judging criteria, according to the award organizers, will be inclusive and extensive.
Among the list of attributes that will be vital to communities in Singapore and China are effective administration and enterprise-corporate governance. This is according to Lim Chee Onn, Singapore’s Keppel Corporation senior adviser and a Business China director. In addition to this, he added that both countries were expecting to get better on the identified aspects.
August 16th, 2010
Insurance company Max New York Life had assumptions of a 15 to 20% increase in its premium collection between 2010 and 2011, after realizing the 2009 new business premium income stayed in the moderate status. The business has also taken on a 10-year tactical Bancassurance partnership with Axis Bank in efforts to increase sales.
To solidify the joint venture, Max India, which holds 74% of the stake in the company, decided to sell 4% of it to Axis. As a result, the stake acquisition will lower Max India’s shareholding to 70% in the insurance scheme.
According to Max India’s chief executive officer and managing director, Analjit Singh, the partnership is proof of the company’s commitment to bring the partnership and the business to a higher level. In addition to this, Singh also stressed the point that the stake partnership is not a financial venture.
Shikha Sharma, managing director and chief executive of Axis Bank, in turn, said that the concept of the venture was to have a common ground in expanding the business jointly. The bank’s stake in Max New York Life will reflect such an effort.
While Max New York Life has not yet paid premium for the partnership, both companies are still looking forward to getting profit from it, this is according to Max New York’s CEO and MD, Rajesh Sud. The insurer’s paid capital was about Rs 1,900 crore and the fixed month end value in March 2009 was at Rs 2,284 crore.
August 9th, 2010
In spite of issues on global financial flux and inflationary pressures in India, the Indian business sector is positive that there will be better opportunities happening in the future, particularly in the first half of the present fiscal year that will end in March 2011, according to a survey by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
CII’s survey revealed that there was a 1.5 point boost in the BCI to the 67.6 level over the earlier survey that measured business mood for six months, which ended in March of 2010. On the other hand, the progress in the business sentiment, as seen by an increase in the BCI, was average compared to a 7.4 point improvement in the latter survey, which was compared to the period between April and September 2009.
CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said that although there was only a moderate increase, it was crucial to mention that it was on a “high base of the previous survey.” When it was compared with last year – the period from April-September 2009 – the Business Confidence Index (BCI) tallied almost nine points. The total index denoted the assumptions from the financial system in the current status, as well as in the next few months.
The survey, which covered over 450 businesses in India, showed that business outlook for the services area – counting the outsourcing sector – is quite higher than the total business sentiment. It likewise indicated that three in four businesses intended to boost their investments in the future, whereas two-thirds of the respondents were sure of growth in exports in the next months.
July 28th, 2010
The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group of China signed a binding deal to purchase the ailing Volvo Cars from leading manufacturer Ford Motor Co for $1.8 billion.
“I can confirm that a final agreement on the sale of Volvo to Geely was signed at 2:40 pm,” Volvo Cars’ spokesperson Per-Ake Froberg said last March 28, 2010.
A news conference was then organized at Volvo’s headquarters in Goteborg, which is located on the west coast of Sweden. During the conference, representatives of both companies stated that regulatory approvals have to be completed before the deal is totally sealed.
The transaction, which is expected to be finished by the third quarter of the year, is going to be paid through cash and a $200 million note.
Ford has been planning to sell its problematic Volvo component ever since 2008, so that it can more effectively manage its other car brands, namely Mercury, Lincoln and Ford.
However, the transaction will bring only a third of the $6.4 billion Ford paid in order to buy the Swedish luxury car brand in 1999.
At present, there are over 22,000 people working for Volvo across the world, and more than half of them are located in Sweden. Some unions within the company were against the deal at first because of possible job layoffs and ambiguous expansion plans.
July 28th, 2010
The observation deck of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, has finally been re-opened. The deck was shut two months ago after an elevator accident caused visitors to be trapped more than 120 stories above the ground. During the opening ceremony, dozens of tourists visited and bought tickets to take an elevator ride to the top floor of the half-mile high superstructure located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Burj Khalifa’s was forced to close its observation deck in February after an elevator filled with visitors malfunctioned, leaving visitors trapped in the tower for 45 minutes. Rescuers had to drop a ladder to into the shaft so that those inside could escape the defective elevator. Two months after the incident, people still have no clue as to what caused the elevator to fail.
The unforeseen accident was very embarrassing for Dubai for its leaders hoped that the soaring building could attract more tourists as well as revive the advanced, cosmopolitan image the metropolis has earned in the past.
With a height of 2,717 ft (828 meters), this sky high tower not only is the world’s tallest skyscraper, but is also the tallest freestanding building in the world.
Burj Dubai has over 160 stories, although the number of floors isn’t exactly known.
July 26th, 2010
The people of the Unites States have long been enjoying relatively low interest rates. However, with the nation still gradually recovering from the economical downturn, consumers will face the financial problem of higher interest rates.
Economists are expecting interest rates to grow since the nation aims to surmount its increasing debt as well as prevent rising trends.
“Americans have assumed the roller coaster goes one way,” said Bill Gross, the co-founder of the investment firm PIMCO. “It’s been a great thrill as rates descended, but now we face an extended climb,” Gross added.
For 30-year house loans, for instance, the interest rate has gone up from 5 to more than 5.2%. As for fixed mortgage, the average rate rose from 5.08 to 5.21%, said the mortgage company Freddie Mac.
According to economists, the average rate of 30-year home loans may also reach up to 6%, which was the level that was last observed in November 2008.
In addition, the interest rate of a 15-year fixed rate mortgage has also increased from 4.39 to 4.52% last week.
The impact of the interest rate hike will be felt by the housing industry the most. What with all these statistics, mortgage rates are not likely to go any lower than their present levels.