|Autumn 2003 Issue 3|
Global Communications Technology Praised for Role in Slowing the Early Spread of the SARS Epidemic
World E-government Experts Share Successful Cases in HK
E-Awareness Seminar for Asian Parliamentarians
SMEs Boost Asian IT Market
IDC: SARS to Deliver $1 Billion Hit to Asia's IT Market
SARS Hurting Asian IT Sales
NEC in Asian IP Network Venture
South Korea Overtakes Japan in Electronics
Largest LCD Manufacturing Base Planned in Beijing
RoboCup 2005 in Osaka: Mayor's Press Conference
Gartner: Services Revenue to Grow, Especially in Asia-Pacific
Preparation Meeting for World Info Summit Opens
US IT Firms to Participate in ITCN Asia 2003
CeBIT Asia 2003 to Be Held in Shanghai
World Radiocommunication Conference Concludes
The ASEAN Science & Technology Unit: Event & Meeting for 2003
Asia's Carrier CEO Conference
Int'l Meeting on Information Display (IMID 2003)
CHINA: Trial E-government Standards Issued for Evaluation
China Joined WTO`s Information Technology Agreement
Shanghai: Outline Informatization Work 2003
Hong Kong: Guideline on the Sharing and Use of Consumer Credit Data Through A Credit Reference Agency
Shanghai: New Steps Taken to Build Transparent Government
Shanghai: Government Opens Up
Hong Kong: Competition Policy Advisory Group Report 2002-2003
IRAN: Steps Up Net Censorship
JAPAN: Guidelines for Subcontracting Information System Operation, Including Personal Information
Japan: MPHPT Approves Venture Firm's Business Plan in Telecommunications and Broadcast Fields
Draft of Japan E-Government Plan Was Released (Japanese)
Plans Revision Based on the "Tsukuba Science City Construction Act"
Kawasaki 21 Industrial Strategy
SOUTH KOREA: Seoul to Spur IT Investment
Military Satellite Channel to Open in 2004
BURMA: State Library Actively Trying to Narrow Digital Divide
SINGAPORE: Telecom Regulation Could Break Some Eggs
Some Headway Made Against Software Piracy
THAILAND: Govt Finance Gets IT Boost
INDIA: Bihar Legislators to Become Hi-Tech
Use IT Skills for National Growth- Kalam
India Moves to Keep Foreign Data Secret
SRI LANKA: New Legislations to Curb Credit Card Frauds
PAKISTAN: Target for Country's Software Export Set Between $ 50 to 60 Million
Govt to Encourage Open Market Competition in IT
Fiji and Cook Islands Study High-Speed Internet Powerline Plan
AUSTRALIA: No Date Yet for Start of Hi-Tech Law-Making
Cyber-Crime Costs $1.5 Trillion
Midas Touch for Hi-Tech Crime
Australian Government Tries to Push Through Media Laws
Australia Joins Net Fraud Group
Alston's Super Regulator Resurfaces
Computer Crime Center Launched
NEW ZEALAND: Hacking Bill Gets Dusted Off
500 NZers in Web Offences
CHINA: Shanghai to Set Up Post of Chief Information Officer
Shanghai: E-Commerce Plays Remarkable Role in SARS Period
Hong Kong: Online Change of Address Service Unveiled
Shanghai: Official Finance Website Launched
Hong Kong: Internet Content Rating System Is Launched
Shanghai: Government Publicizes Work Progress on Website
Shanghai: `Easy Payment` Project Launched
Hong Kong: Appointment of Commissioner for Innovation and Technology
Shanghai: `Fugitive Network` Helps Police
China Business Network Makes Debut in Shanghai
Hong Kong: Outsourcing Enhances IT Management Effectiveness
Hong Kong: Free IT Advisory Services for Business Launched
Shanghai: Personnel Bureau Launches Online Service
Shanghai: Tax Data Online
Shanghai Completed Status Survey of City Enterprise Informatization
JAPAN: Matsue to Introduce Electronic Balloting System
E-Government Construction Plan Adopted
SOUTH KOREA: Seoul to Launch IT Task Force
Gov't Introduces E-Mail Filter
Ahn Named Best Role Model for CEO
Govt, Scientists Try to Boost Advanced Technologies
The Best Administration Service for Citizens
BURMA: Defence Ministry Sets Up ICT Centres at 10 Camps
Musa Reminds Sabah Schools of ICT's Role
PHILIPPINES: DTI Campaigns for Use of ICT Among Small Firms
SINGAPORE: IDA's Proposed Changes Could Spark Telco M&As
Introduction of Internet Applications for Employment Passes via EPOnline
Employment and Learning Opportunities Brought to Doorstep of Heartlanders
FTA Benefits and Info to Go on Website Soon
VIETNAM: Banking Sector Holds Great Potentials for IT Introduction
E-Commerce Draft Blows in Govt Direction
BHUTAN: Better Telecommunication Services for Kanglung
INDIA: Delhi Transport Department Goes Online
Pvt Firms to Access Employment Exchange Data
IT Hub Slated at Rajarhat
Police Stations Will Be Networked Soon
SRI LANKA: E-Governance to Make Govt- Public Interaction Easier
MALDIVES: President Gayoom Launches Computerized National ID Card
Telecommunication Services in Maldives Efficient Compared to Rest of South Asia
Justice Ministry Implements JISM
PAKISTAN: Punjab Govt Website a Bundle of Confusions
Islamabad: Centre Set Up to Computerize Development Plans Record
AUSTRALIA: Grants a-Plenty for E-Business
NOIE Suffers $8.6m Cutback
Security Network Gets a $25m Lift
Queensland Budget Delivered Online
Victorian Councils Spread Their Net
FIJI: Telecom to Link Rural Areas by Satellite
Niue Becomes Wireless Net Nation
NEW ZEALAND: GPs to Be Linked Online
E-Government Unit Seeks New Boss
City Council Moving to Web Payment System
Govt Portal Bypassed
N. China City to Become Largest Handset Producer in Asia
CHINA: Hong Kong - 2003 Annual Survey on Information Technology Usage and Penetration in the Business Sector
Information Technologies Highlighted in Beijing's SARS Hospital
Shanghai: City Keen on Zhangjiang High-tech Park Development
Digital Project Launched for Yellow River
Ebay Invests $Us150 Mln in Shanghai E-Commerce Site
Hong Kong: Cyberport Emerges from Blueprints to Reality
Beijing to Set Up Base for Headquarters of High-tech Enterprises
Macao: PC Enters 64.9 Percent of Households - Survey
30 Million Viewers to Tune into Digital TV
Beijing Cable Action Draws Increasing Criticism
Shanghai: Local Surfing Project in Progress
Telephone Users in China Number 472mln by End of June
JAPAN: Qualified IT Staff Still Thin on Ground
Schoolboy Hacks 140 Internet Sites to Protest War
Central Tokyo Reborn: Redeveloped Areas Bursting with Cosmopolitan Verve
Kansai Science City
Objectives of the Construction of Kansai Science City
Japan Sees Broadband Users Tripling by 2007
Kitakyushu E-PORT Project
Kitakyushu Science and Research Park
SOUTH KOREA: Local e-Biz Environment Ranked 16th in World
Cyberbank to Roll Out Multimedia PDA Models
Credit Card Use Crashes in 2003
Systematic Preliminary Evaluation of Local R&D Project
Daejeon, A New Mecca of Media Industry
E-Commerce Deals Top W170 Trillion
Online Translation Service Available for Businessmen
Online Booksellers Biting the Dust
Korea Records a Surge in Patents for Safe e-Commerce
Online One-Price Shops Boom Amid Sluggish Economy
Seoul Lags in Hub Qualities
Seoul City Opens Integrated Web Site
KAZAKHSTAN: Free Internet Access Summer Camp in Kzylorda
Electronics Manufacturers See Strong Prospects
BURMA: Broadband Internet Outlet Launched in Perlis
Improved Internet Technology in Store for Local Users
PHILIPPINES: No Gender Equality in ICT, Says Women's Group
Cebu Branch Launches First Internet Cafe in Jollibee System
1T More Public Schools to Get Computers: DTI
Globe Telecom Creates Wireless Internet Zone
New Intel Chip Tech Launched in Cebu
Antonio: IT as Commodity
SINGAPORE: Online Shopping Catches On--Net Banking Slow to Take Off
More S'pore Firms Take to E-Learning
Information Glut Spurs S'pore's External Storage Market
Shoppers' Paradise? It's Just A Click Away
S'pore Aims for Piece of The Growing IT Outsourcing Business
S'pore Widens Reach of Online Public Services
THAILAND: e-City Costs High
Thailand to Link 7,300 More Schools to Internet
VIETNAM: Boutique IT Firm Taps Incentives Offered by Govt
Viet Nam's First E-Market, Vnet, Is Online for Business
Hanoi Capital Mobilization Up 22.8%
Prospects of E-commerce in Vietnam
Has World's Lowest Teledensity: ITU
BHUTAN: ATM Service to Start in July
INDIA: Telemedicine-Taking the Best Health Care to the Poor
Delhi Tops Teledensity List, Punjab Comes Second
Smart Card Market to Touch $22 Mn by 2005: Frost & Sullivan
Govt Allows E-Air Tickets
Indian Railways to Provide Broadband Internet on Rails: Nitish
India Ranks Ahead of China in Network, E-Commerce Readiness
SRI LANKA: BASL Website
MALDIVES: Special Website on SARS Set Up on Haveeru Online
Lahore: New Tax Forms on CBR Website
Cyber-Crime Threatens Business, Says Minister
Melbourne in Running to Be ID Firm's Regional HQ
Fingerprint Access Technology Tested in Sydney
Sydney Developer Unveils Web-Based Storage System
NEW ZEALAND: Smart Cards Raise Cost of Eftpos
E-farming Sprouts Roots
Card Spurs Online Buying
One-Stop Shop for Business
Online Identity Plan Carries High Cost, Little Gain: Expert
Enterprise Portal & Web Services Conference 2003 / Hong Kong
E-Government Summit Hong Kong 2003
JAPAN: Designated Cities' Mayors Conference
2004 Japan-U.S. Cities Summit in Hiroshima: the Mayor's Message
SOUTH KOREA: AMCHAM Hosting HR Seminar
Korea Records a Surge in Patents for Safe e-Commerce
Workshop on "IT Beyond Tomorrow"
PHILIPPINES: Communications Expo Returns to Cebu
ICT Show Exhibit Opens on Friday
e-PLDT To Set Up Wireless Hotspots
THAILAND: Computer Games Aim to Educate Young
Thaksin to Preside Over ICT Expo Next Month
TOT Training for Tambons
VIETNAM: IT Forum Showcases The Best of Wares
Country Lacks Quality IT Professionals
SRI LANKA: High Level Forum to Facilitate E-Government Vision
Lanka's IT Professionals on Par with Those in Advanced Countries - Harris Corp. USA Director
NEPAL: Crown Prince Inaugurates IT Conference
Info-Tech Fair Kicks Off
PAKISTAN: Rs35 Million IT Project for NUST Approved
Career Information Comes to Fraser Coast
New Employment Workshop for Migrant Women
Seminars Set to Help Brisbane Youth
NSW Spends Up on Education IT
$10m for IT Training
NEW ZEALAND: Wellington Hosts Inaugural Festival of Technology
The Seminars for the South Pacific Computer Society (SPACS) 2003:
Singapore -- The APEC Emerging Infections Network (EINet) has cited the value of e-mail and other global information technologies for providing early warning on the dangers of the SARS epidemic. The use of global communications technology has enabled health professionals to communicate and compare first-hand experience of the evolving SARS virus at a very early stage. It is hoped this early information sharing, that was enabled by the APEC Emerging Infections Network, slowed the early spread of the SARS virus and consequently saved lives. This observation was made in a report prepared by the EINet, which is based at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, for distribution in APEC member economies and APEC forums. EINet Director, Dr. Ann Marie Kimball, said in the report that the sharing of early information through informal channels provided benefits that were not possible before the wide-spread use of modern technologies. "It is hoped that the use of e-mail, online information services, and other informal communication between health workers in the region saved lives by alerting health practitioners to the developing dangers of the virus," Dr. Kimball noted in the report. "This is a form of early warning and communication that would not have been possible if the SARS Virus had appeared ten years ago." The report entitled 'Lessons of SARS: The APEC/EINet Experience,' offers three lessons that have become apparent since the emergence of SARS. The report notes that modern technologies have the potential to save lives by removing time and space as a barrier to the communication of crucial medical information. Secondly that health care professionals in the field utilize and appreciate the value of online resources such as EINet to share information about serious emerging medical issues. Finally the report notes that the use of informal networks of communication between health-care and policy-making interest groups lead to better decisions made in the field. APEC is most proud of the work and efforts of the EINet in protecting the prosperity of the region. APEC EINet was launched in 1996 by APEC as a response mechanism to the threat that infections such as SARS pose to the economic and social health of the region. The full report is available at the EINet website: www.APEC.org/infectious .
From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 05/06/2003
International experts in the field of e-government gathered in Hong Kong Tuesday to attend the "e-Government Summit Hong Kong 2003," sharing their specific insights and successful cases. Governments across Asia Pacific region are launching ambitious e-government initiatives. They are using information technologies to transform government operations in order to achieve a more effective, responsive, and transparent government, said Gary Fung, managing director of the International Data Group (IDG) World Expo (Asia) Ltd., the organizer of the summit. IDG report illustrates that spending on e-government initiatives will claim a growing portion of public sector's IT spending in the years ahead. E-government has become a key priority for many governments. With regards to the end-users adoption, research showed that the percentage of population who use online government services are also growing steadily in Asia Pacific, with Singapore ranking the highest online user rate, followed by Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, according to Fung. However, many experts suggest that governments in Asia are still in the primary stages of e-government, where they have a narrow focus on providing electronic services and achieving agency-by-agency operational efficiency without fully considering the benefits they can achieve by approaching it as an e-business transformation. This conference is an excellent opportunity for participants to hear from industry leaders and share their effective tools, knowledge and strategies to dramatically improve public services and reduce costs in the information age, said Fung. The two-day summit will offer 10 keynotes and 19 general sessions for top technical minds from all level of government and the private sector.
From Xinhua News Agency 07/16/2003
The first of the e-Awareness seminar series for Asian Parliamentarians (e-ASSAP) will be held at the Colombo Plaza on July 21st and 22nd. About forty parliamentarians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will attend the seminar. This e-awareness seminar series of parliamentarians is planned to assist countries to succeed in their respective Information & Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and aims at sensitizing Asian parliamentarians and senior-decision makers managing Parliamentary Affairs to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as powerful tools of development. In today's world where ICTs are making considerable impact on political, economic and social structures, it is increasingly important that elected representatives take on an imperative role in the management of change within their communities specially where ICT is used for development. Among the topics that are being discussed are ICT and society which focuses on technology evolution and its impact on society; issues and challenges in ICT induction such as change management, technology, process re-engineering; knowledge gap issues; social, employment and income generation issues; ICT policy framework development; which includes infrastructure, content, security, legal issues; citizen service and business issues; and the role of Parliamentarians in ICT for development, highlighting vision and leadership for policy evolution, the role of leaders as agents of change, and the use of ICT for local area development. Case studies representing "best practice" from various countries in the region are also being presented. This seminar is being organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) in collaboration with Sarvodaya and Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC). The inaugural ceremony is being held on July 31st and Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Economic Reforms, Science and Technology will deliver the keynote address. Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Michael Perera, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Leader of the Opposition and Miguel Bermeo-Estrella, Resident Representative of the UNDP will participate.
From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 07/18/2003
Small businesses buoyed Asia-Pacific's IT (information technology) market last year, except for Japan, despite a weak global economy. IT spending last year by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, grew 4.1 per cent, technology data tracking firm IDC reported last week. The growth rate was higher than any other market segment. SMEs spent US$28.4 billion in information technology last year, accounting for 45 per cent of the region's total IT spending. The overall IT market last year in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, recorded a year-on-year growth of 2.6 per cent. Half of the SMEs' IT budgets were spent on hardware, indicate IDC statistics. Spending on IT services, packaged software and network equipment accounted for 28 per cent, 12 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. IDC predicts SMEs' IT spending this year will be twice that of 2002. "We predict SMEs will continue their IT spending momentum this year, and will achieve a growth rate above 9 per cent," said Wilvin Chee, associate director of IDC's software research. The growth rate is expected to reach 9.5 per cent. "Over the next two years, we anticipate the growth rates to be more steep. By 2005, growth should stabilize at around 13-14 per cent," Chee said. IDC predicted in an earlier report the region's overall IT market this year would grow 7.6 per cent. The market is expected to rebound significantly next year. Analysts predict the growth rate will hit 11.7 per cent. The revival will be fuelled mainly by the pick-up of China and India's IT markets, the IDC said. China and India's hardware markets are expected to grow 11.8 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, each year until 2007, spurring growth of the region's IT market. China's IT market is forecast to grow 12 per cent this year, to US$25 billion from US$22.3 billion last year. Market growth last year hit a record low of 2 per cent. It was hurt mainly by capital expenditure cutbacks by Chinese telecoms operators. The spread of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus, which has claimed hundreds of lives and disrupted some business activities in the region, could significantly dent growth prospects, IDC warned. In the Asia-Pacific region, SARS has hit the Chinese mainland the hardest. However, SARS has not disrupted the IT supply chain in either the region or the world. But analysts say the possibility cannot be ruled out until the disease is brought under control. IDC predicts SMEs' spending this year on IT services will grow 12.6 per cent, while spending on network equipment will grow 10 per cent. Sales of packaged software are expected to reach just below 10 per cent, while sales of hardware are expected to grow 7.3 per cent. A recent survey by IDC indicated knowledge management, wireless solutions and infrastructure management this year will become the three hottest potential investment areas by SMEs in the region. Eighty-two per cent of the region's SMEs are most interested in deploying knowledge-management software. Seventy-nine per cent of SMEs have expressed a willingness to review wireless solutions, which has dispelled beliefs only large companies are interested in such solutions. Seventy-six per cent of the SMEs said they were interested in deploying infrastructure-management software. SMEs' awareness about protecting IT investments has increased. Sixty-five per cent of the SMEs said they planned this year to look into security solutions. Half of the SMEs said they would look into e-commerce deployments this year. Much-touted Web services remain a low priority for SMEs, with only 37 per cent showing interest. Although business intelligence was a highly anticipated growth area, it clocked a lukewarm 39 per cent. IDC's annual survey found most SMEs' IT investments were aimed at reducing costly and laborious manual processing. Some have already begun implementing measures aimed at increasing efficiency. Only a handful of SMEs have focused their IT investments on streamlining their operations by implementing tightly integrated systems aimed at increasing their competitiveness and gaining access to new markets, IDC noted. IDC's survey covered 12 nations and territories in Asia-Pacific - the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
From http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/ 05/13/2003
Effects related to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) will knock $1 billion off the overall IT market in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) for 2003, according to research released today by IDC. The decline to $76.1 billion from earlier estimates of $77.1 billion represents a reduction in growth from 7.6% to 6.1%, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC said. The greatest relative impact will be felt in Hong Kong, where the market will fall 2.9% short of earlier forecasts because of concerns about SARS. Other countries affected will be China (revised down 2.1%), Singapore (down 2%), Malaysia (down 1.9%), Taiwan (down 1.9%) and Korea (down 1.3%), IDC said. In absolute terms, China will feel the greatest impact, losing around $550 million of business from its annual IT market of more than $25 billion. The estimate assumes that the SARS outbreak has peaked in the south of China and won't spread to population and trade centers such as Shanghai, IDC said. The impact will be concentrated in the second quarter of the year; the IT market is expected to fall 4.7% short of earlier forecasts for that period. In the third quarter, the impact will be 0.9%, and no impact is expected by the fourth quarter, IDC said. The consumer market has been the hardest-hit sector of the market in SARS-affected countries, causing problems especially for "white-box" vendors whose products are aimed at consumers. In China, where local PC vendors dominate the consumer sector, this could lead to some consolidation among vendors, IDC said.
From http://www.computerworld.com/ 05/23/2003
SARS could shave one billion dollars off the information technology (IT) market in the Asia-Pacific region outside Japan in 2003 but the recovery is likely to be rapid, an industry monitor said. The International Data Corp (IDC) "expects the market to now reach 76.1 billion dollars in 2003, as compared with the previous forecast of 77.1 billion dollars, an impact of one billion dollars", a statement said. The effects of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic will be particularly hard on consumer spending on personal computers (PCs) especially in China, the worst-hit country, the IDC said. Much of the impact is expected to be felt in the second quarter of 2003. The SARS epidemic broke out in the region in March, after having largely been restricted to southern China since November. "The SARS outbreak has clearly depressed market demand but it has also changed some working and consumer habits," IDC Vice President Kitty Fok said. "In some cases, this will have enduring consequences once the outbreak has abated and become more controlled." The IDC urged vendors to "prepare for the market pick-up" once the SARS scare eases. "It is quite likely that the recovery will be rapid and preparation for marketing and promotional plans should be underway," it said.
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/26/2003
NEC will work with China Netcom subsidiary Asia Netcom Japan Corp. to build an IPv6 network with transmission speeds up to 6 Mbps and TV-like video data resolution. NEC will provide equipment for constructing the IPv6 network, including routers, while Asia Netcom will provide an Asian portion of the undersea cable network that China Netcom acquired from failed U.S. telecommunications carrier Global Crossing Ltd. The network will allow corporate users to hold teleconferences and provide employee training by connecting offices and factories throughout Asia. Combined with databases and information systems, the system will enable users to transmit data on product design, output, and materials procurement during teleconferences. The partners aim for 5 billion yen ($43 million) in sales after the first three years, and will initially target Japanese companies in non-Japan Asia. Domestic telecommunications firms and related equipment manufacturers are expanding their next-generation IPv6 operations in the hopes of taking a lead role in creating the new network spearheaded by Asian companies. More than 70% of Internet addresses under the current IPv4 network are owned by U.S.-based companies. IPv6 is expected to alleviate the death of addresses for Asia, which is projecting a sharp increase in Internet users. The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications predicts that the next-generation, Internet-related domestic market will be worth 170 trillion yen by 2010.
From http://www.carriersworld.com/ 06/03/2003
South Korea has begun to overtake Japan on the global electronics market. Samsung and LG are making aggressive investments on the back of surging exports, while Japanese counterparts are mired in a lengthy recession. Japanese big brand names such as Sony, Matsushita, Fujitsu, Toshiba and NEC have been experiencing plunging profits due mainly to frozen domestic consumption. Moody's has hinted at a downgrade for Sony's credit rating. The rating agency downgraded ratings for Toshiba, Fujutsu and NEC by a notch each last March. Sony, Japan's biggest electronics firm, posted 111.1 billion yen in net losses for the first quarter of the year, doubling its losses of 54.6 billion yen recorded a year ago. Matshshita ended up with 400 billion in losses last year. Fijutsu, Toshiba and NEC suffered declines in sales by 12.7 percent, 13 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively. According to Bloomberg, Toshiba shares have slid 41 percent in the past 12 months, and NEC's have dropped 49 percent. Hitachi is down 52 percent, Mitsubishi has lost 50 percent and Fujitsu has fallen 62 percent. They are responding to the slump by merging or tying up related companies. Sanyo merged its refrigerator production arm with another subsidiary. It also consolidated four semiconductor makers under its control. NTT, Hitachi and Matsushita signed a pact to jointly research e-commerce services. Toshiba and Matsushita merged their liquid crystal display production units to set up Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology. Job cuts were another solution for the sputtering Japanese firms. Toshiba and NEC respectively slashed 5,000 and 14,000 jobs last year. Hitachi made drastic job cuts of 20,350 staff. Opposite Current In sharp contrast to their Japanese counterparts, Korean electronics firms are cruising as their exports grow about 15 percent every year. According to international information industry research firm IDC, LG Electronics captured 5.2 percent of the global mobile handset market, surpassing Sony. Samsung Electronics is the stable third runner with a 12.3 percent global share behind Nokia (35.5 percent) and Motorola (15.5 percent). IDC reported that the top three vendors on the brand name cathode ray tube monitor market were LG Electronics (19.8 per cent). Mitsubishi (15.1 per cent) and Philips (14.5 per cent). On the branded LCD market, Samsung holds top spot (15.4 per cent), LG (14 per cent) and Mitsubishi (13.9 per cent). LG is also expected to reach the world's top status in plasma display panel TV production. Samsung and LG have secured three key technologies in digital TV, digital TV chipsets, PDP and LCD. Samsung plans to invest 9.8 trillion won in research and capital investment this year and LG's investment will amount to 1.8 trillion won. Bloomberg reports that Japan's top five chipmakers plan to invest a quarter less in their chip businesses combined than Samsung alone.
0A giant manufacturing base for liquid crystal display (LCD) with thin-film technology (TFT), the largest of its kind in China, will be built in Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone. The zone has signed an agreement with Beijing Dongfang Science and Technology Corp. to build the industrial base in the country'scapital city. The project, divided into three construction phases, will be capable of producing TFT-LCD modules by the end of the first phaseof construction at the end of this year. The investment for the first phase project, which is expected to be put into operation bythe end of this year, is 1.2 billion US dollars. As a core technology used in pure-plane display products, TFT-LCD will be used in electrical household appliances, computers, mobile phones and digital cameras, according to experts. The start-up of the production line will break the existing industrial pattern dominated by Japan and the Republic of Korea and make Beijing Dongfang a competitive producer in the world. Following ten years of development, the company has formed its product series with display technology at the core. Its principal products enjoy a dominant market share at home and abroad. The agreement between the two sides marks the beginning of Beijing Dongfang's strategic ascent to the new generation of digital plane-display technology, a source from the company said. Beijing Dongfang became the only company in China with core TFT-LCD technology when it purchased Hyundai Display Tech co., Ltd. for 380 million US dollars in January 2003, the source added.
People's Daily 06/12/2003
In my view, robot technologies that assist people in our daily life have the potential to be the leading industry of the 21st century. Because we live in an aging society, we need to develop various types of robots that facilitate our lives, and this is a field in which Japan can make good use of its technology. This is a field that deserves our attention, and the City of Osaka would also like to be involved in enabling greater practical use of robot technology. Thus, I would like to speak today regarding robot technology. First, RoboCup 2003 is currently being held in Padua, Italy, and on July 4 the RoboCup Federation will meet to determine the host city for RoboCup 2005. The City of Osaka, represented by the Director General of the Economic Affairs Bureau, will make a presentation at the meeting of the Board of Trustees. Osaka is likely to be selected, as it is the only city to officially bid for the event. If RoboCup 2005 is held in Osaka, it will present very interesting opportunities for us. Second, Osaka will host the RoboCup Japan Open in 2004. The City has recruited contestants for this event and three groups have applied. The judges decided to adopt the proposal of one group and support them as the "dream team" of the Osaka event. This is a unique opportunity to show the strength of Osaka's industry and technology, and I hold strong hopes that cooperation between industry and academia will lead to the development of a sophisticated robot. Third, I would like to talk about the establishment of a study group for the creation of next-generation robotics industries. The City of Osaka established the Study Group for Robotics Industries Promotion in December 2002. This group formulated a set of basic guidelines entitled "The Robot Knowledge Society: Framework for Next-Generation RT Development." The new group was launched based on these guidelines to discuss the creation of a market for next-generation robots that will assist in daily life. Professor Minoru Asada of Osaka University will chair the group. Robot technology is designated as a priority field in the city's programs for urban regeneration. The study group is to work out concrete measures for the promotion and development of robot-related industries, the creation of markets and opportunities, and the promotion of human resources development. Immediate tasks for the group would be to formulate a "roadmap" towards the creation of industries as well as business matching systems. We hope to incorporate the outcome of discussions by the new study group into the city's policies for robot industry promotion. At the same time, we look forward to working closely with local business organizations such as the Kansai Economic Federation, the national government, and other relevant organizations for the promotion of next-generation robot technology.
From http://www.city.osaka.jp/ 06/26/2003
The global IT services market is forecast to surpass $707 billion by 2007, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7%, according to Gartner Inc. The primary drivers for growth will be spending by governments, manufacturing, communications and financial services, the Stamford, Conn.-based research company announced in Mumbai, India, Wednesday at its Gartner Summit India 2003. The highest growth in spending on IT services will be witnessed by the Asia-Pacific region, at 9.5% CAGR from 2003 to 2007, followed by Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Japan, Latin America, North America and finally Western Europe, according to Gartner. Within the Asia-Pacific region, the Indian and Chinese markets are expected to experience the most growth. The growth in the global IT services market is likely to provide opportunities for IT services companies in India, whose revenues come primarily from outsourcing from the U.S. and Europe. Gartner described offshore outsourcing as the world's fastest-growing IT industry segment. From 2002 through 2007, offshore IT services is expected to grow by 29% CAGR, while offshore business-process outsourcing is forecast to grow by 68% CAGR, according to Gartner. But the market for IT services is getting competitive, even for leading outsourcing locations like India, according to Gartner. "Application development and maintenance has long been the stronghold of Indian IT service providers, but increasingly, due to low entry barriers, providers from other developing countries are actively pursuing such offshore provisions," said Craig Baty, chief of research at Gartner's Global IT Management Sector. In a recently concluded user study by Gartner titled "Total Cost of Engagement (TCE) Offshore vs. Nearshore," three engagement models were evaluated on parameters such as direct cost, indirect cost, productivity losses cost and risk/convenience cost. The results indicated that for a U.S.-based customer, cost could be significantly lower when processes were outsourced to a near-shore destination such as Mexico rather than to an offshore destination like India, under certain circumstances. "The future for Indian IT service providers is to consider co-opetition with the emerging near-shore destinations to garner a larger share of the global opportunity," said Rita Terdiman, vice president and research director for offshore sourcing at Gartner.
From http://www.computerworld.com/ 07/17/2003
The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) on Friday (May 23) opened a two-day preparatory meeting for the World Summit on Information Society. The meeting is designed to coordinate the country' specific concerns including information security, legal framework, standardization and wireless Internet application, the MIC said. The WSIS conference will be held in two phases. The first phase will take place in Geneva in December 2003 and the second phase will be opened in Tunis in November 2005.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PNS) - The commercial Counselor of Pakistan in New York Muhammad Aslam has assured that top IT companies and associations here in USA will participate in ITCN Asia 2003, a mega IT event which will be held in August. He said, the Commercial Division of the Consulate General has started a promotional campaign to highlight the possibilities of business opportunities such as investments, collaboration and outsourcing ventures available in the IT sector of Pakistan. The Commercial Counselor said that he has transmitted the Information related to ITCN Asia 2003 to all concerned departments based in United States. He said the efforts of Government of Pakistan and other organizers of ITCN Asia 2003 for organizing such a mega IT exhibition and conference in Pakistan which will not only promote Information Technology but also leave a positive impact on our economy by attracting foreign investors and experts all around the world. Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry the apex body of 57 Member countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has once again endorsed the holding of ITCN Asia 2003, to be held at Karachi Expo Centre and Hotel Sheraton Karachi and is organized by Federal Ministry of Investment and Privatization in collaboration with Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Pakistan Software Export Board, Board of Investment and e-commerce Gateway of Singapore.
From http://www.paknews.com/ 06/01/2003
The International Trade Fair for Information and Communications Technology for China and Asia-Pacific Region (CeBIT Asia) will be held from Sept. 18 to 21 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. To date, 80 percent of the booths have been booked, and world-renowned companies such as Siemens, NEC, Samsung, Hitachi and Sonyhave applied to attend. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Germany-based Hanover Exhibition Co. and China branch. The organizers say that, despite the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), confidence has been restored through the effective measures taken by the government. It is expected that 550 companies and over 60,000 professionals will attend the exhibition, which covers 33,000 square meters. The exhibition will also include a three-day forum during which chief executive officers of well-known multinationals will give speeches and attend discussions. The special exhibition will cover future technology, Linux, banking technology and software.
From Xinhuanet 06/17/2003
Geneva - The World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) concluded, after four-weeks of negotiations, with a blueprint for the global radiocommunication sector that reflects its current and future needs. The WRC is the international forum where Members States gather to revise an international treaty known as the Radio Regulations. It contains frequency allocations for more than 40 radiocommunication services ranging from amateur and professional radio services to mobile wireless technologies and satellite communications. A number of landmark decisions were taken by the conference to deal with the increasing pressure placed the radio frequency spectrum, which is a limited natural resource. The demand for spectrum is the result of the exponential growth of information and communication technologies. This was reflected in an unprecedented number of agenda items (48) and individual proposals from Member States (2 500) that were dealt with during WRC-03. The conference, heralded a success, also highlighted the need to increase efficiencies in the radiocommunication preparatory and conference process. Mr Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, reminded the 2 300 delegates that their work "has an enormous impact on the information society and the decisions taken are critical to allowing ITU to help build a global communication system that benefits all of humanity."
From http://www.itu.int/newsroom/ 07/04/2003
From http://www.astnet.org/ 07/25/2003
Now in its 6th year, Carriers World Asia is the most established and leading strategic carrier event in Asia. In current market conditions, it is your best opportunity to grow your Asian carrier business This is where carriers come to do business. "Very good and experienced speakers all round. The whole range of topics covered has been very informative and well presented by speakers." - FINTEL Carriers World Asia is the place senior executives from Asia's leading carriers convene yearly to network, learn and do business. It will provide you with the tools and ideas you need to survive in today's telecom environment. Carriers World Asia is where you get the ideas and relationships to make it happen for your business.
From http://www.carriersworld.com/ 07/26/2003
The 3rd IMID will be held at EXCO Daegu from July 9 to July 11, 2003. Experts on information display from 14 countries will participate in the meeting consisting of symposia and exhibitions. The IMID 2002 presented 150 booths from 51 exhibitiors.
The group responsible for China's e-government standards has sent a trial directory and six related standards to all government departments for evaluation in order to solicit suggestions. E-government has been defined as the management of information systems to serve the needs of government and the public and involves every area of government information systems on a national basis. The proposals put forward by the group are the details of its implementation, trial and evaluation; the standardization of national digital information systems. In February 2002, the State Council Informatization Office, together with the Standardization Administration of China, established the "General Group of E-government Standards." The group has recently advanced its proposed system for standardized e-government based on the results of related research. The group has let it be known that those areas of greatest urgency will be dealt with first. With the approval of an initial evaluation by the group, the two departments jointly issued a notice of probation for the directory and six e-government standards as well as solicitation for suggestions, and has sent it to all areas concerned, asking them to evaluate it on the basis of a trial implementation project. Feedback is requested for submission by the end of August in time for its authorization. Professor Huai Jinpeng from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA) said that having transformed from the earlier network system, China's new information system aims to enhance the government's supervision abilities and provide greater and more efficient response and communication. At present, there is no integrated system. The department leader for the application and promotion of the State Council Informatization Office, Chen Xiaozhu, said the work of e-government standardization would continue to adopt the management method of "being guided by government and promoted by the market," and to establish a dynamic maintained mechanism to meet its practical application. During promotion of the 12 project systems for e-government that concern office operational resources, macro-economic management, customs, taxation, finance, regulations, auditing, public security, social security, agriculture, water resources and geological resources, it is expected that the system will fully realize the needs of national standardization as well as fully implement the standardization of government e-solutions. (by Zhang Tingting)
From http://www.China.org.cn/ 04/04/2003
The World Trade Organization has recently held in Geneva headquarters a committee meeting on the expansion of trade in IT products, which unanimously approved the participation of China into the Information Technology Agreement. China`s entry into the Information Technology Agreement has ended the irrational situation where China only performs obligations while not being qualified to enjoy rights, which will facilitate China`s IT products entering the international market and hence enhancing the development of IT industry trading. It is reported that China has started form Jan. 1, 2002 to enforce the new tariff regulations, applying product tax rates promulgated by the `Information Technology Agreement` to such electronic products of 7 kinds as computer, telecommunication equipment, semi-conductor apparatus, semi-conductor manufacture equipment, software and science instruments, etc., covering some 251 tariff lines of IT products. All foreign IT products that have entered Chinese market have been benefiting from the favorable new tax rates.
From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 05/23/2003
To fully act out the guideline of advancing informatization, continue to practice the development strategy of city informatization; in the light of requirement of `embark on the road of new-type-industrialization`, develop with doubled efforts the information industry; upgrade traditional industries by means of application of information technological reform; actively develop and utilize information resource and exert the comprehensive effect of IT application in such fields as government construction, city building and administration, economic operation and public social services.
From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 05/23/2003
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has today (May 30) issued a statutory guideline on the sharing and use of consumer credit data through a credit reference agency (CRA). The Guideline aims at specifying the minimum standards that authorized institutions (AIs) should observe in relation to the sharing and use of consumer credit data through a CRA. In response to the financial industry's proposal, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has, pursuant to his power under Section 12(3) of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), approved a revised Code of Practice on Consumer Credit Data to allow for a wider sharing of consumer credit data. The Code will become effective on 2 June 2003. The Guideline requires that AIs should have clear and comprehensive policies and procedures for the sharing and use of consumer credit data through a CRA to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Code. The policies and procedures should be designed to: ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of consumer credit data; and guard against unauthorised access to or use of such information that could result in a breach of the Code and the data protection principles and relevant provisions under the PDPO. "AIs should ensure adequate management oversight, at an appropriate senior level, on the development, implementation, and maintenance of these policies and procedures," said Mr Raymond Li, Executive Director of the HKMA. "Any non-compliance should be followed up, investigated, rectified and reported to management," he added. AIs are required to conduct a compliance audit at least annually to verify whether their data management practices are adequate to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Code, the Guideline, and internal policies and procedures regarding the sharing of consumer credit data. The Guideline also requires all AIs that are involved in the provision of consumer credit to participate as fully as possible in the sharing and use of consumer credit data through a CRA within the framework laid down by the Code. Mr Raymond Li said, " a fully-fledged consumer credit database, including positive and negative data, will be beneficial to AIs and customers. However, to realise such benefits, the database must be adequately comprehensive and AIs need to make full use of the database in their credit decisions." To address the concerns about a possible credit crunch, the Code has provided for a 24-month transitional period starting from the "effective date" of the implementation of positive data sharing. During the transitional period, credit providers may only access to the new credit data for limited purposes as specified in the Code. These include assessing new credit applications from customers, facilitating an existing loan restructuring, arranging a scheme of arrangement at the request of the customer, or setting up a loan restructuring arrangement where there is a default in excess of 60 days. The Guideline also provides that when the information obtained from the CRA reveals that a customer has an unmanageable level of indebtedness and might have genuine difficulty in repayment, AIs should not hastily demand immediate repayment of loans or reduce credit lines. Instead, AIs should follow the guidelines set out in the "Hong Kong Approach to Consumer Debt Difficulties" and, as far as possible, work out a mutually acceptable solution with the customer. The Guideline, which is published in the Government Gazette today, is available at the HKMA website http://www.hkma.gov.hk.
From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 05/30/2003
Shanghai, China's largest city and economic hub, is introducing an unprecedented "spokesperson system" to its local government, legislature, court and prosecutor's office. According to a recently-issued decree, the Shanghai Municipal Government will take the lead by holding press conferences on government work once every two weeks, while the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress, the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPPCC (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference), the local Higher People's Court and the People's Procuratorate will follow suit. Shanghai is not alone in this new undertaking. Earlier this year, the Beijing Municipal Government began requiring all of its major subordinate departments to appoint a leader as its spokesperson to release information to the public on a regular basis. On May 28, the government of central China's Henan Province held a symposium to discuss how to learn from the experiences of Beijing and Shanghai in the near future. And in Qingdao, a coastal city in east China's Shandong Province, the first regular government press conference has been scheduled for Friday. The nationwide emergence of the "spokesperson system" at the local government level will establish a standard procedure for the release of government information and has demonstrated China's determination to increase transparency in its government operations, said Professor Pu Xingzu with the School of International Affairs and Public Relations of Shanghai-based Fudan University. During China's over-2,000-year long feudal history, ordinary Chinese people became accustomed to being excluded from participation in government decision-making and to blindly following official orders. A favorite philosophy for Chinese rulers in ancient times was that "you should make the common people do what they are told, but never let them know why". Since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, a modern administrative system has been gradually established in the country, and, beginning in the 1990s, the country began implementing unprecedented, massive reforms to make its government more transparent. As a result, government documents which used to be "confidential" or "for officials' eyes only" have been opened to the public, and governments at all levels across the country have started to subject themselves to public supervision, releasing their latest policies and work performance on a regular basis. However, the recent outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China and its impact on Chinese society have shown that much more still needs to be done to increase government transparency. Seeing the SARS panic spread among the general public due to delayed reports and misleading figures from the government, the Chinese central government immediately pledged to report every new SARS case in a timely manner and to severely punish officials who attempt to conceal or distort facts related to the new epidemic. The latest survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that more than 70 percent of Beijing residents have full confidence that China will eventually defeat SARS. "Some people used to worry that a candid and timely release of information could lead to turmoil and chaos. This kind of view has now been proven completely wrong and unfounded," said Professor Pu. "Although the new government transparency campaign was not directly triggered by the SARS outbreak, this unexpected crisis did tell us how important and necessary it is for the government to undergo more reforms and changes," Pu added. Guangzhou, the capital of south China's Guangdong Province, where the first SARS case was reported, has adopted its Regulations on Government Information Release, the first of its kind for a local government in China. The government has the obligation to release information because ordinary citizens have the right to be informed, says the regulations, something previously unheard of in China.
From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 06/01/2003
Shanghai is introducing an unprecedented spokesperson system to its local government, legislature, court and prosecutor's office. According to a recently issued decree, the Shanghai municipal government will take the lead by holding press conferences on government work once every two weeks, while the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress, the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPPCC, the local Higher People's Court and the People's Procuratorate will follow suit. Shanghai is not alone in this new undertaking. Earlier this year, the Beijing municipal government began requiring all of its major subordinate departments to appoint a leader as its spokesperson to release information to the public on a regular basis. On May 28, the government of central China's Henan Province held a symposium to discuss how to learn from the experiences of Beijing and Shanghai in the near future. And in Qingdao, a coastal city in east China's Shandong Province, the first regular government press conference has been scheduled for Friday. The nationwide emergence of the spokesperson system at the local government level will establish a standard procedure for the release of government information and has demonstrated China's determination to increase transparency in its government operations, said Professor Pu Xingzu with the School of International Affairs and Public Relations at the prestigious Fudan University. During China's over-2,000-year-long feudal history, ordinary Chinese people became accustomed to being excluded from participation in government decision-making and to blindly following official orders. A favorite philosophy for Chinese rulers in ancient times was that "you should make the common people do what they are told, but never let them know why." Since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, a modern administrative system has been gradually established in the country, and, beginning in the 1990s, the country began implementing unprecedented, massive reforms to make its government more transparent. As a result, government documents which used to be confidential have been opened to the public, and governments at all levels across the country have started to subject themselves to public supervision, releasing their latest policies and work performance on a regular basis.
From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 06/02/2003
The Competition Policy Advisory Group (COMPAG) published its fifth annual report today (July 2). In tandem with the Government's initiatives to promote e-Government, the Report is now published electronically and available online at the COMPAG website (www.compag.gov.hk). "The Report sets out the work of COMPAG from April 2002 to March 2003. During this year, COMPAG considered seven initiatives adopted by the relevant government bureaux and departments in promoting competition in the telecommunication, securities trading, transportation, lift maintenance and other sectors. During the same period, COMPAG examined a total of fourteen complaint cases," a Government spokesman said. COMPAG directs and advises all bureaux and departments on competition-related matters. They are required to give due regard to the competition angle in formulating policy and devising measures in their respective portfolios. "One of the initiatives adopted by the Government in 2002-2003 was the development of guidelines to maintain a competitive environment and to define and tackle anti-competitive practices. The guidelines are developed with the support of the business sector and drafted with contributions from chambers of commerce and trade and industry organisations. COMPAG is finalizing the guidelines and plans to promulgate them by the end of 2003. COMPAG will encourage individual business sectors to develop their own codes of conduct on the basis of the guidelines," the spokesman added. COMPAG was established in December 1997 under the chairmanship of the Financial Secretary to co-ordinate the Government's efforts in promoting competition, to review competition issues that have substantial policy or systemic implications, and to direct bureaux and departments on such matters. In May 1998, it promulgated the Statement on Competition Policy which sets out the Government's competition policy framework.
From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 07/02/2003
Iran has tightened controls on the internet, ordering thousands of political and pornographic websites to be blocked. The Iranian press said a list of 15,000 sites had been drawn up by the government and sent to internet service providers. Ministers were quoted as saying that they wanted to "block access to immoral sites as well as political sites which rudely make fun of religious and political figures in the country." The web has become an important outlet as an alternative method of communication in Iran, which maintains a close eye on the media. Over the past three years, Iran's conservative judiciary has banned about 80 newspapers and magazines. In response, several pro-reform publications had turned to the internet to get around strict press laws. Estimates suggest there are about two million Iranians with access to the internet. The hardliners who control Iran's state TV and radio and many newspapers accuse the new sites of spreading "lies" and exceeding socially accepted norms. According to reports in the Iranian media, service providers could face court action unless they block access to 15,000 sites deemed immoral. Several of the banned sites have close links to reformists such as the Iranian political bulletin Emrooz website. Access to sites of radio stations that broadcast in Farsi are also reported to have been blocked. The new restrictions on the net reflect growing concerns in Iran about the web. Last month the authorities detained Sina Motallebi, a journalist behind a prominent web log, www.rooznegar.com. Reporters Without Borders has issued a statement deploring Mr Motallebi's detention and other attacks on journalists.
From BBC 05/13/2003
I would like to announce that Sendai City has officially established the "Guidelines for Subcontracting Information System Operation, including Personal Information." This March, there was an accident where city taxation data was lost. As a result, we have been establishing measures that can fully guarantee the protection of personal information. On March 31, we immediately established the interim guidelines and concurrently have been holding workshops for subcontractors and city officials. I would like to announce the official guidelines that have been established. As seen in Section 2 of your documents, "The Summary of the Guidelines," seven items are laid out, including the tasks, which are subject to the guidelines, working methods, and the procedures for subcontracting such tasks. The official guidelines have been established paying careful attention to the items in the interim guidelines. There are two main points described in your documents. The first point is that the range of the subcontracted tasks, which are subject to the guidelines, have been clearly defined. Now not only has the system operation been added, but the tasks for bookbinding, inclusion and sealing, have also been added. The second point is that the procedures to investigate the reliability of the subcontractor when a contract is made have been defined. In the future, we will conform to these guidelines to carry out precise transactions in order to ensure the protection of personal information, and we will continue to discuss the security measures, including a revision of the Ordinance on Personal Information Protection. We would like to regain the trust of our residents by adopting such thorough measures.
From http://www.city.sendai.jp/ 05/14/2003
The MPHPT today approved the application from Digital Communications Co., Ltd. for its new business plan for implementation in the telecommunications and broadcast fields. The approval was based on Article 4-1 of the Law for Smoothing Designated Communications and Broadcasting Development Projects (Law No. 35, 1990).
From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 05/22/2003
Ministries and Agencies CIO council Government announced a draft of "e-Government construction plan" and is asking public opinion. It is the fist time for Japan to have a comprehensive plan for e-Government. The plan consists of two parts which are fundamental rule and action plans for every ministries and agencies. Government began to understand that citizen-oriented online services and business process reengineering are critical for e-Government success.
From http://www.manaboo.com/ 06/25/2003
Tsukuba Science City is taking a new developmental step (the Third Step of Tsukuba's Development), with construction of the "New Joban Train Line" and the "Ken-o Do" (Metropolitan Inner City Expressway) as well as with the 1996 enactment of the Basic Plan for Science and Technology. In July 1996, the "Tsukuba Science City Area Development Plan" and the "Surrounding Area Development Plan" were revised, both of which are based on the "Tsukuba Science City Construction Act". The revision outlines that Tsukuba Science City in the 21st century aims to become the center of scientific research, a fully functioning, self-sufficient core city, and an Eco-Life Model city that coexists with nature and the surrounding rural environment. Based on the revised plans, Tsukuba Science City will be developed in closer cooperation with the government, local government bodies, and other institutions concerned.
From http://www.mlit.go.jp/ 07/02/2003
Amidst the recent restructuring of the global economy, the booming East Asian economy has led to the establishment of industrial networks in Japan, NIES, and ASEAN countries. As Japan shifts from an industrialized society to an information-oriented society, Kawasaki City is becoming the Asian base for information and technology-intensive industries. Currently, major international electric and electronic companies such as Toshiba, Fujitsu, NEC, IBM, and Dell Computer conduct operations in Kawasaki. In addition, a number of highly specialized small and medium-sized companies are located here as well, all continuously working for the creation of new products using their R&D resources. The principle of industrial flexibility is applied to actively develop business performance, to encourage free and mutual exchange, and to assist cooperation among companies. All these were developed from the ideas of the industrialized era of the past. While establishing a business environment conducive for better communication among companies with R&D for its core, Kawasaki City plans to widely open the closed Japanese market to foreign corporations focusing on multimedia-related services, commercial and engineering design services, recycling, anti-pollution, and international physical distribution in order to establish a globally competitive economic system in Japan and in Asia.
From http://www.city.kawasaki.jp/ 07/14/2003
The Ministry of Information and Communication yesterday unveiled a plan to increase investment in the information technology industry in a bid to infuse fresh energy into the country's sagging economy. The ministry said the measure is designed to spur demand in the IT sector through early spending on the IT budget, financing venture firms with the IT promotion fund as well as encouraging private funds to invest in the embattled high-tech sector. "The country's IT industry accounted for 14.9 percent of the gross domestic product last year and 38 percent of the nation's economic growth for the last five years," a ministry official said. The ministry decided to spend 1.18 trillion won ($972 million) from its IT promotion fund, or 72.7 percent of its IT budget for the year, within the first half. It also plans to inject an additional 63.4 billion won into other IT projects. In addition, it will lower interest rates for some government-provided loans by 0.5 percent to support reliable IT firms, while improving some of its loan systems for such companies. The ministry's move came after Korea's overall economy and the IT sector came under pressure amid mounting tensions over the nuclear standoff between North Korea and the United States and the public scare about the severe acute respiratory syndrome. Ministry officials said the IT investment plan has been adjusted largely because investor sentiment is deteriorating and IT investment in the private sector is also dwindling. The ministry said it will hold a forum comprised of policymakers, experts and top managers in the IT industry during May in order to help the private sector implement its original IT investment plan for 2003. Government data showed that the private sector is expected to invest a total of 7.59 trillion won in IT projects this year. In detail, fixed-line telecom carriers plan to invest 7.26 trillion won for upgrading their network and implementing new technology, television stations 210 billion won for digital broadcasting, and Internet service providers 120 billion won for security solutions following the massive disruptions caused by a computer worm virus in late January. Korea is at the forefront of the broadband and mobile industries, but a series of negative factors like the contagious SARS epidemic are hitting local IT firms hard amid few signs of a recovery in key IT sectors. The mobile service market is struggling to keep its growth trend amid concerns over saturation and overcapacity as the total number of users remains flat at about 32 million. The broadband market is also facing a similar problem as more than 10 million subscribers have signed up for high-speed services so far. Korea had gone through a major IT bubble period which started in 1999, with thousands of IT venture startups attracting a huge sum of funds from venture capitalists and ordinary investors. As the country's high-tech bubble burst following the traumatic decline of some high-flying tech firms on the U.S.-based Nasdaq stock market, the domestic IT sector began to falter and entrepreneurial firms found it increasingly difficult to secure fresh funds to introduce new services. (by Yang Sung-jin)
From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 05/06/2003
The Defense Ministry will open a satellite channel beginning in October next year. "We gained a channel from digital-based satellite broadcast company SkyLife last year. The Defense Media Center has been preparing for the opening next year," said Yoon Moo-jang at the Troop Information and Public Affairs Bureau. The ministry has applied for 7.9 billion from next year's budget to fund the project, he said.
From http://www.korea.net/ 07/01/2003
MIRI - The State Library (Pustaka Negeri) is actively carrying out many programmes to reach out to the so-ciety, especially the rural community, in its effort to bridge the digital divide. Its chief executive officer (CEO) Rashidah Haji Bolhassan said the library, especially Pustaka Miri, had been carrying out such programmes at schools, particularly rural schools. In order to narrow and eventually close the digital and information divide between the urban and rural communities, the library was actively reaching out to the society, especially the rural community, she said at the launching of the state level National Reading Month for the Northern Zone by the Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui last Friday. Rasidah said the State Library was working very hard to get to the rural community to participate in the programmes as most libraries were now accessible through the Internet. "It is our hope that this outreach programme not only will bridge the digital divide but also enable the creation of k-workers," she added. She also said that they were also trying as much as possible to reach out to everyone so that the the community needed not have to go to the library as they could do so via electronic mail, faxes or telephone to indicate their needs and hope for the libraries. "We will literally deliver the information to your doorsteps," she said.
From http://www.sarawaktribune.com.my/ 07/07/2003
Last week, in a surprise move, telecom regulator Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said it will seek industry views on regulating wholesale prices of local leased circuits (LLC) provided by SingTel, a key component of infrastructure needed by just about every telecom service provider to carry traffic to its customers. Up to now, LLCs have been mostly offered by SingTel at retail prices, which many overseas competitors have claimed are uncompetitive. IDA itself compares this practice to hotels quoting posted prices for rooms when actual prices may differ substantially. It's taken three years since market liberalisation for IDA to propose controlling wholesale LLC pricing. This is partly explained by IDA's insistence, to its credit, on a light-touch approach to regulation. IDA's director-general (telecoms) Leong Keng Thai has said repeatedly that the body prefers the market to regulate itself through pricing rather than be told what to do. Telecom markets being what they are, this is a rather vain hope. All over the world in markets which saw the breakup of old national monopolies, the remaining body (however rebranded) retains a solid grasp on market power domestically. Economists like Hal Varian and others have already noted the tendency for telecom infrastructure to have a 'network effect'; that is, the more points of connection it has, the more valuable it is to its users. But this also means it is less likely to face sustained alternative competition. With SingTel owning the largest coverage of network assets here, it thus holds nearly all the cards (or cable), which gives them a very real advantage against entrants. Hence the need for IDA's regulatory intervention. Still, for all its perceived faults in leveraging its position in a small market, SingTel has done an admirable job while making waves outside its shores. Even the most critical of its detractors cannot deny that SingTel is acting no worse than any equivalent telco in its position would have done. As a senior industry veteran observed wryly: 'An incumbent will behave like an incumbent.' In other words, given its market power, it would have been foolish of SingTel not to use it to its advantage. The industry expects no more from SingTel, and its shareholders expect no less. In the telco industry, there's no such thing as a 'level playing field' and given the vicious state of competition, that holds as true here as anywhere else. There is of course the flip side of the coin: that as the dominant telco, SingTel is unfairly expected to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the burden opening its hard-fought assets to competitors who get a free ride. And as one of the few billion-dollar local companies still slugging it out overseas to win itself a place in the sun, SingTel justifiably feels victimised when it has to punch above its weight against much larger competitors, while at home, it gets squeezed by the regulator. No less relevant, SingTel challenges IDA to turn its attention to helping local telcos compete overseas on the same terms that overseas telcos enjoy here. This is no mean challenge, seeing that even regulators like the FCC in the US have taken years to sort out the competition issues there and it is still a largely unfinished story. It would be ungrateful to say IDA has done nothing in this regard. The Singapore-Australia free trade agreement inked earlier saw IDA lobbying its counterpart in Australia about the behaviour of Telstra, the equivalent of SingTel in Australia. A key achievement made there was the reduction of the telco dispute resolution process in Australia from 14 months to six months. That, though, is unlikely to satisfy SingTel. Locally, IDA mandates resolution to such disputes within two months. Whatever the rights and wrongs of IDA's move and SingTel's reaction, two things are clear - consumers benefit, and the market gains transparency. To make an omelette, you need to break some eggs even if they're golden ones. Let's hope the regulators get it right and do not also end up killing the golden goose.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 06/03/2003
Half the business software - spreadsheet and word processing programs for instance - installed on computers in Singapore last year was illegal. Revenue lost to piracy has generally increased in the world, as emerging markets, such as China, have fuelled a huge demand for fake software. In Singapore, the good news is that piracy has come down a few points - from 51 per cent in 2001 to 48 per cent last year, according to a report by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The BSA is an organisation formed by the biggest software and IT companies in the world, such as Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few, to fight piracy. Last year's figure is the best out of Singapore since 1994, which means some headway has been made against illegal theft of software, said a BSA spokesman. Now, the bad news. At least half the piracy worldwide comes from legitimate businesses buying cheap copies off the street. Either that, or they install the software on more than the number of computers it is licensed for. The other half comes from home users downloading illegal MP3s, or schools using fake copies. So far, the enforcement remains largely outside the criminal code. If there is a raid on a company, and it is found to be using illegal software, the software supplier can sue the firm in a civil court. The BSA argues that there is a correlation between a reduction in piracy - at least 10 percentage points - and the growth of a country's software industry. It cites the case of Taiwan, which managed to reduce its piracy rates by 29 percentage points to 43 per cent last year from 72 per cent in 1994. When the Taiwan government cracked down on software theft, more developers had the confidence to build their own solutions, 'knowing that there was some level of protection'. And so the indigenous software industry boomed from US$224 million (S$386 million) a year to US$698 million. 'The multiplier effect from this growth in the software sector helped Taiwan's IT sector pump an additional US$2.46 billion into the economy and create an additional 43,000 jobs,' said the spokesman. But the same report says that India's piracy rates went down a mere 9 per cent, and last year, seven out of 10 businesses used software that was fake. However, the Indian software development industry is still booming. The Philippines, which managed a reduction of 26 percentage points between 1994 and last year, is, on the other hand, not doing so well in software development. However, businesses in Singapore should be worried because the recent United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement has provisions that will change the copyright laws and it could become a criminal offence to infringe on someone else's copyright. Asked if the high prices for some leading software could be a reason why companies resort to buying fake copies, the BSA spokesman said that software was priced fairly, and companies did not have to choose the expensive software for their companies. 'There are literally tens of thousands of alternative choices,' he said. 'The bottom line is: Companies must know how much they can spend on IT. 'If you can't afford it, don't use it.'
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 06/06/2003
The government will set aside a 1,400 million baht budget to implement a two-year project known as the Government Financial Management Information System (GFMIS), which is expected to help improve budget management among and within ministries, departments and agencies nationwide. The GFMIS will be overseen by an ad hoc GFMIS taskforce set up recently under the Prime Minister's Office. ICT Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said the GFMIS would move the current manual financial management information system onto an electronic platform. The ICT Ministry and the Energy Ministry will act as pilot sites for the project beginning in October. The GFMIS has modules including accounting, payroll, inventory control, security, financial reserve management, e-procurement, evaluation processes and auditing. The system will be operated via Krung Thai Bank's network and support a secured e-fund transfer system, the minister said. Around 300 million baht will be spent on hardware and a further 150 million baht for software development. The government will encourage local firms to develop software for the project, according to Dr Surapong. (by Karnjana Karnjanatawe)
From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 07/16/2003
Bihar government has decided to provide computers to about 300 legislators and ministers to make them computer savvy for faster disposal of their work. A meeting of parliamentary affairs department chaired by its minister Ram Chandra Purve took the decision in this regard on Saturday. The computers would be installed at the official residence of the ministers and legislators in the state capital soon, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Purve said in Patna. The state government has already earmarked a sum of Rs 1.6 crore for the purpose, he said, adding on an average Rs 50,000 would be spent on installation of each computer. The legislators would not be allowed to take the computers to their constituencies or any other places, he said. Chief Minister Rabri Devi had made a statement on the floor of the House to provide computers to the legislators and ministers in the State Assembly for faster disposal of work.
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 05/25/2003
PUNE: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has urged the Indian infotech community to use its skills for the nation's development through rural education, e-governance, telemedicine and healthcare. He made the appeal, keeping aside his prepared speech, while dedicating the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) to the nation. "I give the IIIT this challenge. Prepare virtual classrooms for groups of ten or more villages," Kalam said, giving a concrete example of user-friendly technology in the service of education. "Give physical connectivity and electronic connectivity and through this you will have economic connectivity. The government, industry and academia need to work together to bring IT into education, e-governance and telemedicine," Kalam said. IIIT which offers advanced IT and management programmes has been set up at the Infotech Park in Hinjewadi by the Hope Foundation and Research Centre, a public charitable trust, established by Finolex chairman P.P. Chhabria. The President agreed with top technocrat R.A. Mashelkar's observation that Indian IT professionals need to work at the upper end of the IT value chain to earn higher income. He pointed out that as against a turnover of $12 billion from five lakh Indians working in the IT sector, it was possible for just one software company with 50,000 people across the world to earn as much as $20 billion. "In another 10-12 years, we should earn around $100 billion through IT," he said. Kalam urged software programmers to develop programmes and make search engines "language independent" so that the huge non-English speaking population in the country could use the internet to their benefit. Elsewhere, speaking at the inauguration of Maharashtra Institute of Technology's women's engineering college, Kalam said women scientists and engineers could play an important role in effecting a change in the mindset at homes, laboratories and industrial establishments. The President expressed regret over the mindset of certain people, who preferred imported brands of any system, ranging from cosmetics to defence and communication equipment.
From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 05/29/2003
India plans to enact a law to protect unauthorized use of data provided by foreign companies that subcontract to Indian firms, a government official said. "We are nearly ready with the draft of the Data Protection Act. It might be possible to enact it in the winter session of Parliament," Rajeeva Ratna Shah, federal secretary of the department of information technology, told a conference in the southern city of Bangalore. The winter session of Parliament begins in November. Shah said the law would ensure that data from foreign companies outsourcing to Indian companies would not be revealed to rivals. "This law will increase the comfort level of global companies with outsourcing to India," he said. The National Association for Software and Service Companies, or Nasscom, said foreign companies and their Indian partners now rely on informal arrangements to protect confidential data, but a law was needed. "As we expand our global reach, some companies will insist on such a law before outsourcing work to India," Nasscom President Kiran Karnik said. Indian firms, which handle call answering, payroll accounting, telemarketing and other such services for companies abroad, earn a total of around $US2.3 billion ($A3.47 billion) annually. Their revenues are expected to grow by 55 per cent for the current fiscal year, ending March 2004. Meanwhile, the chairman of Nasscom, which has about 4000 members, said he doubted legislation introduced in some US states that would prohibit outsourcing would be enacted. Som Mittal said the experience of other American industries had shown that resistance to outsourcing had hurt competitiveness. "The US auto industry began outsourcing several decades ago and has emerged much stronger. On the other hand, its steel industry is faced with a downtrend because it resisted outsourcing," Mittal said. He said earlier that the bills were driven by politics. "This anti-outsourcing feeling in the United States is more a result of depressed economic conditions the world over than a concerted backlash against India," said Mittal. Several US states including New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Washington have moved to introduce anti-outsourcing bills. The bills aim to ban outsourcing of data work to overseas companies or workers who are not American citizens. Resistance is building up from some labour unions against subcontracting to India.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has proposed new legislation to tackle credit card and automated Teller Machine (ATM) frauds that have escalated at an alarming rate. A number of local and international banks are understood to have urged for new legislations following the detection of several multi million rupee card frauds. The Central Bank, according to CID sources, is closely studying the proposal. Although no discussion has yet taken place with regard to the formulation of the legislation, sources said a Task Force on credit security and risk management has been appointed to look into the matter. The task force comprises several banks that issue credit cards and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) facilities to customers. Around 1,000 fake credit cards of reputed local and foreign banks are believed to be in circulation. Racketeers are allegedly using these cards to purchase goods which are then billed to the accounts of genuine card holders. "Most purchases have been made via the Internet which is very common these days", CID sources said. Despite several such frauds being exposed by genuine credit card holders some local banks have been reluctant to inform the police. This has hampered several cases not being investigated. Meanwhile the bogus businessmen who masterminded one of the credit card frauds is believed to be in Singapore and according to police sources the assistance of the Interpol will be sought for his arrest. Several persons living abroad had even used forged credit cards to purchase goods via the internet. Tracking down these persons is an extremely difficult task, sources said. Last month a multi-million rupee credit card fraud was busted by the police. Several reputed banks have been affected by the fraud as genuine credit card holders have been billed for non purchases. Some of the cashiers working in shopping malls both locally and abroad have been bribed by credit card crooks to obtain the secret numbers of genuine credit card holders, sources said. Meanwhile, the CID is investigating another massive fraud where a State bank official in a suburban bank had fraudulently drawn Rs 13.8 million by transferring money to another account over a five-year period. (by Jayampathy Jayasinghe)
From http://www.sundayobserver.lk/ 07/06/2003
KARACHI, Pakistan (PNS) - The target for the country's software Export during the next fiscal year would be between dollars 50 to 60 million. This was stated by the Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Awais Ahmed Leghari, while talking to APP here on Monday. He was of the view that with a focused target, it would not be difficult to increase the country's software exports from 100 to 200 percent. "We should go about US dollars 50 to 60 million dollars during the next fiscal year", he remarked further.
From http://www.paknews.com/ 05/06/2003
ISLAMABAD (PNS) - Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Owais Leghari said that government was formulating policies to help the companies which compete in open market. "We can request OIC countries and other friendly nations for favor and support by giving business to Pakistani companies," The Minister said this while addressing the Corporate I.T Forum here. He stressed that Pakistan need more software houses, and we Are encouraging them, however, the minister opposed the idea of giving future incentives to them on the grounds that they need to find way for growth. The Minister said telecommunication and IT are very important part of corporate sector these days, and these sectors will play a key role in future investment in the country.
From http://www.paknews.com/ 05/08/2003
The Fiji Electricity Authority and the Cook Islands Government are carrying out technical investigations to assess the viability of powerline communications (PLC) technology. PLC uses power lines for high-speed internet communications. A German company with links to New Zealand, Bender Information and System technology, is working on both projects and also has other South Pacific islands in its sights. President Jeurgen Bender has met with the European Union ambassador to the South Pacific and said the EU was willing to assist islands with funding. Cook Islands Energy Department director Mata Nooroa said the Cooks Government had approved a technical feasibility study. Then it will go to a committee comprising the Secretary of Finance, the head of the local power utility, and the head of Telecom Cook Islands. He said they were still investigating what support the EU might give. Fiji Electricity Authority supply chain manager Brian Hardacre confirmed a contract was nearly complete with BIS. Surveying and testing of the system in Fiji were expected to begin next month. Bender said the World Health Organization had also shown interest, as it wanted to overcome the slow speed of dial-up internet in Island nations. Bender said the main problems in introducing PLC into the islands were in getting the link to the rest of the world by cable or satellite, which could be a political issue. He said that in Malaysia the TNB utilities firm was introducing PLC in the Cyberjaya technology city in the Multimedia Super Corridor. And in Singapore market trials and pilots were complete and there was approval for a commercial trial involving 50,000 users. Locally Maxine Elliot, general manager of Vector Communications, has confirmed it is continuing its PLC trial in Karake St in Takapuna but is now using a commercial version of the technology. Before the merger between United Networks and Vector, United Networks had said it could potentially provide broadband PLC service to 8000 houses in Auckland and Wellington. (by Richard Wood)
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 06/24/2003
The Parliamentary Counsel Office is unable to say when it expects to complete an overdue $5.6 million computerization project that will electronically draft bills and acts and publish them straight to the Web. The system, being developed by American multinational Unisys, was due to go live at the end of February. The Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) said on March 3 that the system was "poised to go live", but is still unable to set a date. Public Access to Legislation (PAL) project manager Anthony Baker says testing of the system has been going on for "quite a while". "I have no expectation of when this will end. I can't offer any time frames or expectations at this stage." He wouldn't comment on whether there were significant issues outstanding with the system. "We are working towards concluding the project. The end result will be magnificent - we've got to work through all the things that need to be done." The PCO launched an interim website in September which, for the first time, lets the public view the full text of government legislation, statutory regulations and Court of Appeal judgments free online. The electronic database of legislation for the website was provided by privately-owned legal publisher Brookers. As well as revolutionising the processes involved in drafting new legislation, the PAL system - when it goes live - will give the public free online access to the text of bills before Parliament and to supplementary order papers. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 05/05/2003
CYBER-crime represented a serious threat to Australian business and more needed to be done to understand it, Queensland innovation minister Paul Lucas said. Mr Lucas told the AusCERT Asia-Pacific IT Security Conference on the Gold Coast today cyber-crime was estimated to be costing $A1.5 trillion a year. Mr Lucas said while exact figures of the level of crime were not available, Australia's Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) was notified of almost 27,000 separate incidents in the first quarter of 2002. He also cited an Ernst and Young survey which found 64 per cent of Australian firms experienced an e-security attack in the six months to November 2002. "There's still a level of nervousness in business and the general community about the security of doing business over the internet, with two out of five users saying they do not want to provide credit card details over the net," Mr Lucas said. "With this in mind, it's no wonder that e-security is one of the hot IT growth industries." Mr Lucas said the e-security industry was growing at 60 per cent every year and this was set to increase with the rise in cyber-terrorism. "Cyber-terrorism is a real threat, as it has huge potential to wreak havoc in databases and computer networks around the world with politically-motivated cyber-terrorism compounding the problem of computer hackers," Mr Lucas said. Queensland experienced a cyber-terror event in 2001 when a man was found guilty of using his car as a mobile pirate command centre to sabotage the computer controlling a Sunshine Coast sewage treatment plant. "The man triggered the release of about 800,000 litres of untreated sewage into Maroochydore's creeks, killing fish and creating an offensive odour," Mr Lucas said. Queensland had now become home to the largest e-security research community in the southern hemisphere, with 190 firms based in the state, he said. (by Paul Osborne)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/12/2003
IDENTITY fraud, money laundering and tax evasion are the funding hotspots for hi-tech in the Federal Budget. The new Australian Crime Commission has been given $30 million over four years to set up Operation Midas, targeting "sophisticated profit-driven crime that would not otherwise come to the notice of law enforcement agencies". Midas would take over from the former National Crime Authority's Operation Swordfish, which recovered some $80 million from proceeds of crime and tax revenue, and a further $90 million from increased tax compliance, Justice Minister Chris Ellison said. In addition, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) received a 51 per cent rise in funding, to $17.4 million, for new measures against money laundering and terrorism. "AUSTRAC's detection and analysis of financial networks and money movements is crucial to the integrity of Australia's financial systems," Senator Ellison said. Heralding a crackdown on growing identity fraud, the Government has allocated $11 million to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to increase its efforts over the next four years. The money will pay for investigations by the Australian Federal Police, and for prosecuting offenders - a measure expected to lead to net savings from social security fraud of $60 million over four years. Centrelink received an extra $1.5 million over two years for "internally developed software and additional storage capacity" to support an increase in identity fraud investigations. A further $1.8 million will allow Centrelink to purchase IT equipment and software to monitor entitlements to pharmaceutical benefits in real-time in chemist shops. In total, the Government will provide $120 million to Centrelink over five years for the purchase of hardware and software to improve reliability and deliver online services. The AFP got an extra $1.7 million to improve its e-crime investigative capabilities. The Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence has $11 million over four years to turn its criminal intelligence database into a national resource for law enforcement agencies. ASIO scored $20 million to strengthen its counter-terrorism analysis and reporting efforts, plus $1.8 million for IT systems to vet applicants for aviation security ID cards. (by Karen Dearne)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/20/2003
The Australian Government said yesterday that it would try next week to get approval for its proposals to overhaul foreign and cross-media ownership laws before Parliament rises for a six-week winter break. A spokesman for Communications Minister Richard Alston said the Liberal-led Government was still negotiating with some independent senators to get the long-awaited proposals approved by the Upper House, where the Government is in a minority.
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 06/17/2003
AUSTRALIA will join other developed countries in fighting online fraud, pyramid and lottery schemes. Parliamentary secretary to the treasurer Ian Campbell said OECD members had agreed on a set of guidelines to help member nations enforce consumer protection laws. Website hijacking, plus travel and credit-related schemes will be targeted under the new guidelines. Senator Campbell said the advent of the internet had increased the opportunities for fraud operators to deceive ordinary citizens across the globe. "OECD members have recognised that such practices harm not only consumers but also legitimate businesses, ultimately reducing consumer confidence in the global marketplace," he said in a statement. "Cross-border fraud operators can strike quickly, victimise thousands of consumers in a short period, then disappear with the proceeds of their frauds. "These shady operators are able to escape prosecution in many cases because of the limited ability of law enforcement agencies to pursue them across national borders or share evidence with other national agencies."
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 06/18/2003
A SINGLE regulator for radio, television and telecommunications has against been floated by Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston. Senator Alston said the federal Government would give "further consideration" to new arrangements for merging the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) to cover electronic media and communications. "The current structure of the ABA and ACA has been an effective means of regulating the diverse communications industries," the minister said. "However changes in industry structures and new technologies mean it is now appropriate to re-examine these arrangements." Senator Alston said the government would develop a detailed merger proposal for consultation with industry. Any merger would concentrate on "institutional considerations and will not involve significant alterations to the existing regulatory frameworks governing the communications sectors". The idea of a merger was first discussed in August 2002, following a similar move in the United Kingdom which formed a single regulator call Oftel. While supported by the two regulatory bodies, the merger met with stiff resistance from the television and radio industries, who feared being charged for spectrum licences in the manner of mobile phone operators. Radio operators were also wary of new licences being issued - a move they feared could eat into their profits. (by Chris Jenkins)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 06/30/2003
A new computer crime centre will help police across Australia catch hackers and other high-tech criminals. The Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) was officially launched yesterday at a meeting of Australian police ministers in Melbourne. AHTCC chairman, South Australian Police chief commissioner Mal Hyde, said the Canberra-based centre would coordinate national efforts to combat computer crime. Mr Hyde said high-tech crime was becoming a serious problem nation-wide as criminals became more sophisticated in their use of technology. "Just like any organization who wants to improve their success, criminals use the technology to improve their success as well," he told reporters. "They are in the business of crime, and many of them do run it as a business." He said the centre would investigate crimes committed with or against computers, such as hacking, as well as traditional crimes committed with the help of computers, such as fraud and drug trafficking. The centre has 13 staff, and a budget of about $4 million this year. Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the facility would play a crucial role in Australian law enforcement. "Some 43 per cent of government and private organizations have been the victim of some sort of computer attack, and that gives you an idea of the importance of this area," he said.
From http://www.theage.com.au/ 07/03/2003
Controversial law outlawing computer hacking is being dusted off by the Government and is expected to be enacted this year after more than a decade of delays. The Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) creates a series of new offences that make it illegal to intercept, access, use or damage data held on computers without proper authorisation. The bill received its second reading in October 1999 and passed through the select committee process in August 2001, but then stalled to the chagrin of IT industry bodies such as the Information Technology Association. Computer crime legislation was first proposed in 1989 and New Zealand remains one of only a few developed nations not to have specific anti-hacking laws. It is understood the Crimes Amendment Bill may proceed to the house committee stage in parliament within weeks. This is the last step in the legislative process before its third and final reading. A spokesperson for Justice Minister Phil Goff is unable to put an exact timeframe on the bill's reintroduction to parliament, but says Leader of the House Michael Cullen has indicated it will come up soon. It is expected to be given some attention. A spokesperson for Dr Cullen confirms the anti-hacking law is on the radar screen and is a priority. The legislation is expected to be hotly debated by the Greens, who have concerns over people's privacy. The bill will force ISPs to ensure traffic on their networks, including e-mail, can be intercepted by police and the security services. A new offence of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose will carry a maximum jail term of seven years in cases where such access results in any kind of an advantage to the person accessing the computer and a disadvantage to its owner. At present, hackers can only be convicted of offences which fall within the gambit of general criminal legislation - such as theft and criminal damage. With the passage of the Crimes Amendment Bill, initiating denial of service attacks designed to put Internet sites offline and deleting or changing other people's data will also carry a maximum seven-year penalty. Intentionally or recklessly damaging a computer will carry a maximum 10-year prison term if it is likely to endanger life. Merely accessing a computer system without authorisation will also become an offence, carrying a maximum two-year jail term. The penalty could apply to employees who access computer systems in their workplace without their employer's permission. Intellectual property law firm AJ Park says the justification for such tough penalties for unauthorised access is that it forces extra costs on businesses to check against and protect themselves from damage. Critics of the bill claim it is unnecessary and that judges have been interpreting laws covering fraud, theft, criminal damage and even trespass sufficiently broadly to bring all activities which need to be outlawed within the ambit of existing legislation. The Police, the Security Intelligence Services and the Government Communications and Security Bureau are exempt from the bill's provisions and can't be hauled up for any breaches. Also exempt will be people under 16, who can't be charged under the bill but are known to be responsible for a significant proportion of Internet-related computer crime, such as denial-of-service attacks. The executive director of the Information Technology Association, Jim O'Neill, said in March last year that the bill was urgently required - warning the delay in the passing the legislation was preventing the full economic potential of information and communication technologies from being realised. Internet Society executive director Peter Macauley says the society doesn't have a formulated position on the bill. However, former executive director Sue Leader cautioned in 2001 that aspects of the legislation might go too far, potentially criminalising actions that might have no malicious intent.
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 06/10/2003
More than 500 New Zealanders have been identified as being involved with objectionable internet material, the Internal Affairs Department says. Since its Censorship Compliance Unit was established seven years ago "in excess of 500" people had been investigated, senior policy analyst David Wilson said in a presentation in Auckland yesterday. "Of those, 111 have been prosecuted and convicted. There are approximately 25 court cases pending." The unit also regularly passed on information about offenders based outside New Zealand to overseas authorities, Mr Wilson said. A survey of 106 offenders - 105 men and one woman - showed the majority were New Zealand Europeans, and 81 per cent lived in cities. "The offenders ranged in age from 14 to 67 at the time the offences were investigated. The average age ... was 30 years." The most common occupation for offenders was student (33) or a job in the information technology field (19). "The majority of offenders (83 per cent) were not found to have a criminal history. However, at the time of their involvement with the censorship compliance inspectors, five had already been charged and convicted of a sexual offence with a boy aged under 16 years, and two were being investigated regarding sexual offences with a boy under 16 years." Three had been convicted of sex offences against under-age girls, and others had faced charges or been convicted of "minor" sex-related crimes. "While it is not possible, based on this survey, to draw a causal link between viewing child pornography and offending against children, an association between the two is suggested by the findings," Mr Wilson said. The unit noted with concern a trend by offenders to place themselves in situations where they had access to the subjects of objectionable material they collected. Around a third of those surveyed had frequent access to children, and the survey also highlighted a person with necrophiliac images_3 who was professionally involved with funeral directors, and another with images_3 of bestiality who worked with animals.
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 07/13/2003
This year will see Shanghai implementing the professional qualification attestation system for information technology administration, which touches such professional qualifications as assistant to IT supervisor, IT supervisor and senior IT supervisor. The assistant and supervisor qualifications will be tested through uniform city level examination and that for senior supervisors will be tested through examination combined with evaluation. The aim of this measure by Shanghai is to speed up the development of city`s enterprise informatization. All enterprises and institutions shall set up special IT administration departments and those related to key informatization projects shall set up posts equal to CIO (Chief Information Officer) and employ management personnel with relative professional qualifications for key posts. The relative professional qualification shall be the indispensable pass for those who want to take IT management posts.
From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 04/25/2003
E-commerce of Shanghai has shown its remarkable role in the SARS period. During the 5 days after April 21, the `Bsteel.com` under the umbrella of Bao Steel Works has achieved a sale with a main seller that nearly equals what was done in the whole March. The company, founded in August 2000, is an electronic commercial company mainly dealing in steel selling, and has achieved a sale of 4.2 billion Yuan last year. It serves the entire industry link of steel selling --- steel works, the upstream material supply for steel works and downstream sales and logistics for steel works. The Bao Steel Trading Company has achieved the on-line sale of 5,000 tons from April 21 to 25. In February, only 700 tons were sold online, while the figure increased to 6,000 tons in March. These days more and more sellers are eager to join in the on-line sales platform. The on-line transaction platform of the nation`s biggest chemical E-commerce enterprise ---SCCN has applied such means as complete encryption and digital signature in the respect of security and made on-line negotiation and the final contract signing possible. E-commerce will make more and more customers form the habit of on-line transaction. E-commerce has relieved bulk transactions from the influence of SARS. Websites mainly dealing in individual consumption also yelled out a slogan of ` Shopping without gauze masks` and played a special role in the special period. `Eachnet`, the nation`s biggest individual on-line transaction platform has gained a sharp rise in click-through that increased 30% in April, though it ever increased by 8% a month before.
From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 05/07/2003
A new e-Government initiative to notify the Government online about a change of address has been introduced under the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme. This newly rolled-out Internet service, "Easy Change of Address", caters for the needs of citizens and businesses who have moved homes or offices, allowing them to notify over 10 departments about change of their address using a single online form at the ESD website, www.esd.gov.hk. E-Government Coordinator Michael Stone said this new service is one of many e-Government initiatives which seek to provide more convenient and one-stop public services to the community through the Internet. "Our e-Government vision is to provide seamless electronic services to the public and business in an efficient and customer-centric way. With these objectives in mind, the ESD has brought to the community 140 interactive and transactional online public services since the launching of the scheme in December 2000. "The Easy Change of Address service represents the determination and joint effort of various Government departments, led by the Government's Efficiency Unit, to provide a further customer-oriented online service in a one-stop manner," Mr Stone said. The customer-centric approach of Hong Kong's E-government vision has recently received international recognition in the annual e-Government survey conducted by Accenture, a leading management consulting and technology services company. In this global study named "e-Government Leadership: Engaging the Customer", Hong Kong's ranking has advanced from eighth to seventh place this year in a ranking of 22 governments. The ranking is based on the overall maturity of Hong Kong's online service delivery and its early adoption of Customer Relationship Management techniques that are designed to improve customer service. Mr Stone welcomed the ranking and said that the survey result reflected the steady progress of Hong Kong's e-Government development. The Government is working towards the target of providing an e-option for 90% of public services which are amenable to the electronic mode of service delivery by the end of 2003. As of the end of 2002, 81% of such services were provided with an e-option.
From http://www3.news.gov.hk/ 05/11/2003
The municipal government of Shanghai, China's leading financial center, has launched an official finance website to serve the public. The website -- http:// sjr.sh.gov.cn -- will give timely information on the development of the finance sector in the city and provide on-line services for businesses and individuals. Meanwhile, the municipal government has also launched an insurance website -- www.circ.sh.gov.cn -- to serve businesses in the insurance sector.
From Xinhua News Agency 06/07/2003
The Government and the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) will join hands to implement an Internet content rating system (ICRS) project in Hong Kong to minimise the exposure of young people and children to offensive materials on the Internet. The project adopts the rating system developed by the British Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA). Under this system, webmasters who wish to take part in the scheme on a voluntary basis will declare their website content via an online questionnaire and obtain a content label from ICRA. Internet users need only to download a free label filtering software to allow or deny access to a particular website based on their own preferences. Officiating at the project's launching ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today (June 10), the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Information Technology and Broadcasting), Mr Francis Ho, said the project aimed at minimising the exposure of young people and children to offensive materials on the Internet through the joint efforts of the Government, the industry, schools and parents. He said, "A special feature of the ICRS is that it will not rate the content of individual websites. Webmasters will declare their website content on a voluntary basis, while Internet users will decide by themselves whether to browse a particular website. The system can on the one hand protect young people and children from being exposed to offensive materials, on the other hand it can also ensure that freedom of speech and free flow of information will not be infringed." Mr Ho stressed that the Government had been very concerned about the impact of pornographic and violent information on young people and children. Apart from stepping up enforcement actions, a variety of educational and promotional activities had been organised, which included Ten Healthy Websites Contest, Cyber Ambassador Award, subsidising scheme to organize public education and publicity activities in relation to the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, seminars and exhibitions at schools, and the establishment of the Healthy Information Resource Centre. "We hope these activities can help young people and children to access healthy information and strengthen their immunity against offensive information," he said. The Chairman of HKISPA, Mr York Mok, said at the ceremony that the ICRS emphasised on the importance of self-regulation of the Internet industry. He urged the industry to take the initiative to make good use of the rating system. An "Internet Safety Hotline" - 2528 6286 will be set up under the ICRS project. The hotline, managed by the HKISPA, will handle enquiries about the project and complaints on offensive materials on the Internet. Upon receiving public complaints about offensive content of a website, HKISPA will liaise with the relevant Internet service provider to work out a solution. If the content of the website is found to be against the law, HKISPA will refer the complaint to the Police and Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) for further investigations. The hotline operates from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturday. Calls received after these hours will be recorded for follow-up actions. The ICRS project (including the Internet Safety Hotline) is launched with a funding of $1.2 million from TELA, while HKISPA is responsible for the implementation work and manning of the Hotline. The Association is also responsible for the translation and customisation of the declaration questionnaire and filtering software into Chinese for local adoption. The labeling of websites and downloading of the filtering software are free of charge. Please visit HKISPA's website at www.hkispa.org.hk or call the Internet Safety Hotline for details.
From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 06/10/2003
The municipal government is reporting its progress on this year's projects on its official website, identifying six key achievements: 1. The emergency wards in five out of the 17 hospitals have been renovated according to the plan released earlier this year. Work has begun on 24 out of 40 village and town-level hospitals. 2. Construction has been completed on 340,000 out of one million square meters of commercial residential housing, which will be offered first to citizens moving out of their original residence to make way for urban infrastructure construction. 3. Preparation and analysis has been completed on the project to move parking areas within the inner-ring road and the Hongqiao Development Zone and Gubei area that are blocking public transportation, and three out of 12 new bus lines planned are already running. 4. 195,600 jobs are available on the job market. In total 400,000 vacancies will be open this year. 5. A high school that boards students will be built in each of Fengxian, Jinshan, Nanhui and Chongming counties. Fengxian County has completed relocating residents on the site. Plans for the schools in the other three counties are under discussion. 6. Advanced fire protection and fighting facilities will be installed in 90,000 old residences. So far installation has been completed in 18 percent, or 16807 households. The government website will continue to publicize its progress in the following days.
From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 06/11/2003
Another information system--`Easy Payment` project was launched on May 31, with the aim of providing convenient service for citizens. The project will greatly shorten the time consumed in dealing with reckoning bills by public undertaking companies, and enable the citizens to pay their undertaking charges at any time and any place through such multiple channels as bank, telephone, mobile phone and website etc. The `Easy Payment` project is to be completed in three years. The year 2003 will see a comprehensive operation platform built up, which will form the reckoning bill information exchange channels with 11 public undertaking companies and network with the city`s main banks and Union Pay Company. The priority for the work of 2004 is to launch payment service products so as to realize the uniform exchange and dealing of the reckoning bills from all submitters, and to encourage the application of uniform bar code for bill cancellation. The year 2005 will witness the launching of united bill and bill financing services.
From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 06/13/2003
The Government announced today the appointment of Mr Anthony Wong Sik-kei, currently Director-General of Telecommunications, to take up the post of Commissioner for Innovation and Technology with effect from August 11, 2003. The Commissioner for Innovation and Technology post has not been filled substantively since July 1, 2002 when Mr Francis Ho Suen-wai was appointed as Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Information Technology and Broadcasting). Commenting on Mr Wong's appointment, the Permanent Secretary for the Civil Service, Mrs Rebecca Lai, said: "Mr Anthony Wong has proven leadership and administrative skills. Together with his rich technology experience in the telecommunications field, I am confident that he will be able to lead the Innovation and Technology Commission in facing the challenges ahead. I am also confident that the staff of the Commission will continue to give their best under his leadership." The biographical notes on Mr Anthony Wong Sik-kei are as follows: Mr Anthony Wong Sik-kei, JP. Aged 55, Mr Wong joined the Post Office as an Assistant Telecommunications Engineer in September 1974. He was promoted to Telecommunications Engineer in September 1978, to Senior Telecommunications Engineer in July 1980, to Chief Telecommunications Engineer in June 1984, and to Assistant Postmaster General in July 1988. In March 1994, he was appointed as Senior Assistant Director of Telecommunications in the Office of the Telecommunications Authority. He has been the Director-General of Telecommunications since April 1997.
From http://www.csb.gov.hk/ 06/25/2003
The Shanghai Public Security Bureau this month announced during its first online news briefing that local police captured 1,566 fugitives in the first five months of this year with the help of an online `fugitive network` - a police database of wanted criminals across China`s mainland. The number of the suspects caught included 40 manslaughter suspects as well as 414 burglary suspects. The network started in 2000 and operates like an Intranet police nationwide. `The system has made our work more efficient, and saves cost and personnel said Guo Jianxin, captain of Shanghai`s General Team of Criminal Case Investigation. With the advent of Internet technology, police forces in different areas are in closer contact with one another and can share information. In the past, it was common for police to travel to other regions to capture fugitive suspects. However, with the implementation of the fugitive network, police now can rely on their colleagues in the other regions to make the arrest. Gao said that in the first five months of this year, 35.5 percent of the fugitive suspects were captured by the city`s traffic and patrol police or the police for public order. Police also said the system has impelled more fugitives to surrender themselves because fugitive network makes it much more difficult for suspected criminals to stay on the run. Last year, a total of 314 fugitives surrendered, 6.9 percent of the total. In the first five months of this year a total of 128, or 8.17 percent, turned themselves in to police.
From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 07/01/2003
Shanghai Television Station and East Radio Shanghai have teamed up to create a new cross-media business information service, the China Business Network, which makes its debut today. Shanghai Media Group, with both STV and ERS under its umbrella, said the move represents a key strategic adjustment aimed at changing the audience's impression that Shanghai does not have a unified national financial news media. Shanghai Media is a major domestic media group capitalized at 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.29 billion). Established last August, the group also includes Shanghai Oriental Television and Radio Shanghai. ERS' finance program, which broadcasts for 12 hours each day, has been around for 11 years and is one of the oldest financial programs on China's mainland. The program can also be received in neighboring Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. The business channel of STV, which broadcasts for 19 hours a day, shows programs covering trade, securities investment, economy and finance. The channel claims to be the only medium in China to target investors and professionals as its core viewers. The channel signed a program exchange agreement with American TV broadcaster CNBC in April. As a result, STV became the first broadcaster on the Chinese mainland to air CNBC's financial programs, while China business news can be viewed via CNBC's services in Asia, Europe and the United States.
From Shanghai Daily 07/07/2003
The Government has adopted a vigorous approach to information technology (IT) outsourcing as part of its e-government strategy, the Deputy Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Stephen Mak Hung-sung, said today. Opening the Information Technology Professional Services Arrangement (ITPSA) Conference, Mr Mak said outsourcing also enhanced the effectiveness of IT management. Organised by the Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) with the theme "Enhancing IT management effectiveness through outsourcing", the conference brought together ITPSA contractors, user departments and IT practitioners. Mr Mak said outsourced IT service providers and suppliers had helped the Government in achieving its target of providing an e-option for 90% of all public services amenable to the online mode of delivery by the end of 2003. The Government has outsourced its IT projects for a number of years. There has been a healthy increase in the type of projects outsourced and the number of contractors, both local and international, taking part in those projects. "In 2001, we reinforced our outsourcing strategy and our objectives to enlarge the delivery capacity for IT services, to accelerate the delivery of IT solutions and to create a market of sufficient size to encourage the further development of the IT industry locally," Mr Mak said. At present, the Government outsources close to 90% of its new IT projects. It also started to outsource its application maintenance work in 2001. "In June last year, we signed the Standing Offer Agreements under our ITPSA as part of our outsourcing strategy to provide an effective tool for us to outsource IT projects," Mr Mak said. Twenty-three such agreements were awarded to 12 companies of varying sizes and origin. Under the agreements, the 12 contractors provide IT professional services when required by government departments during a 30-month period that started on June 27, 2002. Since these agreements have been in force, 180 work assignments with a total value of $142 million have been awarded. Mr Mak said the Government had been striving to uphold the highest standard of integrity in dealing with outsourcing acquisitions and had established tools under the ITPSA framework to help safeguard integrity. The department also worked closely with the Corruption Prevention Department of the Independent Commission Against Corruption during the preparation and execution of the ITPSA. To foster enterprise application integration and information exchange, ITSD introduced the Interoperability Framework in November last year and has been promoting and guiding government contractors to adopt a common standard framework. Some ITPSA contractors have successfully applied the Interoperability Framework in their system deployment, thus facilitating seamless integration and interconnection of government applications and their public interfaces. "Another crucial aspect to the success of IT outsourcing is the effective quality management of outsourced projects," Mr Mak pointed out. Service providers are required to have a quality management system in place for service delivery and are encouraged to adopt international standards such as ISO9001 and Capability Maturity Model. To enhance the governance structure for IT in support of e-government, the department has established more IT Management Units (ITMUs) throughout the civil service. So far, over 40 bureaux and departments have set up their IT Management Units. As the ITMUs are also expected to adopt a vigorous outsourcing policy, the department will facilitate them in adopting best management practices for managing outsourced IT projects. "In implementing our outsourcing strategy, it is important that we keep track of international best practice in this arena," Mr Mak said. He quoted a recent study conducted by Accenture and the Economist Intelligence Unit on the outsourcing strategy of 23 governments, in which the Hong Kong Government ranked highly in terms of efficiency in both cost reduction and productivity. The report, published in May, also highlighted the Government's success in adopting proven methodologies in its projects. Mr Mak said he was glad to find that an increase of about 10% of the overall IT budget had been earmarked for the current financial year under the challenge of expenditure cuts and resource constraints. The department fully appreciates the need to do more with less and will look to the client departments and partners in the industry to help as well. He said that despite its success, the Government would not be complacent and would work with its service providers to further its management excellence in IT outsourcing. Thirteen talks addressing different aspects of outsourcing were scheduled for the one-day conference. Representatives from various government departments will also participate in a panel discussion to share their experiences in using the ITPSA.
From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 07/07/2003
A new IT help-desk and face-to-face advisory services have been launched to enhance the efficiency and productivity of businesses through information technology. The new service, entitled IT Easy Link for Businesses, is jointly launched by the Commerce, Industry & Technology Bureau, the Information Technology Services Department and the HK Computer Society. Being an extension of the IT Easy Link service, it features a dedicated help-desk hotline (2111 3328) for resolving general problems in the application of IT, including server-based database management systems, systems administration, network administration and systems security. Face-to-face advice will be available to small and medium-sized enterprises that plan to adopt IT or that have run into difficulties in IT application. At the launch ceremony today, Secretary for Commerce, Industry & Technology Henry Tang said the new service will help lower the entry barriers and initial capital outlays of small and medium-sized enterprises that embark on the use of IT in their operations and solve their difficulties in the application of IT. The IT Easy Link for Businesses hotline operates from 9.30am to 5.30pm from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
From http://www.esd.gov.hk/ 07/08/2003
Starting from July, netizen can apply for Shanghai residential card, sign up for the national civil servant exam, or register for investment qualification approval on the Internet, thanks to the online service launched by Shanghai Personnel Bureau on its official website (www.21cnhr.com), the bureau revealed on a news briefing last Friday. Part of the municipal government online governmental service project, the website provides online services including Shanghai residential card application, online sign up for national civil servants examination and approve, qualification cognizance for returned overseas students establishing companies in Shanghai, and overseas students' application for research funds. The online service network will be connected with that in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces later in bid to enable sharing of human resources in the Yangtze River Delta region, an official from the Shanghai Personnel Bureau said.
From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 07/14/2003
Beginning this month, trade companies which export goods by air can check the Website - www.shcus.gov.cn - for relevant information about tax reimbursement five days after the cargo flights have departed the city, a Shanghai Customs officials said. This is another measure by the customs to facilitate foreign trade. In the past, enterprises couldn`t get timely information on tax reimbursement procedures. As a result, their capital circulation was often affected.
From http://www.shanghaiit.gov.cn/ 07/14/2003
How is the status of enterprise informatization of Shanghai? Recently, an authoritative survey report was freshly made for a thorough clairvoyance of the status of the enterprise informatization application in Shanghai. The survey, as the first and the most thorough one of its kind, generated a report of over 1,000 pages. Masterminded by the Municipal Informatization Office and the Municipal Statistics Bureau, the survey was launched by Shanghai Internet Economy Consulting Center and Shanghai Enterprise Survey Team of the National Statistics Bureau from November 2002 to the end of February 2003, dealing with such 14 trades as machine manufacture, transportation, retail and wholesale trading, catering and tourism, food processing, textile, petroleum, medical chemical plant, chemical fiber and plastic products, metal smelt, transportation manufacture, electronic and communications manufacture, cultural and educational products manufacture and real estate. Some 3,735 enterprises were drawn out as samples and 1,736 questionnaires were called back through reserved visits, totally gathering 500,000 pieces of data. It is reported that Shanghai Municipal Internet Economy Consulting Center is to introduce the basic situation of this survey on its website (www. siecc.org) and release some of the data.
From http://www.shanghaiit.gov.cn/ 07/23/2003
MATSUE - The city of Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, is planning to introduce an electronic balloting system when it holds a mayoral election next spring, officials said Tuesday. According to the public management ministry, electronic voting was first introduced in Niimi, Okayama Prefecture, in an election for mayor and city assembly members in June last year.
From http://www.japantoday.com/ 06/24/2003
"E-Government Construction Plan" (Japanese) was adopted by Ministries and Agencies CIO Council in July 17, 2003. The first comprehensive egov plan consists of general principle with basic strategy and action plans to be carried out by every ministries and agencies within two years (by the end of 2005 fiscal year). The main goal is to realize: 1. Citizen-oriented Government Service -- People can feel easy, safe and comfortable in receiving 7days-24hours services and information via Internet on such as the government portal. 2. Simple and Cost-effective Government -- Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) with outsourcing and up-to-date ICTs are promoted to be more flexible, efficient and simple government.
From http://www.manaboo.com/ 07/19/2003
In reaction to the accentuating need to develop new IT growth engines to maintain high IT competitiveness, the government said last week it has launched full-fledged projects to foster new IT industries. The vanguard project will be a task force comprising professionals from both the government and private sectors, while a technological strategy team will be established within the Ministry of Information and Communication to design IT policies. The government's plan to put private muscle at the forefront of such a vital task is considered an epochal move by industry watchers. The minister said, "The task force will be set up within this month in order to promote new IT growth engines, while the technological strategy team will be in charge of searching for new policy approaches." The task force will consist of a plethora of professionals from IT-related fields and research institutes, the ministry said. "Although it has not been confirmed yet, the task force will likely be formed along the lines of the nine next-generation IT items, like intelligent robots and post-PC computers, selected by the ministry," it said. A project manager to lead the team will be selected from the private sector, while an executive secretary with experience in administrative management to support the manager will come from a public body. Separate from the task force, a technological strategy team will be launched from the second week of May in order to further the IT development processes while mapping out strategies for relevant policy changes, the ministry said. A total of 20 professionals will be appointed to the strategy team. The team members will first focus on analyzing current IT technologies and future possibilities. The team will also act as an advisor to the Information and Communication Minister during discussions regarding the development of IT industry, the ministry said. (by Lee Joo-hee)
From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 05/06/2003
Internet users will be able to block unsolicited e-mails by registering their e-mail addresses at www.nospam.go.kr, a state-run anti-spam Web site. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said on Monday (May 19) that it has banned companies from sending unsolicited e-mails, or spam, to Internet users registered with the spam-filtering site, which was opened last August by the commission. According to the FTC, it will supply companies with a program that can identify those registered for anti-spam filtering on their mailing lists. Companies can visit the homepage and download the program, which contains an encrypted list of e-mail addresses. Offenders could be subject to fines of up to 10 million won or other punitive measures, according to the FTC. "Once people list their e-mail addresses on the site as `a declaration of intent,' in legal terms, they have rights against such intrusions of privacy," an FTC official said. According to the FTC, some 915 million unsolicited e-mails are sent every day. An individual receives 16,396 spam e-mails on average per year.
From http://www.korea.net/ 05/19/2003
Ahn Chul-Soo, president and CEO of AnLab, Inc., has been selected as the No. 1 role model for corporate executives in a recent poll by recruitment information agency Recruit. In a survey of 241 company workers by the Seoul-based Recruit, 30 percent singled out Ahn Chul-soo as the CEO that they would turn to for business management. Ranked after Ahn were Samsung Electronics' Vice Chairman Yun Jong-yong with an approval rating of 17 percent and Kookmin Bank CEO Kim Jung-tae with 10 percent. Fila Korea's Yoon Yoon-soo and NCsoft Corp.'s Kim Taek-jin were also among the top five. Among overseas CEOs, Microsoft's Bill Gates and General Electronics' Jack Welch ranked top, each garnering the same 26 percent of the vote. Over a quarter of the respondents claimed that CEOs should present clear-cut visions of the future to their employees. Also, leadership, problem-solving ability and rational thinking accounted for 20 percent and 19 percent of ideal CEOs' virtues, respectively. The ability to find and manage well-qualified human resources stood at 10 percent. Regarding excellent points of their own CEOs, 70 percent of the respondents chose the ability to negotiate with foreign business partners and establish human networks. However, 22 percent think that the CEOs lack the ability to find and manage good human resources. The result testifies that domestic companies still turn a blind eye to human resources management system. When requested to grade their CEOs on an A to F scale, one third of the total respondents gave Bs, and a quarter gave Cs. Of note is that 15 percent gave Fs, whereas 13 percent gave As. To the question of whether they would transfer to a firm headed by a CEO more competent than their own, 65 percent answered "yes," signaling that the qualification of the CEO also affects the employees' job change. Among those who answered yes, 31 percent said they expect the CEO might help them develop business performance. (by Seo Ji-eun)
From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 06/19/2003
The Ministry of Science and Technology announced on Sept. 11 that it has selected a total of 128 foreign and Korean scientists who would participate in the ministry- sponsored Scientist Exchange Program for 2002. Under the program, 106 leading foreign scientists will fly into Korea to participate in local Korean research projects, while 11 scientists will be en route abroad to take part in overseas joint research projects. Of the foreign-born scientists, the largest contingent of 55 will be from Russia, the second largest of 18 from China, and the remaining seven from India, the ministry said. Materials, electronics, information, and the environment were the principle fields of technologies for which the ministry invited these scientists. The ministry also noted that it would finance research to be conducted by 11 laboratory teams abroad, under the same exchange program. The ministry further said that the exchange program this year was aimed at acquiring certain advanced technologies from Russia and Eastern European countries.
From http://www.itkoreapost.com/ 07/14 /2003
Daejein Metropolitan City has announced the Administration Service Chapter for realizing a citizen-oriented administration. Is administration a policy, service, or management? Daejeon Metropolitan City has answered this question. It has officially announced the Synthetic Administration Service Chapter at a regular meeting on July 2. Adminstration Service Chapter is focused on all the public officiates' realizing 'the administration of service, transparency and management' that will provide Daejeon citizens with the best administrative service. In order to establish the most advanced city in the country, it has set 146 practical objectives detailed for each administration field. The mayor, Yeom Hong-chul advocated reforming all the public officials' senses and improving the system culture to maximize an efficiency of the service. He proclaimed a strong will for realizing administration service chapter, emphasizing that "the citizens are now not the object of administration but another subject of it". The Administration Service Chapter totally includes 11 individual chapters of a civil application, construction, business support, consumer, welfare, public hygiene, environment, and so on which are added by the service standard for 12 fields of judical affairs, voluntary service, juveniles, women, children, aged men, cleaning, public transportation, and so on. Providing the best administration service in total 23 operating fields, the Synthetic Administration Service Chapter has set forth practical guiding principles for each case such as direct visiting contact by calling post, fax, e-mail, and so on. Additionally, all the civil affair documents will state clearly related information such as the name of person in charge and where to make confect, in order to meet with citizens' right to know. In case any citizen has something to complain of about the service, he or she can contact the city hall at any time via letter, telephone, fax, internet or homemade. Then he or she will receive the reply within 2 days. The City also asks all the citizens to give encouragement and whipping unsparingly to civil officials. Now citizens can participate in the civil affaires by proposing a good idea to improve an administrative efficiency, or recommending an exemplary official to infuse self-administration.
From http://www.metro.daejeon.kr/ 07/16/2003
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8: The Defence Ministry has established information communication technology centres at 10 military camps in the country with a view to providing multimedia and Internet facilities to the families of soldiers. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today the ICT centres would also assist the children of soldiers to be computer literate. The ministry, he added, allocated an initial fund of RM40,000 for each of the ICT centres which could cater for up to 1,500 family members at the camps, like at the Desa Tun Hussein Onn Camp in Jalan Jelatek. "We wish to provide more such centres nationwide and seek the support of the private sector for financial assistance. We hope that with financial rewards and facilities like the ICT granted to the children of soldiers, especially for the other ranks, it will spur them to academic excellence," Najib said. In the past, the children of soldiers had their studies interrupted owing to the frequent transfers of their parents for duty. "This had resulted in the children having to readjust themselves to the new environment at school and society, which in turn has an effect on their studies. "However, the ministry is attempting to overcome this shortcoming by arranging for tuition or extra-classes for their children," he said at the presentation of the Armed Forces Academic Excellence Awards to children of soldiers at Wisma Pertahanan in Jalan Padang Tembak. Also present were the Armed Forces Superannuation Fund chief executive Datuk Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and assistant chief of staff (personnel services) at the Armed Forces headquarters Mej Jen Datuk Abas Mokmin. Najib advised the children to study diligently as their efforts would be rewarded later in their lives. "Your success will also reflect on the ministry's efforts to provide adequate financial assistance like study loans, grants, scholarships, higher education funding and the like for deserving students. "Education is not only vital for an individual's successful career but for nation-building and a knowledgeable society. Education provides a great potential for one's future," said Najib. He called on parents and their children to be multi-lingual and pursue courses which were in line with market demand for employment in the competitive world. "Otherwise your efforts and degrees will be wasted and lead to unemployment, like what happened to the past generation during colonial times, where people were denied proper education either owing to lack of finance or not being given the opportunity. "The National Economic Action Council has reported there exists a high number of unemployment among graduates the past three years due to the uncertain global economy," said Najib. Najib discouraged parents and children from over-dependence on the Government for handouts and the quota system for Bumiputeras, which would only weaken society. "One should earn and work for success based on meritocracy," said Najib. On the awards, a total of 92 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (Form 5) and 278 Penilaian Menengah Rendah (Form 3) students who excelled in their studies in the examinations last year were rewarded with RM1,000 and RM500 each, respectively.
From http://www.emedia.com.my/ 06/09/2003
Schools in Sabah have once again been reminded of the great need to implement the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) education smoothly. Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said teachers must also improve their knowledge and skills in ICT before imparting the know-how to students. "Like it or not, we are facing globalisation challenges in terms of education, economy and politics. So we must act quickly or we will be left behind. To be a progressive community, we must be developed in ICT," he said. Musa was speaking at the launch of the School Administration System (SAS) and School Library System (SLS) by Timecom Holdings Sdn Bhd, jointly organised by the State Education Department and Dynabook Computer Centre at Pacific Wing Sutera Harbour Resort and Spa, here Friday. In consonance with the Education Ministry's effort to create an ICT-literate society, the State Government, he said welcomed the participation of the private sector in developing ICT in Sabah. "The State Government fully supports the Federal Government to increase ICT usage in the education sector as it is the front line institution in the bid to mobilise the usage of computer and digital technology," he said. The Government has made a bold step by creating the Multimedia Super Corridor and, therefore, every quarter must be more serious in mastering the knowledge, he said. Musa commended Timecom Holdings for contributing RM1.064 million worth of computer programmes and training for the SLS and SAS, which he hoped would enable the chosen schools in Sabah to function efficiently. Meanwhile, State Education Director Datuk Kamal Quadra said the Education Department was striving to assist the State Government in achieving its halatuju (direction). This includes the development of human resources and to reduce the digital divide between rural and urban areas, he said. "The State Education Department has set a target of 60 per cent of the students in Sabah to be proficient in Mathematics and Science as well as English," he said, adding that at the moment, the ratio stands at 38 per cent. Kamal said more than 7,000 computer notebooks were distributed while more than 200 computer laboratories as well as 110 sets of Internet computers had been made available for schools in Sabah. All these, he said, were also to ensure that schools in rural areas were not left behind. As for the SAS and SLS, he said although only 40 schools had been selected to receive them for free, due consideration would be given to extend them to others as well. Later, Musa accompanied by Kamal and Timecom Holding Chief Executive Officer, Alan Tan, clicked the mouse to launch the programme as well as witnessed the handing over of a RM1.064 million mock cheque from Tan to Kamal.
From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/ 07/05/2003
DAVAO CITY-CITING the problem on affordability and accesibility of information and communications technology (ICT) among businesses in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it has linked with various groups to intensify efforts to spearhead IT related initiatives. DTI Davao City director Teololu Pasawa said the agency is supportive of Solutions Expo, an exhibit that showcases the information and communications technology (ICT) capacities of Davao-based software developers. Solutions Expo 2003 is day-long affair at the Royal Mandaya Hotel that features technical training sessions, company presentation and the legal issues on IT. Pasawa said they will participate by conducting a lecture on how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can avail themselves of the technology through financial support from the government. Pasawa said the DTI, together with Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has established the Mindanao Portal in 2001. This is a website that SMEs can use to advertise and sell their products worldwide. He said almost all SME owners in the region believe computerization of business transactions is only necessary for big companies, according to a 2001 survey done by the National Computer Center under the DOST. "Sa nasabing survey nalaman namin dito sa DTI na maraming illiterate sa computerization, some of them are aware, kaya lang, most of them think na para lang sa big companies ito," Pasawa told Sun.Star in a recent interview. Pasawa said computerization of accounting, payroll and other business transactions of even a flourishing enterprise is critical to the operations of the business. Compared to manual entry, computer-aided accounting makes the procedure more accurate. Thus, lossess are minimized and profit is maximized, the DTI official said.
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 06/14/2003
The local telecommunications industry can expect to see more merger and acquisition activity and interest from foreign operators if the regulator's proposed changes to its guidelines for consolidation in the sector takes effect. Among the most eye-catching changes proposed are the removal of a need to seek the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) pre-approval for the acquisition of stakes of less than 12 per cent in local telcos. Under the proposed changes, all that is required is for parties involved to notify the IDA after the change in stake holding. This is because an ownership interest of at least 5 per cent, but less than 12 per cent, was 'unlikely to raise competition concerns', thereby obviating the need for pre-approval, IDA said. However, a pre-acquisition notification is needed as an interest of more than 5 per cent could be the precursor to the acquisition of a bigger stake, which may 'ultimately raise anti-competition or public interest concerns', the IDA said. This is in contrast to current policy which requires players to seek the IDA's pre-approval for any change in stake, even if its less than 5 per cent. The new proposed 12 per cent threshold is also consistent with that in other local sectors such as banking, the IDA said. The IDA said that the proposed changes and feedback it was seeking from the public were prompted by the 'rapid changes' in the local telco scene last year, when mobile phone operator M1 went public and No 2 telco StarHub merged with the Republic's only cable TV operator, Singapore Cable Vision. The new merged entity is expected to go public either this year or next. Industry watchers said the removal of that threshold could spark interest in local telcos from foreign giants as it would now be less cumbersome for them to buy into operators here. It would also make the entire merger and acquisition process in the telco sector more transparent, which always helps to spark activity, they added. Other proposed changes by the IDA include the need for service-based operators with sufficient market control to be also included under its consolidation code. Under current policy, only facilities-based operators - telcos with their own infrastructure - are included. All submissions must reach the IDA by May 30.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 05/09/2003
Employers can now submit their Employment Pass (EP) applications, including renewals, online with the introduction of a new web-based service called EPOnline by the Ministry of Manpower. This additional service will coincide with the closure of its EP application counters with effect from Monday, 2 June 2003.2 "EPOnline is part of the department's strategic plan to restructure its operations in order to serve its customers better," said Soh Chin Heng, Director of the Employment Pass Department (EPD). "By enabling employers to submit their pass applications or renewals through the Internet, we have made it more convenient and faster for our customers."3 The department encourages all employers to subscribe to the web-based service. At the same time, it will continue to enhance the system to make it more user-friendly and increase its functionalities. Based on the feedback it gathers from its new users, the EPD will align its new service with business needs.4 Employers and companies who wish to use the EPOnline system can email the EPD at email@example.com. Employers can also continue to submit applications for passes, including renewal of passes, by posting them to the EPD located at 9 Maxwell Road. If employers happen to be at the department for other services, they can drop the applications at the deposit boxes located in the department.5 Although EPD will be closing its application counters with effect from Monday, 2 June 2003, it will keep open the counters providing services for collection and cancellation of passes.
From http://www.mom.gov.sg/ 05/29/2003
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) co-organise the first job and learning fair - to offer 800 employment opportunities, and a variety of skills-upgrading courses and business ideas. For the very first time, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), in partnership with the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC), will be organising Jobs and Skills @ Central Singapore, a single event combining a Community Job Fair and a Learning Roadshow on Saturday, 28 June, at the HDB Hub Atrium @ Toa Payoh from 11:30am to 7:30pm. Mr Heng Chee How, Mayor of Central Singapore District, will grace the event. The organisers hope to spread the message that lifelong learning can boost one's employability and is an invaluable investment that Singaporeans should make. Jobs and Skills @ Central Singapore will be presented in three thematic zones, each to offer opportunities and ideas in employment, skills upgrading and self-employment. "A mindset that embraces learning will put Singaporeans in better stead during these uncertain times, " said Ms Abegail Chew, MOM Deputy Director of Corporate Communications. "We have deliberately combined both the Community Job Fair and the Learning Roadshow into a single event as we want to draw a closer link between training and how having up-to-date skills can boost one's employability significantly. Aside from immediate vacancies, the fair will offer many training programmes for employment opportunities which MOM has developed through close partnership with our industries and economic agencies." The Job Search Zone of the event will offer 800 immediate vacancies in retail, food & beverage, services sectors and the public sector. Vacancies include those for management trainees, police officers, restaurant crew/managers, retail assistants/managers, chefs/cooks, cashiers, technicians, and many more! Job seekers may also approach professional career counsellors with their employment-related questions and get free consultation on skills like resume writing. To help them make the most out of their visit, all job seekers will be presented with Job Guide - a tool designed to help them navigate their job search at the fair. The Learning Roadshow comprises the Skills Upgrading and Self-Employment zones, and is part of the series of learning for employability initiatives which will culminate in the annual Singapore Learning Festival in November. The Skills Upgrading Zone will offer training courses and skills upgrading opportunities for those seeking to boost their employability prospects by enhancing their skills. There are IT courses in multi-media design, certificate courses for both business and technical skills, etc., offered by our partners ITE, NTUC, PSB Academy, eClubs who have developed relevant courses to meet industry needs. Jobs and Skills @ Central Singapore will also be presenting budding entrepreneurs with some potential business ideas. They could acquire a new skill from courses offered by the People's Association, My Foot Reflexology and June Floral Art School - be it caricature drawing or flower arrangement - and start a small business themselves. To pick up quick tips on entrepreneurship, they should sign up for the Self-Employment Training (SET) Programme offered by SNEF. The fair not only hopes to inspire job seekers, but also employers towards providing friendlier environment for their staff. Conducted by the Work-Life Unit of Ministry of Community Development and Sports (MCDS), the Work-life Strategy sharing session will introduce the benefits of incorporating Work-Life into the workplace and some of the avenues that SMEs can seek for subsidy and funding to implement them. Also among the line-up of activities for the day are talks by various professionals as well as sharing sessions by celebrities. In addition, there will be a prize presentation for winners of the recently concluded Learning Moments Photo Competition, a digital photography contest on lifelong learning. The winning works will be showcased in an exhibition at the event. To keep the learning spirit alive, a series of Industry Learning Tours in growth sectors and array of learning activities will also take place in July. For more details on the tours and activities, please visit www.learningfest.com.sg. The Singapore Learning Festival (SLF) is an important part of the Ministry's effort in nurturing a lifelong learning culture in Singaporeans. The objective of the festival is to bring together the public, private and people sectors to create awareness and generate participation in continuous learning through a diversity of hands-on and experiential activities. Since 2000, for a few of weeks each year, everyone in Singapore is encouraged to take part in and enjoy the wide variety of learning activities that are offered island-wide by various organisers. To keep the spirit of lifelong learning alive through the year, the Ministry has made efforts to bring lifelong learning drive to the heartlands more regularly and make learning activities more relevant and more accessible to all Singaporeans.
From http://www.mom.gov.sg/ 06/25/2003
Help is at hand for businessmen who don't know how they can benefit from the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA), or any FTA for that matter. Soon, they will be able to go to a new website being built by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), key in a word such as 'radios' and see everything that is relevant to their line of business in a flash. For example, the website will throw up information about the tariff classification for radios, what rules need to be met to enjoy zero tariffs, or if there is a time-line before tariffs fall to zero. That is the latest in a string of initiatives by the Government to reverse the perception among many local businesses here that they have little to gain from the trade pact with the US. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a USSFTA seminar organised by the Singapore Institute of Management yesterday, MTI deputy director and legal adviser Minn Naing Oo said the 'interactive' FTA website should be up and running by year-end. It is taking a while because of the tedious data-entry process of keying in 10,000 items. To raise awareness levels of the benefits of the pact, MTI officials have spoken to companies at about 20 seminars, conferences and dialogue sessions. Yet, 71 per cent of companies polled by the Singapore Confederation of Industries (SCI) said recently that they saw no gains flowing from the USSFTA. Among them, however, 50 per cent do not export to the US at all. MTI officials had planned - even before the survey results were released - to conduct a USSFTA seminar for SCI members on July 31. 'The poll is useful in telling us some companies are not aware of the FTA. 'Hopefully, when they attend our outreach programme, the information gap will be plugged and their appreciation of the FTA increased,' said Mr Minn. Speaking later at the official launch of SCI's new name - Singapore Manufacturers' Federation - as a guest of honour, Minister for Trade and Industry BG George Yeo urged its members to 'plough into the details' of the USSFTA to find out how they could benefit. 'It's important that our companies are fully aware of what's going on, and maximise the advantages.' How can companies benefit? For instance, the tariff with the US for integrated circuits and printed circuit assembly is 3.5 per cent. But after the FTA, it falls to 0 per cent, he said.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 07/04/2003
Vietnam's financing and banking sector is emerging as a lucrative market for the information technology industry as demands for modernization of service delivery in this industry are being unfolded, an annual banking conference heard yesterday. Speaking at the conference beginning in Hanoi, Gary Fung, chairman of IDG Expo Asia said that Vietnam's financing and banking sector was currently boasting a galloping development as the sector's IT spending accounted for up to 22% of the national IT market. "I think the sector is experiencing another wave of investment into IP application such as Internet-based solutions, e-banking, system and customer management," Fung told the two-day event held by IDG and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Ta Quang Tien, head of the Banking IT Department, shared Fung's assessment and said Vietnam had been trying to promote electronic banking payment at a cost of US$10 million and with the support of the World Bank. The e-payment system will help banks cut costs, launch value-added services and strengthen management of micro and macro financial activities. The prospect of such a modernized banking system has turned the sector into a "promised land" for IT. What is described as another niche is the automated teller machine (ATM) network. Vietnam now has 220 ATMs nationwide, according to the Banking IT Department. Other fields holding potentials for IP introduction are credit cards, banking software and e-commerce. Besides, the conference heard Klaus Rohland, director of the World Bank in Vietnam, emphasize that Vietnam's banking sector had a lot of things to do on the way to integrate itself into the international banking system. The conference will conclude today.
From http://www.vneconomy.com.vn/ 05/12/2003
A draft law to beef up e-commerce protection may be sent for govt revision. A draft law to regulate legal aspects of e-commerce not covered in current laws may go to the government for revision by the end of August. It has become necessary to define a legal framework for e-commerce in Vietnam, to recognise the legal value of electronic data, signatures and contracts. At a recent meeting with Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien, Deputy Trade Minister Le Danh Vinh, Head of the E-commerce Ordinance Drafting Committee proposed submitting the draft, a suggestion that was backed by most participants. Deputy Minister Vinh confirmed that the Ministry of Trade would try to submit the final draft to the Government before the end of this year. This is the fifth time the committee has reviewed the draft law.
From http://www.bvom.com/ 07/04/2003
The Bhutan Telecom (BT) has installed a new 'remote line unit (RLU)' sub exchange station at Kanglung, Trashigang, to service the growing demand of telephone and database services in the area. The exchange can provide both voice and database services through high bandwidth connections, and has a 'capacity flexibility' for about 3,580 connections from an initial 640 connections. The RLU, established at a cost of Nu 11.45 million, is expected to fulfill the needs of Kanglung area for the next decade. It will cover Rongthong, Khangma and Yonphula, about 10 kilometres from Kanglung towards Khaling. Bhutan Telecom managing director, Sangey Tenzing, told Kuensel that the setting up of the sub-exchange was part of the on-going urban expansion of the telecommunication network to fulfill the diverse requirements of customers. The installation of the RLU system took about three weeks with the designing, installation, and inspection all done by BT officials. "We saved the consultant's hiring cost," a BT official said. The RLU system replaces the earlier system - the 'digital radio multiple access system (DRMAS) - which had a limited capacity of 128 line connections and was not appropriate for database or internet. The new exchange will mainly service Sherubste college and the renewable natural resource research centre (RNR-RC) and the second eastern zone agriculture project (SEZAP) headquarters in Khangma. Kanglung has also been earmarked to be developed into a satellite town in the current plan. Kanglung currently has 208 telephone connections. The Sherubste college principal, Dorji Tshering, told Kuensel that the new exchange will solve the problem of imparting information technology (IT) education in the college. He said the service will be made available immediately to the college internet cafe and library computers while college staff can apply for new telephone and internet connections. The existing DRMAS unit that was servicing Kanglung area has been shifted to service Drametse in Mongar and Bartsham in Trashigang with 64 line connections to each area. The unit has already been installed and household connections begun. BT has eight local switch system exchanges, 12 RLU exchanges, and one international exchange with a capacity of 26,000 connections. As of now there are 21,500 telephone users in the country with 1,574 telephone users under the Trashigang's operational region which covers four eastern districts. (by Bishal Rai)
From http://www.kuenselonline.com/ 05/22/2003
The Delhi Transport Department on Friday went online with the inauguration of its website, which has details of all the workings of the department, as well as information on registration of vehicles and other such issues. The website, http://transport.delhigovt.nic.in, has detailed information on the various aspects of working of the department as well details of auto fares and bus routes, a Delhi government release said. Links to DTC, Metro Rail Corporation and Delhi Traffic Police websites, an auto quiz for persons aspiring to acquire a driving licence as well as information on how to obtain a permit for a commercial vehicle, and other such procedures, are some of the features of the website. The registration details of non-transport vehicles could be accessed in an interactive format by entering the chassis and registration number of the vehicle, the release said adding various forms required to be filled in for jobs in the Transport Department could also be downloaded from the site.
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 05/09/2003
Men and women registered with Delhi's 12 employment exchanges could have reason for some cheer. The labour department plans to put their names up on the Net, so that their candidatures are made available to private companies and placement agencies. The department has mooted a proposal for signing a deal with a private firm to create the database to be put on the Net. The proposal has been approved by the finance department, and will be put before the Cabinet soon. Over a million men and women are registered with the exchanges, with fresh lots of around 2,00,000 being added every year. But the most the employment department is able to recommend for jobs every year are 300 people. "There are not many jobs in the government sector now," said Labor Commissioner Rajni Kant Verma. "Also, government jobs are advertised, thereby ending the monopoly of names we recommend." Putting names up on the Net will create the "biggest authentic database of unemployed youth" that any private company can access, Verma said. "We will divide the number of registered youth into categories based on their educational qualifications and skills." Under the plan, each of the 12 exchanges will be computerized and linked to each other. Registration and renewal will be done instantly. Employed youth too can register, and registration will be possible over the Net, provided the candidate has a credit/debit card. The department's partner firm, ECI Limited, will charge a nominal fee from candidates for registration and renewal. Most of the implementation cost will be recovered from the companies that use the database. (by Chetan Chauhan)
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 05/21/2003
KOLKATA: A new information technology hub on a 500-acre plot is slated to come up at Rajarhat as part of a joint venture between Webel and US mutlinational CB Richard Ellis. West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has already declared that US consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. would continue to be the state's interlocutor with IT giants for one more year. Though a late starter, the state's growth in software export has been the highest in the last fiscal, claimed departmental officials on Wednesday. With another IT hub at Nonadanga off the EM Bypass under the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority and the Salt Lake electronic complex, the triangle will be complete. According to officials, IT minister Manab Mukherjee and housing minister Goutam Deb had recently agreed to provide the 500-acre plot for the ambitious project. The housing department has already provided 10 acres to Webel. The CBRE, the infrastructural consultant for IT majors, will help in developing the hub to suit the multinationals as the latter do not wish to own real estates. A 600,000 sq.metre area will be provided to companies, both national and foreign, at a competitive price. Officials said the state's export of IT software had doubled to Rs 1,600 crore in 2002-03 from Rs 800 crore in 2001-02. In 1996-97, it was a mere Rs 16 crore. In spite of this feat, the state's share was just four per cent of the software export while Bangalore retained the lead with a 30 per cent share, the IT officials conceded. "While trying desperately to catch up with Bangalore, we are in the race to become the third IT destination in the country with Delhi, Jaipur, Mohali, Gurgaon and Hyderabarad vying for the second spot. Delhi-based Software Technology Park of India authorities have acknowledged a 99 per cent growth in the state's software export whereas the national growth is 26 per cent.
From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 05/29/2003
BANGALORE: The city police will go for total computerisation before August 30 by networking the police stations with the offices of the senior police officers such as DCP's and above ranks. Police commissioner S. Mariswamy announced this to reporters on Wednesday. The National Crime Records Bureau has provided software for this, he said. Computerisation will help the senior officers to monitor what is happening at the station level with regard to complaints and investigation on a regular basis, he added. Upgradation of police stations too has begun. Under this plan, basic conditions in the police stations like seating arrangements for the constabulory and visitors will be improved, Mariswamy said. Proper seating arrangements like work stations will be provided to the constabulory, so that they can comfortably sit and function. Aqua guard drinking water will be made available to them, he added.
From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 07/17/2003
The operations of the Treasury and even the issue of passports will be handled by computer shortly and with it, politicians will not be able to hide behind public servants in the execution of their duties, Minister of Economic Reforms, Science and Technology, Milinda Moragoda said. The Minister was addressing Sri Lanka's first 'National e-government conference', aimed at introducing e-governance through an Information and Communication Technology roadmap, where ordinary citizens across the country could interact with government organisations to get speedy benefits. More specifically, with e-government, decisions fed into computer would come into force throughout the country. The objectives of the conference were to announce a national e-government policy and action plans; to build awareness among government officials and senior bureaucrats; to create e-government 'champion' with ministries and departments and share global best practices from other developing states. Government officials and senior bureaucrats who would play a role in the transformation of ministries, departments, the private sector and donor community, to e-government were present. This move towards e-government was initiated by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, assisted by Minister Moragoda. The World Bank Director (Information) Dr Carlos Braga said Wickremesinghe had approached the World Bank 10 years ago in his quest to introduce e-government to Sri Lanka, but at that time, the World Bank did not have a scheme to accommodate such an issue. The introduction of e-government was the last chance for Sri Lanka to be on par with the rest of the developing world, Secretary to the Ministry of Policy Development and Implementation, Charitha Ratwatte said. Ratwatte said that Sri Lanka, which was economically far ahead of its neighbours in 1948, is today far behind, having missed every opportunity. The objectives of e-Sri Lanka are expected to be completed by 2007. (by Elmo Leonard)
From http://www.sundayobserver.lk/ 05/18/2003
MALE (HNS) -- President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on Thursday launched the computerized national identity card that the Department of National Registration began to issue on the same day. The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Housing and Environment, Abdul Azeez Yoosuf and the Assistant Director General of the Department of National Registration, Mariyam Waheeda called on the President at his Office on Thursday afternoon, and requested him to inaugurate the service. The first computerized national identity card so made, which was that of the President, was then presented to him by Mariyam. Gayoom thanked Azeez and Mariyam for calling on him and presenting him his ID card. He expressed his appreciation of the dedicated work done by the concerned officials and staff of the Department of National Registration in computerizing the Identity Card system and congratulated them on the new service. The President also noted that since the practice of issuing national identity cards was initiated, a large number of people had learned the value of the registration system, and added that a modern computerized service in this regard would greatly increase the convenience to the public. Mariyam said that the computerized card system was installed within a very short time through the co-operation and support of a number of parties. She assured the President of the Department commitment to a user-friendly service in issuing national identity cards.
From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 05/03/2003
MALE (HNS) -- Telecommunication services in Maldives are efficient compared to most of the countries in South Asia, the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology said on Saturday. The ministry also said that the telecommunications world body, the International Telecommunications Union (IYU) has also acknowledged the achievement of Maldives in the area of telecommunication services provided to its people. In Maldives there is one telephone for every 10 people which is three times more than the average for South Asia. Mobile phone services, introduced in 1999, have reached 71 islands in 14 atolls including tourist resorts. Once the project to give mobile phone services to the southern atolls is completed by year end, more than 70 percent of the population would get mobile phone services. In a special supplement issued to mark the world telecommunications day, the communications ministry said that Maldives has achieved most of the goals set by the ITU. Maldives communications ministry also noted that the disparity between Male and the atolls have narrowed due to the introduction of new telecommunications services. All of the 200 inhabited islands have access to telephones and Internet. In islands where telephone lines are not available, Maldives telecommunications company Dhiraagu provides Internet services through seven cyber stations. There are also more than 50 cyber stations operated by private parties jointly with Dhiraagu.
From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 05/19/2003
MALE (HNS) -- Justice Ministry has implemented a computerized system to record cases filed with some of the courts. The Justice Information Management System (JISM) has been well utilized in the Criminal Court and it is also been adopted by the Civil Court, Justice Minister Ahmed Zahir told Haveeru. Zahir said that his ministry was planning to slowly migrate to the new system with the experiences gained in the process of implementing JISM. "If a problem arises while all the courts adopt such a system (JIMS) at the same time, it would create more problems," Zahir said. He said that in the future all courts would be connected though the JISM. "When the system has been fully implemented, progress of cases can be checked and history traced. This is such an extensive system," the Justice Minister said.
From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 06/08/2003
LAHORE: The Punjab government website created as the first step towards the e-government is nothing but a bundle of confusions, showing no changes brought about in the province after the induction of the devolution of power plan. There are changes which look cosmetic as they too do not correspond to the related content, showing how the first step has been handled. The website was formally launched on May 27, 2001, by the then governor, containing more than 2,000 printed pages and about 800 images_3. It also contained 650 pages of forms both in English and Urdu, providing information on all 34 departments of the provincial government. It was created from its own resources by a specially created IT section within the regulation wing of the Punjab government. This section also designed training courses for developing and updating the website and trained at least two employees from each department how to maintain the website. Standard operating procedures were also prepared and notified by the chief secretary for regular updating of the website. This section was subsequently converted into a full-fledged information technology department and to maintain the website it hired technical staff on contractual basis for high salaries. The staff is available for the last 15 months but there has been no marked updating of the website. The Punjab police webpage tells that Malik Asif Hayat is the IGP and Riaz Basra is the most wanted terrorist with a head-money of Rs5 million. The IGP has since been transferred and Riaz Basra killed last year along with many others shown wanted and alive on the webpage. There is no information of the reorganization of the Punjab police under the Police Order of 2002 nor does the website recognizes the devolution plan. The webpage of the environment protection department shows that it was last updated on January 1 but the contents belie the claim. The structure of the department is that which was prior to the devolution introduced two years ago. The website does not provide any information on reorganization under the devolution plan on any single department. Where there is a change, it is not in the content. The website shows the structure of the provincial information department as it was over two years ago. It shows Mansoor Suhail as additional secretary, Dr Muhammad Ajmal and Rukhsana Bhutta as deputy secretaries and Tahir Jamil as director general of public relations despite the fact that all these officers have long been transferred. There are serious typographical errors and the website shows that Governor Khalid Maqbool also served as defence and military "attached" to the US for two-and-a-half years. While making cosmetic changes, it appears that no care has been taken to cater to all types of browsers. The page width on all webpages is not uniform. The downloadable information is not in any standard file format - every sort of available format has been tried ranging from HTML, PDF, TEXT, DOC and even RTF. The website does not conform to any established website standard. After the launching of the website the then chief secretary had ordered launching of its Urdu version for which the IT department had purchased software. Right now there is no Urdu version. When contacted, an official of the information technology department admitted on the condition of anonymity that the website was not up-to-date. He said basically it was the responsibility of every department to update its information. But when asked whether it was not the responsibility of the information department to regulate such updating, he said: "We have time again been asking them to do the needful but there has been little response, even repeated instructions by the chief secretary have failed to give the desired results." He said in view of the response by the departments that the information technology department was initiating a programme under which a database would be developed for automatic updating of their structure. When asked about the finances required for the project, he did not specify the amount but said this would be in millions. (by Intikhab Hanif)
From http://www.dawn.com/ 05/25/2003
ISLAMABAD: The planning commission has developed a computer center to computerize country's whole development and implementation program, including past record and future planning material. A senior official said planning commission had decided to put its whole record on its official website which was currently in the final stages. He said the quarterly performance of various federal government agencies, provincial and district level development projects would be put on the website so that general public could also review the progress of development projects. The review of each project along with total fund allocation and utilization will be available to the general public. Besides, a directory, comprising addresses and telephone number of all project directors of the public and private sector projects, will be available on the website, which will be open to the general public by end of June.
From http://www.dawn.com/ 06/03/2003
NINE new e-business projects have received a total of $1.5 million in funding in the latest round of Information Technology Online (ITOL) grants. The successful projects range from mango farming and kangaroo harvesting to textile industry supply chains. Since 1996 ITOL, a federal government scheme, has handed out $9.4 million to 94 e-business projects. The scheme is an effort to drive the takeup of eCommerce across Australia and continue the increases in productivity achieved via technology innovation, IT Minister Richard Alston said. This time the biggest chunk of money, $200,000 has been allocated to two projects: a textile supply chain interoperability project in Tasmania and Digsafe, a service which provides information on the location of important assets before excavation. The other projects which received funding are: Hortilink Mango E-solution, which received $121,000 to introduce electronic tracking for mangoes; Universal Intelligent Online Forms, which received $98,000 for the trial of new-generation web forms; The Sugar Industry Network, which has $187,500 to implement a spatial based information tool for the North Queensland sugar industry; Health-e-Connect which received $180,400 for the development of an intelligent interpreter; Better Business Processes in the Community Sector which has $114,000 for a system to automate transactions currently done on paper; Global Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment which has $165,500 to develop and trial an export e-commerce service for exporters and importers, and; Bar Codes, Data Loggers and Kangaroo Steaks, which has $180,350 to implement an electronic data transfer system for mobile harvesters and regulatory bodies, dealers and processors. (by Selina Mitchell)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/16/2003
AUSTRALIA'S peak IT advisory body, the National Office of the Information Economy has had its budget reduced by more than $8 million in the Federal Budget. NOIE chief John Rimmer has forecast staff reductions for the coming financial year, but said the budget cuts would not affect the agency's ability to deliver services. Mr Rimmer said the $8.6 million cut from NOIE's resources for the year had resulted from Treasurer Peter Costello's decision to close loss-making government bookshops, and the end of a fixed-term small business assistance program. NOIE had committed to reducing its administrative costs by $460,000 for the 2003-4 financial year, as its contribution to Prime Minister John Howard's government-wide drive to reduce public sector overheads. Mr Rimmer said the agency would cut staff by about eight - from 173 this financial year to 165 next year - as part of the cost-reduction commitment. "That's a reduction in management overhead and does not affect services," Mr Rimmer said. The savings would be realised largely by cutting a layer of middle management from its books - managers that had previously been involved in the now-complete TIGERS (Trials in Innovative Government Electronic Regionals Services) program in Tasmania, he said. The budget reductions in relation to TIGERS spending had been slightly skewed, Mr Rimmer said, because the TIGERS program was supposed to have been completed 18 months ago, but a delay to the program's start meant it went on longer. More than half of the budget reduction could be attributed to the closure of government bookshops, Mr Rimmer said, but $5 million could be attributed to the end of funding for the two-year small business assistance package. The $6.5 million program - in which $1.5 million was allocated in 2001-2 and $5 million in 2002-3 - was aimed at encouraging take-up of technology among small traders in the wake of the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. (by James Riley)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/20/2003
THE Gederal Government has quietly provided $25.3 million over four years to boost the security of the network used by the nation's police and intelligence agencies to swap secrets. The Australian Secure Network (ASNET) operates as a secure email and intranet between state and territory police forces, the Australian Federal Police and security organisations such as ASIO. The network is used to share information on potential threats to national security, including possible terrorist threats. A spokesman for the Attorney-General's Department described ASNET as "a key part of the national counter-terrorism arrangements". "The new funding will be used to upgrade and provide additional ASNET terminals and to increase bandwidth for better links to state, territory and commonwealth agencies," he said. However, the department is reluctant to divulge many details about ASNET, citing security concerns. The Council of Australian Governments agreed in December 2002 to allocate extra funding to improve ASNET in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States and the bombings in Bali last year. ASNET was conceived in 1997 and installed in 1998 to boost secure communications prior to the Sydney Olympics. The network has mobile terminals that can be used at events where there are major security concerns. Of the $25.3 million allocated, the biggest portion, $10.9 million, has been set aside for the 2003-2004 financial year. (by Chris Jenkins)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/20/2003
QUEENSLANDERS anxious to hear the state budget as it is presented can do so through the internet. Premier Peter Beattie has promised that the budget, to be delivered by Treasurer Terry Mackenroth at 2.30pm (AEST) will be a "solid Labor Budget" that will deliver on education, health, disability services, family services and service delivery areas such as police, ambulance officers and nurses. Mr Beattie said the recently-introduced internet broadcasts of parliament meant that people with internet access would be able to hear the budget being delivered. "For the first time, people everywhere will be able to listen to the Treasurer deliver the Budget over the internet," Mr Beattie said.
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 06/03/2003
VICTORIAN companies and individuals will soon be able to access a vast array of services online from local councils, ranging from planning details to property valuations and even voter registrations. The state's local councils have opened up their web services to encourage software companies to develop applications for the sector. The councils have developed a joint Java computer language-based framework known as Agora. They have already begun a project that will see planning data provided online to real estate agents, home owners and government departments. Seventy-nine of the state's councils are participating in the scheme, part of a wider two-year $5.7 million "Networking the Nation" project to help councils develop technologies. Organised by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and run by consultant Whitehorse Strategic Group and software company Anstra Technologies, Agora involves the development of a framework for providing web services applications to councils, including a local government Java class. Anstra Technologies director David Platt said that while the intellectual property developed in Agora was owned by the MAV, it had opened it up to vendors to allow them to develop applications. "As a vendor you can exploit it and sell commercial products," Dr Platt said. "Effectively, Agora is a framework." In addition to the planning data application and a pilot property and valuation data system, the project may provide geographic information system data, property registers and even voter registration information. "The approach we have taken is to collect data and aggregate it on demand, so we can support quite complex queries," Dr Platt said. Councils claim overall savings of $25 million from the entire local government online services project, which includes the development of web sites and intranets for councils, the provision of online payments systems for rates and service fees, and the development of shared IT service agreements. Some councils are even webcasting council meetings. MAV president Brad Matheson said councils were saving money in administration costs by delivering many services online. "Previously there was an ad hoc approach to online service delivery," Mr Matheson said. "The first stage of the program has enabled councils to reach a level playing field -- everyone has a presence online and a capability to offer online payments and to interact with residents." Several contractors have been selected by different councils for the web and intranet contracts, including Eye Media, AusSoft, Solution 6, WebSI and Accumen Multimedia. Payment services are provided by Australia Post and Ctel. This project "is seen as a model of success where other states have failed because they haven't had a collective approach", Mr Matheson said. Additional funds have also been provided from Networking the Nation to help develop a regional electronic procurement group in Victoria's Gippsland region, allowing councils to share IT services. (by Simon Hayes)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 06/05/2003
Suva, Fiji ( FijiVillage.com)- According to Fijivillage.com, "Telecom Fiji is at last doing something positive for change" by making their services available to rural and outlying islands. The Web site reports that those areas which do not currently have access to telephone services "will shortly be enjoying modern telecommunication services" as Telecom Fiji prepares to roll out its new satellite project. The satellite system will cost an estimated F$45 million in capital and operational expenditure over the next 10 years. - Pacific Magazine
From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 07/20/2003
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The tiny South Pacific island nation of Niue has given its entire population -- about 1,700 people -- free wireless Internet access. The Internet Users Society-Niue, a U.S.-incorporated charitable group that administers revenue generated from registration of the island's Internet country code, set up the wireless network, known as WiFi, over the island's entire 260 square kilometers (100 square miles). "WiFi is the prefect fit for the island of Niue, where harsh weather conditions of rain, lightning, salt water, and high humidity cause major problems with underground copper lines," Richard Saint Clair, the group's co-founder and technical manager, said this week in a statement. "And since WiFi is a license-free technology by International Agreement, no license is needed either by the provider or the user." Saint Clair could not be reached for further comment Wednesday. It was not immediately clear how many people on the impoverished island have access to computers capable of tapping into the new service. The Internet Users Society-Niue runs an Internet cafe, offering free broadband access. The group was initially set up to fund the high cost of satellite-based Internet connections on the remote island 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) northeast of New Zealand. WiFi, or wireless fidelity, is a type of radio technology used for wireless local area networks. The new network will also enable visiting yachts and tourists with WiFi-ready computers to get free Internet access.
From http://edition.cnn.com/ 06/25/2003
The health community is to be linked by a ground-breaking online initiative, the Health Intranet Governance Board said yesterday. The board, which contains health sector representatives, has made an agreement with Telecom and HealthLink, which supports more than 3000 GPs, to set up the Health Intranet. The intranet will link district health boards, GPs and other health providers online, allowing them to share information and resources securely. The Intranet plan took six years to realise, board chairman Paul Cressey said in a statement today. The agreement between health providers on security standards was a world first, he said. "It's a profound development, it means far better communication within the health sector - and it's world-leading in terms of the potential number of end users right across the sector..." he said. It would help GPs to keep better track of the progress of patients referred to hospitals, and keep patients' families better informed, Auckland Independent Practitioners' Association spokesman Ken Leech said. "Practically, one of the benefits will be speeding up the permission process for prescription drugs," he said. The process would take minutes online, compared to weeks manually, he said.
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 05/21/2003
A new e-government mandarin will be recruited to replace Brendan Boyle as head of the State Services Commission's E-Government Unit. Mr Boyle announced last week he was leaving the unit to replace Russ Ballard as head of Land Information New Zealand. The E-Government Unit was initially funded to the tune of $16 million over four years in the 2000 Budget, but Mr Boyle says there will be more money coming once that term expires next year and that he will be replaced. The unit has had mixed success during its first three years. While solid progress has been made standardising approaches to e-government services on a number of fronts, a flagship e-government portal, www.govt.nz, was delivered late and GoProcure - a major project led by the SSC which is designed to help government departments buy from suppliers over the Net - has just been scaled back. Some departments with high profile e-government programmes, such as Inland Revenue, have also appeared to move a step ahead of policy-making within the unit on issues such as authenticating government-to-consumer communications. Progress encouraging government agencies to share IT infrastructure has also been limited. The narrower scope of GoProcure looks set to wind back an important precedent set by State Services Minister Trevor Mallard last year. He mandated all government departments would use the system to buy from suppliers online - an order which appeared to chip away at the doctrine of chief executive accountability in the public sector. Mr Boyle says GoProcure contractor CGNZ will deliver a transaction hub at a cost of $2 million, and that there is no "pre-determined path" once it is in place. The issue of whether departments would have to put purchases through the hub will need to be looked at then, he says. "It all depends what the next steps are." Under the new model, the GoProcure transaction hub will serve as a central repository for electronic catalogues provided by suppliers that government agencies will be able to browse online and will act as a gateway for passing orders between government buyers and suppliers. However, government agencies will likely be left to make their own arrangements on re-engineering their organisations to support e-procurement. This involves detailed work implementing systems to generate invoices, manage purchasing authorisations, receipt deliveries, authorise supplier payments and interface with agencies' existing financial software systems. Some agencies, such as Police and Defence, had already implemented their own software to perform these tasks before GoProcure got the go-ahead. The remainder were to be offered the technology to do this under a second $5.5 million stage of GoProcure, which now appears extremely unlikely to proceed. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 06/23/2003
The Auckland City Council is preparing to take credit card payments across the web for a range of its services. The council's IT department is working with local Microsoft . Net developer, Ubiquity, and has a joint marketing arrangement that will give it royalties if the "enterprise payment gateway" solution is later sold elsewhere. The software is called uTransact and it is a payment gateway "engine" that can plug into all the council's back-end computer systems and accept payments for web-offered services. ACC manager of business systems Peter Blackwell said off-the-shelf software was very good if you had one product or product line, but the council needed to be able to accept payments across a wide range of services, such as traffic fines, library research, land information, and dog licences. "We just could not find a payment gateway that would take all kinds of credit cards for a wide range of services, and generate refunds and things like that," he said. The council will also be considering accepting rates by credit card, but has some work to do in checking the legal situation. Blackwell said the council was "very keen to move into the e-space" and the system was expected to go live this year. He said the present state of the project was that the ACC had the "engine" in place and had interfaced it to its enterprise SAP system. Stress testing was complete. (by Richard Wood)
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 07/01/2003
Only a minority of people are using the Government's online portal, www.govt.nz, as the front door to e-government services, despite an extensive revamp and relaunch last year. The State Service Commission, which operates the portal, says visitor numbers are running at 80,000 a week. Research from Web ratings agency Hitwise estimates the portal was only the seventh most popular government website in May, attracting fewer visitors than departmental websites run by Inland Revenue, the Immigration Service and the Education Ministry's Te Kete Ipurangi site, for example. This was down from its sixth-placed ranking in March and April. However, the 80,000 visits a week is more than double the 36,500 weekly visitors its fore-runner, run on a shoestring, was attracting in February last year. The new portal, launched in November, has significant dedicated resources with six people recruited a year ago to manage the site's content. It is designed to provide a single window to about 4500 e-government services and information resources which are now online. Not all traffic to individual departmental websites is an indication the portal is being bypassed, since one of the jobs of the portal is to point visitors to online services and information held on other government sites. SSC spokeswoman Karen Jones says the department is pleased with the uptake of the portal. "Some agencies are now monitoring and reporting significant numbers of referrals from the portal." She says new content such as community-based health-related services and information is being incorporated into the website. An online list of e-government services, which is now arranged alphabetically, is going to be reorganised.
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 07/07/2003
By 2005, north China's port city Tianjin is expected to become the largest handset producer in Asia Pacific Region with an annual production capacity reaching 50 million units. The current production capacity in the city is 23 million. At a news conference held here Thursday, the local government revealed an ambitious blueprint for the handset production industry in the city. According to the plan, the local government will adopt measures to encourage the development of third-generation (3G) handsets, base stations and chip production in the next few years. A total of 2.5 billion US dollars will be invested in the field in the 2001-2005 period. In addition, the government plans to set up more than 10 research centers involved in battery, chip and outline design and to build more factories producing more than 30 varieties of components. At the news conference, the local government also announced that an international handset procurement fair will be held July 18-19. The fair aims to promote exchanges between handset production companies and components producers. So far, a total of 28 handset producers, and nearly 500 component producers, including Ericsson, Motorola, and Panasonic, have decided to attend the fair.
From CRI 07/11/2003
The Census and Statistics Department announced today the commencement of the 2003 Annual Survey on Information Technology Usage and Penetration in the Business Sector. The survey aims to collect information relating to information technology usage and penetration in the business sector, which will be useful for reference in the development of information technology strategy in Hong Kong. Information to be sought in the survey includes general information of the establishment; personal computer usage; Internet usage; Web site usage; electronic business and electronic commerce; budget for information technology; and information technology security. The survey is conducted under Part IIIA of the Census and Statistics Ordinance (Chapter 316). It has been notified in General Notice No. 1271 in the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Gazette of March 2, 2001. In accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance, the collected information relating to individual establishments will be kept in strict confidence. Only aggregate information, which does not reveal details of individual establishments, will be released. The Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr Frederick Ho, appealed to the management of all selected establishments to fulfill their social responsibilities by returning promptly the completed questionnaire to the Census and Statistics Department. If necessary, officers of the Census and Statistics Department will visit individual establishments and assist them in completing the questionnaire. These officers will each carry a Government Identity Card and a certificate for conducting the survey, which are available for inspection. Any enquiry regarding the survey may be directed to the Information Technology and Telecommunications Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department at the telephone number 2887 5204.
From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 05/05/2003
Information technology has played an active role in treating SARS in Xiaotangshan Hospital, a new hospital in Beijing devoted solely to SARS patients, according to a leading official with the Beijing Information Working Office. The information system operated in Xiaotangshan covers six sub-systems including outpatient service, hospitalization, drugs, logistics, administrative offices and consultation and assistance. With the system, the hospital can input new cases into the database even before the patients' arrival. Medical workers are thus able to assign wards as well as work out therapies and medical care plans for the patients in advance, which can ensure more timely and effective treatment after patients arrive at the hospital. When the medical and video information about patients' cases are put in the database, doctors can hold consultations on the rapyvia sharing information in the system, which could largely reduce the possibility of cross infection between medical staff, said the official. According to the official, the information system can also be connected with the city's SARS reporting system, which will favor the collection and classification of case data. In addition, the system will also provide precious materials and data for scientific research about SARS.
From Xinhua News Agency 05/11/2003
The Zhangjiang High-tech Park is expected to become China's top-ranking high-tech park by the end of 2005 and become renowned worldwide by 2010, according to the fourth conference held by the park leaders yesterday. The Zhangjiang High-tech Park has undergone rapid development since the city focused on Zhangjiang development three years ago, introducing 476 projects, 5.4 times as many as the past seven years. The park has attracted US$7.97 billion in investments, 7.7 times as much as the past seven years, with US$6.57 billion in foreign investments. Fixed asset investments in the park amounted to 24.45 billion yuan (US$2.94 billion) over the last three years, output value reached 15.44 billion yuan and tax revenue reached 1.574 billion yuan, with 7.2 square kilometers of land developed. These four figures are 7.7 times, 5.7 times, 1.8 times and 6.8 times greater than in the past seven years respectively. The strategy focusing on Zhangjiang development has yielded great achievements over the past three years, said Mayor Han Zheng, a member of the leaders group. "It is a breakthrough, but we should make further improvements," Han said. Zhangjiang High-tech Park is expected to spur local economic growth by introducing advanced technologies and projects to the integrated circuit, software development and biopharmaceutical sectors, Han said. "Technological innovation is the key factor to improve Zhangjiang's competitiveness," Han said. "Zhangjiang is far behind the world's top high-tech parks, especially in technological innovation, so we should introduce renowned research institutes from home and abroad," Han added. All local departments should help Zhangjiang clear obstacles to development, he said.
From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 05/16/2003
Information technology will be used to manage the Yellow River, according to a program ratified by the Ministry of Water Resources. The digital program on the Yellow River was proposed by the Yellow River Water Resources Committee in July 2001 and finalized in July 2002 after discussion and study by relevant experts. The program will introduce an advanced geographical information system and database technology to the Yellow River management, according to the Yellow River Water Resources Committee. The first phase of the program includes the construction of a rainstorm warning system and a water quantity control system.
From Xinhua News Agency 05/17/2003
BEIJING - The US-based eBay internet auction service has invested $US150 million in Shanghai's biggest B2C generalist e-commerce website (www.eachnet.com). The eBay service is now the biggest shareholder in the website, which offers general items for sale which are similar to those sold on eBay. In March last year, eBay, America's biggest e-commerce company, bought 33 per cent of eachnet's shares at a cost of $US30 million.
From http://www.asiapulse.com/ 06/17/2003
Cyberport has emerged from the blueprints into reality at Telegraph Bay,
on Hong Kong Island's southwest shores. Two of its sprawling office towers
are already complete, while a third office tower, the 173-room Le Meridien
hotel and a high-tech shopping and entertainment complex are slated to
open by the end of the year. "We had this concept where we want to build
this beautiful campus on this beautiful location so that people in the
IT industry could form clusters together, because the IT industry consists
of not just software, but multimedia, digital entertainment, many of these
very creative industries," says Secretary for Commerce, Industry & Technology
Green and serene: A model of Cyberport with the CyberCentre in front; Betty Fung is all smiles inside the Visitor's Centre; the campus-like environment is unique in Hong Kong. "We needed a conducive environment that is more than just an ordinary office building," Mr Tang said. "So we had this concept to come up with this beautiful location where you can see this campus-like structure so that companies would cluster here and have little breakout areas like this beautiful piazza, with the fountains and cafe bars, so they would be able to realise their potential and let their imagination run wild." Cyberport Coordinator Betty Fung is also upbeat about the project, and with good reason. "The Cyberport vision is to create a strategic cluster of about 100 IT and IT-related companies and also to recruit about 10,000 professionals on the campus," Mrs Fung says. "Cyberport is part and parcel of our Digital 21 strategy to build Hong Kong as a leading digital city in the region," she added. "It is Hong Kong's flagship IT project. It is meant to be an international IT centre and also to grow as a digital and IT centre in the region."
Already it has attracted dozens of tenants. Among them are:
* SmartTrust, a mobile-services provider;
* DBTronix, a source for security solutions;
* Outblaze, a leader in messaging services;
* GXS International, offering electronic transaction solutions and supply-chain management;
* Rainbow Technologies, a security solutions provider;
* ESRI, for geographical information systems and mapping solutions;
* HNH International, the company that controls Naxos, a leading classical music label;
* Arctic Cooling, providers of noise-reduction technology;
* HK CSL, a mobile telecoms provider;
* Compuware Asia Pacific, offering software and services to optimise productivity;
* Suntek Computer Systems, providing solutions for the Web;
* Everbest Technology, a telecoms solutions service provider;
* telecoms company PCCW, a major stakeholder in Cyberport; and
* software giant Microsoft Hong Kong.
Campus-like environment unique in Hong Kong
"All my tenants told me that they like Cyberport mostly because of the low-density, campus-like environment, which is very unique in Hong Kong and gives them the impetus for innovation and creativity," Mrs Fung said. "The second thing is they look forward to this cluster, and the synergy unleashed by the IT-related companies here in Cyberport." Microsoft Hong Kong's Managing Director Mark Phibbs agreed that Cyberport had a number of advantages. "Number one, it was more like a campus environment than what we had at our headquarters in Redmond - which we think is very important for creativity, for people's work environment," he said. "It gave us an opportunity to really build the office we always wanted, with the advantage that it was assisting the Hong Kong Government in terms of the knowledge-economy aspirations and together with the fact that it provides all those facilities like wireless networking that we'd been looking for. They were the key reasons." Most visitors to Cyberport are impressed by the environment, Mrs Fung says, especially when they walk on the landscaped podium, enjoy the sunshine and the relaxing outdoor atmosphere. The complex occupies 24 hectares on Telegraph Bay, on Hong Kong Island's southwest shores, with unobstructed views of the South China Sea and Lantau Island.
Wireless communications, range of facilities simplify life
"Cyberport is designed as a low-density campus-like environment. It has a wide range of facilities meant to be self sufficient in all aspects of business operations, entertainment, dining and shopping. People can just work in an outdoor environment in the wireless LAN environment, and have a cup of coffee, work on their laptop communicates with their office," Mrs Fung says. "We have plenty of greening and landscaped areas. People can just jog or cycle in the environment which is very comfortable and relaxing". Microsoft's Mark Phibbs could not agree more. "If you think about our Redmond campus environment, many companies started up around that environment and we play off each other to develop better solutions, solve customer problems, so I hope this can be the thing that can happen at Cyberport, as well," he said. Personally, he enjoys the terrific seaview. "I also like the fact that it is more of a campus environment, which I think is quite unique in Hong Kong."
Cutting-edge technologies spark further innovation
Cyberport's interiors are high-tech from floor to ceiling. It offers state-of-the-art technologies to tenants - from the services in their offices to the shared facilities found throughout the complex. These include an Internal Private Network, Enhanced Connectivity Services (including Bandwidth on Demand, SMATV, VSAT and Blockwiring), Wireless LAN, Smart Card System, and a Unified Messaging Service. Tenants can take advantage of common facilities, too, including Audio-Visual Systems, a Business Centre and Theatres, Central Data Exchange, Cyberport Help Centre, Cyberportal, Digital Media Centre, iResource Centre, Kiosk Network, and the Network Operations Centre. The futuristic Visitor's Centre showcases cutting-edge technology applications such as teleconferencing kiosks, funky interactive sound and light shows, and screens you can navigate by pointing - no touch required. The highlight of a Cyberport tour is the panoramic video show, which is screened in a 360-degree theatre. When visitors see this, Mrs Fung said, "they are really impressed and say, 'Wow!'"
Occupancy rates soar, despite economic doldrums
Mrs Fung notes that Cyberport has been hugely successful in attracting IT and IT-related companies to become tenants. The first building, Cyberport 2, completed in April last year, now has a 97% occupancy rate. The second building, Cyberport 1, completed in November last year, is already about half occupied. Part of the last office building, Cyberport 3, was finished this spring and it already has a 25% takeup rate. "People come to see Cyberport and realise that our vision was originally correct," says the Commerce, Industry & Technology Secretary. "We now have world class IT companies that are clustered here, we are forming clusters, and the tenancy is beginning to build up without us having to discount it. So I think it is forming and the applications are coming by themselves." Mr Tang is especially pleased that many applicants are from overseas - which means they are bringing new investment into Hong Kong. "So not only are we building the clusters that we originally intended to, we are attracting new investments into Hong Kong as well as new technology so that the local IT industry and overseas IT industry can have this interaction and build on each other's strengths."
Future looks bright at Telegraph Bay
Cyberport has already attracted dozens of tenants who share its vision. From babbling brooks, and a terraced lawn, to an IT street with shared multimedia resources and business facilities, it holds the potential to drive innovation. When the hotel and retail entertainment complex open at the end of this year, Cyberport is expected to draw tourists, too. A robot showcase and dinosaur museum will surely make it a hit with kids. Stay tuned.
High-tech enterprises will soon be able to be able to set up their headquarters in the Fengtai District of Beijing as construction on a large base for such businesses began recently. As a major program of the Fengtai section of the Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park, known as China's "Silicon Valley", the headquarters base is built at a cost of 4.5 billion yuan (549 million US dollars). Construction of a small airport and the first part of the program has begun, covering an area of 200,000 square meters. By December this year, 83 buildings will be completed for 83 high-tech enterprises. The second part, consisting of 87 buildings,will begin construction in the same month. The whole project will end in three to five years with an area of 1.1 million square meters. The base is expected to bring a total income of 40 billion yuan(4.9 billion US dollars) and a total tax of 1.5 billion yuan (183 million US dollars) each year, said the developers. To date, 15 high-tech enterprises have named their buildings inthe park. More than 20 businesses are under negotiation. The China Construction Bank Beijing Branch has supported the program with three billion yuan (366 million US dollars), according to a developer, the Daofeng Scientific & Business Park Construction Co., Ltd.
From Xinhuanet 07/02/2003
Personal computer has entered 64.9 percent of households in Macao, according to a survey conducted by the Macao University, which was a part of the World Internet Project. The survey result available Wednesday was based on random calls of 1,002 Macao residents aged between 18 to 74. It showed that 71.2 percent of the surveyed people have access to Internet, and 46.2 percent of them can log on the Internet at home. Among the Internet population, 55.2 percent were male, and 31 percent below the age of 24. The averaged Internet hours were 9.8 hours per week. The survey also suggested that although the use of PC and Internet is popular, Macao residents have not yet developed a habit of Internet purchasing with only 11.4 percent of Internet surfers having the experience of net purchasing, as compared to 33 percent in the Chinese mainland and 20 percent in Hong Kong. The Internet survey project initiated by the University of California, the United States, has drawn interests from 20 experts from North American, European and the Asia Pacific regions.
From Xinhua News Agency 07/10/2003
China is on track to sign up 30 million cable digital television subscribers by 2005. But it still needs to do more to sell the technology to consumers to fulfill its target. According to a five-year plan drawn up by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, many cities in China will broadcast digital television in two years' time. Under the plan, the nation is divided into three parts, in addition to the four municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing. The eastern zone includes Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces, while the western zone includes the Xinjiang Uygur, Tibet, Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions and Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces. And the central zone is composed of the remaining provinces and regions on the mainland. Before the year 2005, all cities in the eastern zone, capital cities and a few smaller cities in the central zone, and some capital cities in the western zone will start cable digital broadcasting. Some 40 Chinese cities and regions have already trialed digital television broadcasts, and more small- and medium-sized cities have announced plans to start digital television broadcasting in one or two years' time. However, there are still not enough cable digital television subscribers in China. Many cable TV subscribers still regard watching digital television as a "luxury," since it means adding a decoding device, which costs at least 1,000 yuan (US$120.50), so that their TV sets recognize the digital signal. "This extra cost has turned the cable TV network into a bottleneck for digital television development," said Wang Xiaojie, an official with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The current cable network is able to transmit 40 to 50 channels at most, leaving no room for further development, she said. Wang said digital television is a better solution, since it allows for 400 to 500 channels. When Beijing was hit by SARS and students were ordered to stay home in May, there was only one TV channel available to them, broadcasting one distance learning program after another for students in different grades. "But with digital television, we can provide students with one channel of learning programs per grade," said Wang. Starting from this month, 33 cities around the country have been designated by the administration to promote cable digital television on a large scale, with the aim of attaching decoders to most TV sets. Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, has announced it will provide new cable digital television subscribers with the decoder for free. One of the beneficiaries of this promotion is domestic TV set producers, because programs broadcast digitally will be shown more clearly on a digital TV set. "This is the third revolution in television's development history," Sun Guangrong, a senior manager of Xiamen Overseas Chinese Electronic Co Ltd (Xoceco), told.
From China Daily 07/14/2003
Beijing cable TV subscribers will pay up to 50 percent more a month, starting this month, to the city's only cable TV provider -- Beijing Gehua CATV Network Co Ltd. The price rise of 6 yuan (72 US cents) has raised the hackles of many Beijingers. "The public's voice should be heard before the company raises the price, since it has a monopoly over the business," said a subscriber called Sang, 32, who works as a public servant. In the past few days, the decision by Beijing Gehua CATV has drawn increasing criticism on online forums. Having purchased cable TV networks in Beijing's suburbs last year, Gehua announced at the beginning of July that it will charge each cable TV subscriber 18 yuan (US$2.20) a month starting from July, an increase of up to 50 percent. The price rise will earn the company an extra 70 million yuan (US$8.4 million) in the latter half of this year. The company said in its announcement that it had given subscribers more TV channels and improved the quality of broadcasts by completing its optic cable network in 2001. The old charges no longer covered the cost of maintaining the optic cable network. "As our company will broadcast cable digital television (in Beijing area) in the near future, it will be really hard to cover all those costs if we do not raise the price," said a source with the company, who preferred to remain anonymous. The unidentified source stressed their price hike was legal, since it was approved by the Prices Bureau of Beijing Municipality. However, many customers argue that the fee increase contravened the State's Pricing Law and its regulations on public hearings. At present, the State uses a multilevel pricing structure. The prices of most products are decided by market forces. Public utilities which provide essential goods or services, or companies that hold a monopoly, can raise prices in line with market trends, subject to government approval. But before final decisions are made, public hearings are required. Zhou Hanhua, a law scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said hearings should have been held on the price of cable TV.
From China Daily 07/15/2003
From March to June this year, 27,074 Shanghai residents have completed free Internet training, and the city has established 366 training centers - part of the city's project of a "Million Families Surfing the Web," the Shanghai government said in a press briefing yesterday. It vows to train to 100,000 residents by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Shanghai will hold a contest in which mothers from 35 to 60 can enter an Internet surfing competition next month.
From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 07/20/2003
The number of telephone users in China rose to 472 million by the end of June, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry on Wednesday. To date, the number of fixed phone users is 237.6 million whilethe number of mobile phone users has reached 234.47 million. According to the ministry, every 100 Chinese have 19.4 fixed telephones and 18.3 mobile phones on average. The total income of China's post and telecommunications sector during the first six months of 2003 reached 246.4 billion yuan (about 29.7 billion US dollars), an increase of 11.5 percent. The income of the country's postal service in the first half year was 26.42 billion yuan (nearly 3.2 billion US dollars), up 6.8 percent, and that for the telecommunications service was 219.97 billion yuan (26.5 billion US dollars), up 12.1 percent.
From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 07/23/2003
At least one in four major Japanese companies lack qualified information-technology staff despite the high unemployment rate amid the sluggish economy, according to a Kyodo News survey released Tuesday. Most of the companies called on the government to take further measures to train IT personnel, saying such steps are needed to keep up with international competition. The demand for IT workers at major companies suggests the situation is even worse at small and midsize firms. Training competent IT personnel poses an immediate challenge for Japan, especially as it aims to become a global IT leader and also because it needs to promote industrial structural reform and recover its international competitiveness. The survey questionnaires were sent to executives at 150 major companies in April, and 135 firms responded. Sixty-five firms, or 48 percent, said they have enough IT personnel, while 36 companies, or 27 percent, said they need more. None of the firms had a glut of IT workers. Two major electronic firms said they need at least 1,000 more IT workers. Seven other firms said they lack between 100 and 1,000 qualified employees. Most companies found government strategy on training IT workers to be inadequate, with 86 firms, or 64 percent, saying it needs to be improved. Only 19 firms, or 14 percent, said it was sufficient.
From The Japan Times 05/07/2003
A 15-year-old boy is facing charges for hacking into 140 Internet sites in 23 countries to protest against the U.S.-led war in Iraq, police said Tuesday. The first-year high school student from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, has admitted to the allegations. "I did it to make the United States take a look at itself and realize what they have done in their selfish war," he reportedly told police. However, he also acknowledged that he originally started doing it for kicks. "It was like a game. I wanted to show my abilities to hackers around the world." Police said the specific case for which the youth, whose name is being withheld, was arrested concerns an illegal access he made from his home computer into a server in Tokyo's Setagaya-ku on March 28. He used the server to launch attacks on American, British and Japanese websites, posting antiwar messages. He reportedly started hacking into websites in November last year but a majority of the 140 attacks he carried out occurred after the U.S.-led forces launched attacks on Iraq. Police sent documents to prosecutors Tuesday accusing the youth of breaking laws prohibiting illegal accesses.
From Mainichi Shimbun 06/10/2003
A High-Rise Cosmopolitan City in Roppongi
The latest example of large-scale redevelopment is Roppongi Hills, which opened on April 25. Roppongi has long had a strong international flavor thanks to the presence of so many embassies and other diplomatic and consular facilities in the area. The many restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries in Roppongi, meanwhile, make it a hub of information and trends. And, of course, the source of Roppongi's reputation as a place that never sleeps is the myriad of clubs, discotheques, and bars that are packed with patrons well into the small hours.
Roppongi Hills is a multi-purpose city within a city. Besides office space, the newly completed complex includes a tower complete with an art gallery, a library, and an observation deck; a nine-screen cinema complex with seating for 2,100 people; a hotel complex containing the Grand Hyatt Tokyo and numerous first-class restaurants; an event arena and garden complete with a circular stage; four residential apartment buildings (total 800 units) that boast a highly sought after city-center location; and the headquarters of a major TV station. The centerpiece of this complex is the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, which, at 54 floors and 238 meters high, is already one of Tokyo's newest landmarks.
Green spaces and environmental considerations have been built into the design of Roppongi Hills. About 50% of the complex's total area consists of gardens, pavilions, and other open spaces. One feature that is a particularly pleasant surprise in the heart of the city is the Mohri Garden, an authentic Japanese garden complete with a pond and trees.
Minoru Mori, president and CEO of Mori Building Co., describes Roppongi Hills as "a high-rise, compact city combining facilities for working, living, playing, and studying." The range of facilities available in this complex is truly stunning. Unlike past redevelopment projects where the emphasis was on office space, Roppongi Hills gives equal status to the cultural and residential facilities, shops, and restaurants. During the 2003 Golden Week holidays in late April and early May, Roppongi Hills drew some 2.65 million visitors, who came to shop, to dine, and just to look around. One thing is certain: Roppongi Hills has leapt to fame as a new Tokyo landmark. It is set to establish itself as one of the must-see attractions for visitors from elsewhere in Japan and abroad.
Business, Boutiques, and Academia in One Building
Before Roppongi Hills started making headlines, another construction project that drew attention for changing the Tokyo landscape was the newly renovated Marunouchi Building, which opened in September of last year. The Marunouchi Building was originally constructed in 1923 and was an office building symbolizing the Marunouchi district, Japan's business hub. The new, 37-story Marunouchi Building, which stands about 180 meters tall, is also predominantly an office complex, but one thing that sets the new edifice apart from its predecessor is the large number of shops and eateries it contains.
With about 140 shops and restaurants, Tokyoites and visitors alike have been drawn to the new Marunouchi Building as an attractive place to spend time. The developers have been extremely selective about the commercial tenants, so the building is an excellent place to find designer boutiques and sample some of the best cuisine in Tokyo.
Another defining feature of the new Marunouchi Building is that the office tenants include three prestigious universities, which have each established a presence in the building in order to be near the top-class companies that have offices there. One of the academic tenants is Japanese (a satellite office of the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Economics), one American (Harvard Business School's Japan Research Office), and one Swedish (the Tokyo office of the European Institute of Japanese Studies, part of the Stockholm School of Economics). The Marunouchi district used to be synonymous with businesspeople in offices, but the diverse attractions of the new Marunouchi building are drawing a wide range of visitors, including shoppers, tourists, working women, and students.
More Redevelopment Projects to Follow
Yet another huge multi-use complex, the Shiodome Shiosite, opened in December 2002 in the Shiodome waterfront area of downtown Tokyo. The complex, built on the site of a disused train switchyard, includes the Caretta Shiodome (site is Japanese only) building, where Japan's largest advertising agency, Dentsu Inc., has its headquarters.
And an office complex known as Shinagawa Grand Commons opened at the east exit of JR Shinagawa railway station in April. Some well-known companies that were formerly based in the Marunouchi district have relocated their offices to this site.
Among the areas due for large-scale redevelopment is land formerly occupied by the Defense Agency in Roppongi and the Nihonbashi district. These many ambitious projects are not only changing the capital's skyline; they are enriching the lifestyles of those who live in and around Tokyo by expanding the city's horizons, broadening the range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, and providing exciting new opportunities for exchange and dialogue among businesspeople, residents, visitors, and others.
From http://jin.jcic.or.jp/ 06/19/2003
Located on Keihanna Hill, Kansai Science City is now being developed as an international base for innovative cultural and scientific research activities in interdisciplinary fields.Cultural and research facilities are to be dispersed in twelve clusters. HUD is in charge of 60% of the total development area, where approximately 37,000 people are in residence (as of March,1994) and many high-level cultural and scientific research facilities are conglomerating in the area.
From http://www.udc.go.jp/ 07/01/2003
Kansai Science City is constructed under the Kansai Science City Construction Act with the following objectives: Creation and exchange of various cultures, Promotion of new and innovative science and technology, and Construction of a pilot model city for the 21st century, by fully utilizing the historical and rich cultural, scientific and technological assets of the Kinki area. Kansai Science City is also considered as one of Japan's national projects aimed at constructing a stronghold for the development and production of creative, international, interdisciplinary and cross-industrial culture, science and technology for the 21st century, and at contributing to the development of culture, science and technology for Kinki area, as well as of Japan and the world.
From http://www.mlit.go.jp/ 07/01/2003
A government report released this week names Japan as the upcoming broadband giant. The report states that Japan will be one of the world's most wired nations by 2007 as low fees boost demand for broadband services. The Telecommunications Ministry said in an annual white paper that 60 million Japanese -- nearly half the population -- will be surfing the Net on high-speed broadband networks by 2007. This compares with about 20 million now. Although Japan leads the world in Internet-enabled mobile phones, for many years it has lagged other advanced nations in fixed-line Internet connections, partly due to a lack of competition and some of the world's highest connection charges. Japan had also lagged far behind South Korea in adopting high-speed Internet connections, but has caught up quickly since service provider Softbank Corp launched a cut-price ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service in late 2001.
From http://www.carriersworld.com/ 07/07/2003
The "Kitakyushu e-PORT Project" aims at building an informational port, i.e., e-PORT, and providing IT services as utility services which can be used easily and conveniently like electricity, water and gas service. The City of Kitakyushu hopes that the project becomes the 3rd port following the New Hibiki Port (Seaport) and a new Kitakyushu airport (Airport) which are under construction in Kitakyushu City. Since the services not only reduce IT cost but release the users from the management business of a complicated computer system, it is expected that operating reform and new enterprise deployment become easy for the e-PORT users. And the e-PORT is going to lead to creation of IT businesses and expansion of regional economy. By the "Kitakyushu e-PORT Project", the city aims at next-generation IT industrial promotion, and it tackles the project to advance a citizen life, corporate activities and administration services.
From http://www.city.kitakyushu.jp/ 07/14/2003
*The geographical advantage of being close to rapidly developing countries in Asia
*Education and research concerning the latest scientific technology
*Accumulation of universities with science and engineering fuculties and research institutes representing Japan and overseas
We intend to realize the production of new industries and further development of the technology .
*Promotion of an advanced information base and industrial infrastructure .
*Coodination of collaboration between industry and academia by promoting joint research by universities and businesses
*Financial assistance for research and development to support joint researches
*Formation of an international nucleus for SoC design
Unified operations of the Sience and Research Park
*Unified operations of the Sience and Research Park by Kitakyushu Foundation for the Advancement of Industry,Science and Technology
*Promoting partnerships and exchages by joint use of facilities
*Education and development through Cooperation & Competition
The campus is friendly to nature and environment.
*Incorporating efforts to use natural forms of energy
*Inclusion of a graywater system to reuse rainwater and treated water
*Inclusion of a new,efficient energy system
From http://www.ksrp.or.jp/ 07/14/2003
Research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) says South Korea ranks 16th in the world for its e-business environment. According to the EIU e-readiness survey for 2003, South Korea ranked 16th among the world's 60 largest economies, scoring 7.8 points out of a total 10 points, up from 21st (7.11 points) in 2002. Sweden deposed the U.S. and topped the list with 8.67 points. Although the country outstripped Japan (in 24th place), it lagged behind Australia and countries in Northern Europe and North America, such as Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the U.K., that claimed the top nine spots, as well as Singapore (12th) and Hong Kong (13th). The EIU e-readiness rankings, now in their fourth year, provide an established benchmark for countries to compare and assess their e-business environments, suggesting areas in which government policy and funds can be focused. The EIU assesses the e-readiness of countries in six categories. Each category is given a score out of 10 and weighted according to its importance in the evaluation model. Connectivity and technology infrastructure account for 25 percent of the score and business environment for 20 percent. The regulatory environment, competition policy and openness to trade and investment, consumer and business adoption are given a weight of 20 percent, while the legal and policy environments contribute 15 percent to the overall score, social and cultural infrastructure 15 percent, and supporting e-services 5 percent. South Korea earned relatively poor scores in connectivity environment and technology infrastructure (7.1) and business environment (7.4). Singapore received the highest points in the connectivity environment category with, trailed by Sweden with 7.9 and Hong Kong with 7.8. The Netherlands and Canada topped the business environment category with 8.7. In the case of consumer and business adoption, South Korea earned relatively high score of 8.5, whereas Sweden received 9.1, Austria 8.8, and the Netherlands, the U.S. and the U.K. 8.6. South Korea received 8.1 points for legal and policy environment, another 8.1 for social and cultural infrastructure and 8.5 for supporting e-services. But most of developed countries such as Sweden, the U.S., and Switzerland received scores of between 8.5 and 9.3 in all three categories, while Hong Kong and Singapore received marks comparable to those of South Korea. "South Korea needs to work on improving the local business environment, social and cultural infrastructure, legal and policy environment and supporting systems for e-services, while further promoting domestic consumers and businesses to adopt e-business," an official from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said. "There must have been a flaw in the EIU e-readiness research. South Korea boasts of one of the world's fastest high speed Internet and telecom infrastructures and the highest Internet, PC and mobile phone penetration rates, which the OECD has already recognized. It is absurd that South Korea earned 7.1 in connectivity," he added. He explained that the EIU may had limited access to the local e-business industry since a large number of e-business websites do not provide English services, thus leaving their research flawed. Meanwhile, the EIU said South Korea appears to be making the fastest progress of all and the saturation in densely populated urban commercial and residential districts with cheap telephone and broadband networks puts South Korea in a unique position to exploit e-commerce.
From http://www.korea.net/ 05/01/2003
Korea's personal digital assistant market has long drawn interest among investors and hardware makers; however, the trouble is that the market has yet to enjoy a full-fledged boom. The overall economy is in tatters, hurt by slowing exports and the severe acute respiratory syndrome. The mobile service operators are also struggling to jack up the number of new subscribers amid deteriorating consumer sentiment. "The PDA industry at large will face a make-or-break period later this year," said Cho Young-sun, chief executive of Cyberbank Corp. Cyberbank is one of the largest PDA makers in Korea, with its reputation well known among foreign technology giants like Microsoft Corp. One of its early models built on the Windows operating system was displayed at Microsoft headquarters. But domestically the situation is not favorable. The Korean government has yet to confirm a much-needed generous handset subsidy limit for multimedia PDAs, and consumers are slow to embrace PDA phones, even though analysts and tech experts praise the cutting-edge technologies deployed by mainstream PDA makers. "Innovative Cyberbank PDA models will debut in the second half of this year, and we hope the mass market will respond to the new products positively," Cho said. Cyberbank is currently providing its flagship PDA phone models to SK Telecom, KTF and LG Telecom. The venture firm also supplied 10,000 units to fixed-line telecom giant KT(Korea Telecom) in January for Nespot wireless local area network service. The Korean government is keen to promote wireless LAN services in a bid to spur the sales of multimedia PDA phones and other mobile gadgets. Cyberbank has already rolled out PDA phone models equipped with cdma2000 1x technology, allowing subscribers to access the Web freely. But the cdma2000 PDA phones are classified as mobile handsets, which means manufacturers cannot offer any subsidies under the current regulations. "The handset subsidy is a crucial issue for the PDA industry. Once the domestic market takes off, major PDA makers will be able to enter overseas markets with solid business models and better products," Cho said. The Ministry of Information and Communication has explored various options to loosen up handset subsidies as the mobile phone and PDA markets confront a slowdown. Under the current regulations on handset subsidy, carriers are allowed to offer up to a 20 percent discount for PDA phones on the condition that subscribers sign up for subscription programs. But PDA makers like Cyberbank said the discount limit should be 50 percent to kick start the embattled market. The portion of PDA phones in the global market was less than 1 percent in 2001, but the figure is expected to rise to 10 percent in 2005. The domestic market was estimated at 250,000 units in 2002, and is expected to grow to 700,000-800,000 units this year. In a series of consumer surveys, Korean PDA users tend to view the optimal price for mainstream PDAs as 300,000 won, which is roughly half the price of key models available on the market. Cho said Cyberbank will focus on smart phones when it unveils its new models in the second half. "We've tried PDA phones of different sizes and functionalities, but the size should be smaller than today's PDAs since people do not want bulky handsets," Cho said. The new models will utilize a wide array of functionalities including MP3 player, camcorders, digital cameras and better displays, Cho said. Cyberbank's current flagship lineup is POZ. The company has sold 45,000 units so far since the formal launch in September 2002. The company posted 18 billion won in revenue in the first quarter of this year, and its target is 100 billion won in revenue for 2003. "Our view is that people will accept PDAs only when their size is just slightly bigger than that of normal mobile handsets," Cho said. To that end, the LCD screen for new PDA models will become smaller - from today's 3.5-inch display to a 2.8-inch display. Normal mobile handsets come with 2.2-inch screens. Cyberbank is competing with Samsung Electronics, CellVic (formerly Jtel), and HP Korea in the PDA market. (by Yang Sung-jin)
From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 05/06/2003
Koreans' use of their credit cards fell during the first three months of this year, as local card issuers reduced credit ceilings for their customers amid soaring delinquencies, the Financial Supervisory Service said yesterday. According to the financial watchdog, cardholders at nine local non-bank credit card issuers spent a provisional 116.3 trillion won ($96.4 billion) with their plastic, including credit purchases and cash advances, during the first quarter of 2003, down 13.7 percent from three months earlier. The quarterly drop in card usage followed years of explosive growth driven by tax incentives and aggressive marketing which caused concerns over mounting consumer defaults. The supervisory body attributed the drop to the fact that card issuers lowered credit ceilings and consumers reduced their spending amid an economic slump. Card usage at LG Card Co., the country's No. 1 card company, totaled 35.7 trillion won in the first quarter, marking a decline of 8.5 percent from the previous quarter, according to the regulatory agency. Samsung Card Co. saw a 9.2 percent drop in its cardholders' plastic usage, falling to 34.5 trillion won during the same period. Cardholders of Shinhan Card Co. whipped out their plastic to spend 5.4 trillion won during the January to March period, down 36.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2002. Kookmin Credit Card Co. saw card usage slide 21.7 percent on the quarter to 20 trillion won, the watchdog said. Other card issuers, including Hyundai, Lotte and Woori, also saw 9 percent to 14 percent drops in their customers' plastic usage. (by Kim Hyun-chul)
From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 05/07/2003
R&D Support Center attached to Daejeon Development Research Institute was established on April, 2003 to maximize the local economic power by promoting an educational-industrial project. Attached to Daejeon Development Research Institute on last April 24, R&D Support Center has embarked on its project to activate the local economy. R&D Support Center is focused on evaluating and planning the educational-industrial project supported by Daejeon Metropolitan City and the government, to effectively promote it. In the past each university, company or research institute took the charge of developing a new technical solution through R&D supported by the government or the city, however it has turned out to be lacking in a preliminary evacuation and inspection. Daejeon R&D Support Center has been established at the national expense to cope with the necessity that each self-governing body should play a leading role in promoting the R$D project of university, research institute, and industry. "We have felt keenly the necessity of R$D support center, but enough fund and manpower has not been supplied.", said Ph. Dr Lim Sung-bok at Daejeon Development Research Institute. "Now, investing the national subsidy of 8.4 billion won, we will run varied supporting project such as finding and evaluating a new business." Evaluation Function: Development of pricing model to evaluate how all the research institutes, universities, and companies, which have participated in R&D project, operate effectively. Planning Function: Finding technical and management problems of an industry as well as interchange problems among industry, research institute, and university to fix them. Feedback & Database: KCCI and Korea Bank have performed the task of regional survey, but its output was not satisfactory due to insufficient fund and manpower. R&D Support Center will investigate a new technology and the network related to information on manpower, equipment, and cooperation, in order to accumulate database.
From http://www.metro.daejeon.kr/ 05/12/2003
A film that covers youngsters dreaming of a special Christians is produced in Yuseung district. In this comedy film, 3 young heres will show funny and warm-hearted episodes about Christians on 'a bath house street' in Yuseong. They will start filming 'Happy Ero Christmas' on May 22 started, being expected to be released in the coming winter. The film is directed by Lee Gun-dong, a native of Daejeon, and starred by famous Korea movie actors. Having produced many box-office films such as 'Going Home' and 'Pairan', Tube Pictures is taking another step toward a hit movie. Tube Pictures(President, Hwang Woo-hyun) is planning to have a press conference on the film. The SFX town is established in EXPO park. Promoting CT(Cultural Technology) industry of high value added and environmental-friendly advantage based on the state-of-the-art science technology of Daeduk Valley, Daejeon has started on preparations for the establishment. Accordingly, raising the capital of 11 billion Won, Daejeon will complete the design, and start construction work by end of this year to complete it by 2004. Especially including varied advanced equipments, which are developed by ETRI and KAIST, the facilities are also expected to contribute to development of digital industry as well as upbringing experts. The SFX Town will be located at CP cluster in EXPO Park on a scale of three floors and one underground, and also equipped with varied advanced hardwares that can realize digitalized CG for all the media fields including broadcasting, movie, animation, etc. In addition, it will be well equipped with a miniature set, motion control system, blue screen. Now it can perform any hi-tech digital operation without relying on foreign countries, making Daejeon a new mecca of media industry.
From http://www.metro.daejeon.kr/ 05/19/2003
Electronic commerce transactions reached 170 trillion won ($141 billion) last year, which represents 13 percent of the country's total business transactions estimated at 1,359 trillion won, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said the day before yesterday. The comparable figures for 2001 and 200 are 118.9 trillion won and 57.5 trillion won, respectively, representing 9.1 percent and 4.5 percent of the country's business deals. Last year, business-to-business transactions surged to 155 trillion won, from 109 trillion won in 2001 and 52.3 trillion won in 2000. Business-to-consumer deals climbed to 5 trillion won, from 2.6 trillion won and 700 billion won in 2000. (by Yoo Soh-jung)
From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 06/03/2003
Internet users are now able to surf China's Web sites without knowledge of the nation's language. Beginning this week, Konan Technology provides local Web surfers with an automatic Chinese to Korean translation solution through the Internet search portal Empas. For example, if a user enters "Buddhism" in Korean at the local portal site Empas, the system offered by Konan retrieves Chinese Web documents containing "Buddhism" and automatically translates them to Korean. "Through the online translation, we are trying to offer updated and accurate information on China to domestic enterprises and students," Koo Ja-kap, president and chief operating officer of the company, said. He said, "Our automatic online translation service will help Korean companies save time in gathering information on the Chinese market. This should help them hone their international competitiveness." Businessmen and students have shown interest in Konan's translation service. Koo said, "Our translation services, including Chinese to Korean and Japanese to Korean, are characterized by the best natural language process technology powered by quality vocabulary data." The company provides the most precise translation results empowered by the transplantation of a 200,000-word basic vocabulary, 20,000 current terminologies and 280,000 proper nouns. It also provides caption translation for digital broadcast stations, automatic email translation, multi-language translation for online community sites and an automatic translation solution for post-PC devices. Konan is also a developer of Konan-DoCruzer, a large volume and super quick search engine used by Empas. In the near future, the company will offer a Korean-Japanese-Chinese cross language search system. "The triple-language service will make it possible to simultaneously search Korean, Japanese and Chinese documents with one query," Koo said. The company's state-of-the-art technology comes from a "digital archive," which refers to the technology to digitize various materials and information, store them electronically and provide them in a usable format. Recently, it refers mainly to the technology to manage multimedia materials and information. According to the schedule, transformation to an overall digital broadcast system will be complete by 2005. Broadcast companies are beginning to digitize their transmission systems followed by the digital archive systems in order to finally digitize the whole broadcast system. The digital archive system will store a huge amount of multimedia assets in the main server and manage them to conveniently search and transmit content quickly, which will entirely reform the overall workflow of producing multimedia content.
From http://www.korea.net/ 06/04/2003
The current economic slump and the tight regulation of book discount rates appear to have taken a toll on the once prosperous online bookstore market with companies reporting severe drops in sales and scrambling to find ways to escape the downturn. The nation's largest online bookseller Yes24 posted 8.4 billion won in sales in May, down nearly 30 percent over the same period last year. Aladdin, another major player in the business, sustained a 10 percent downturn during the same period. The situation is even worse for smaller competitors. The online version of the Coex Mall's bookstore Bandibooks reported a 50 percent fall in sales since March and is seriously considering shutting down its Internet operations. Morning365, which built its reputation on a free and effective delivery network at major subway stations, has started charging delivery fees, an indicator that the company is in a difficult financial situation. The recent slide is linked to the new law that went into effect in May, which limits the discount rate to 10 percent for new books. The restriction, pushed for years by the offline book market, came as bad news for the online booksellers whose sales rely heavily on new books. The online businesses had been enjoying a considerable advantage in price, offering up to a 30 percent discount before the new law was enforced. "The revised regulation that reduced the discount rates apparently dealt us a heavy blow," said an official from Yes24 in a recent press interview. "Now we are having a hard time convincing consumers that we provide books at a cheaper price than most." Online booksellers are working hard to fight their way out of the mess. Most of them are offering huge discounts for the books unregulated by the new law and are seeking other ways, such as mileage service, to restore their price advantage. Yes24 started a new service that allows free access to the first 20 pages of a new book and is even considering advancing into the offline market. Despite these efforts, not many industry insiders anticipate a quick rebound with the recent downturn in the economy. (by Kim Tong-hyung)
From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 06/17/2003
Korea recorded some 560 patent applications for e-commerce payment systems over the past three years, KIPO, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, reported on Thursday (June 19). The figure represents a large increase from the 1990s when the application level hovered just above 40 cases. The agency attributed the increase to the expansion of e-commerce activities that Korea saw in recent years. In 2002, the nation posted a total of 170 trillion won ($140 billion) worth of e-commerce businesses, up from 118 trillion won of 2001. The patent trends of recent years have been for improving information protection technologies and enhancing commercial reliability, two crucial factors for safe e-commerce transactions, the KIPO said.
From Korean Intellectual Property Office 06/20/2003
One-price shops, which sell a variety of goods at a uniform price, are expanding their presence in cyberspace, targeting domestic consumers struggling with dwindling income in times of a protracted economic slump. Online shopping service Lotte.com said the day before yesterday that it launched an all 9,000 won ($7.50) shopping section on its Web page. The online retailer is offering diverse household items - such as upscale cooking utensils, hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, coffee makers and radio cassettes - at heavily discounted prices of 9,000 won each. Another Internet-based shopping service Nate.com opened a similarly themed "1,000 Won House," selling a range of products at a mere 1,000 won. "The sluggish domestic economy triggered brisk demand for low-priced but high-quality goods," explained a product planning team manager at Lotte.com. He noted that price-sensitive consumers feel "satisfied" when they buy goods at less than 10,000 won. (by Kim Sung-mi )
From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 06/27/2003
In a recent study, the chief executives of financial institutions in the Asia-Pacific area ranked Seoul six among eight major cities in Northeast Asia in terms of its suitability as a financial hub, behind cities such as Shanghai and Beijing and above only Taipei and Sydney. According to a report by the Seoul office of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company at the request of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the CEOs put Hong Kong and Singapore as the top two financial hub cities, Tokyo and Shanghai as the next two, and Beijing and Seoul at fifth and sixth. The consulting firm surveyed the CEOs of the top 15 financial institutions in Asia-Pacific region for the report. The CEOs said that Seoul had the potential for winning the competition with new hub cities like Shanghai over the next two or three years. But they pointed to a series of problems Seoul has to deal with: opaque markets; inflexible labor market; excessive regulations on the financial industry; high taxation and lack of English skills. Seoul should swiftly make dramatic changes within two years not to be left behind, the CEOs said. The CEOs said that Seoul's legal and regulation standards reached only 25 percent of global standard. They said they didn't understand how a minister could order that investments be made in a certain company or industry due to political considerations. They criticized that while Seoul has advocated a free market system, it has also provided bailout packages to bankrupt companies. They emphasized that Seoul should "stop talking and get going." The CEOs recommended remedies such as easing regulations, streamlining the legal system, lower taxation, flexible labor market, free currency trade, opening up the legal market, improving infrastructure like traffic and urban planning and encouraging more use of English. (by Shin Hyeong-jun)
From http://srch.chosun.com/ 07/23/2003
Seoul City has opened today its integrated Web site (http://www.seoul.go.kr), designed to provide a one-stop guide to locals and expatriates by establishing an e-Seoul. Visitors had been confused by the availability of numerous homepages with different domain names, which were operated by almost all the bureaus and divisions of the city government and its affiliate offices. The government had operated a total of 77 Web sites in Korean and 20 in English. The new site focused on information accessibility and city promotion. Its simple Web design is also user-friendly. The city's homepage has integrated the contents, application programs and hardware systems. Total services in foreign languages including English, Japanese and Chinese will be available by the end of this year. As of today, 20 homepages in foreign languages have an integrated interface only. The government hopes the new homepage will contribute to the improvement of administrative services and to the decline in operation costs. For more information, please contact the Internet Policy Team, Information System Planning Division by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling at (+82-2) 3707-9207.
From http://english.seoul.go.kr/ 07/25/2003
Kzylorda free internet access centre started its work on the project ''Summer internet camp'' as per a programme of the International Research and Exchange (IREX) council. In accordance with the project a group of 4 persons has undergone a 5 day training course in IT and internet access in Kzylorda camp ''Arai Sunrise''. Also on the basis of the new oblast IT and new educational technologies centre 6 children from Kazalinsk district have been trained. KZ-today correspondent has been advised by Yelena Sidorkina, assistant to the administrator of Kzylorda free internet access centre, that after the course the children received certificates. During the summer period more than 40 children are planned to be trained.
From http://www.gazeta.kz/ 07/16/2003
The country's electronic goods manufacturers have started producing digital electronic items even though demand is still relatively low because they expect that consumer purchasing power will soon recover in line with the improvement of macroeconomic indicators. Electronics companies are also now in tough competition to bring their technology to Indonesia in anticipation of robust demand for digital electronics in the near future. In addition, they are also planning to make Indonesia their production base for the regional market, which is now imposing import tariffs of below five percent on electronic goods under the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) free trade area (AFTA) scheme. Electronics executives Lee Kang Kyun of PT Samsung Electronic Indonesia and Sung Kyun of LG Electronic Indonesia agreed that demand for digital electronics would soon rise sharply in Indonesia. "I am optimistic enough to say demand will follow the latest trends, in which people will soon move away from their old electronics products to digital ones," Lee told The Jakarta Post over the weekend. He said that his headquarters in Korea had agreed to make Indonesia a production base for high-tech products, which would be exported to ASEAN countries and Australia. Samsung currently markets digital electronic items, including Digital Video Disk (DVD) players, projection TVs, plasma TVs and LCD TVs. Samsung has produced about one million DVD players since the company set up a plant in January 2002 in Cibitung, West Java. A year later in January 2003, Samsung brought its projection TV technology to Indonesia. It produces some 1,500 TV sets every month. Starting in June, the company then produced plasma TVs from its Cibitung plant. "We have so far produced 150 items," Lee, Samsung's marketing director, said. "We shall also market imported home theater products here, starting this month, but we hope to produce such products here soon," he said. However, he declined to state the total value of Samsung's investment here. The company is expected to book US$300 million from domestic sales in 2003, compared with last year's $170 million, while export sales are predicted to increase to $850 million in 2003 from $800 million last year. "Sales of digital products will still contribute about 20 percent to this year's total revenue," he said. Meanwhile, LG Electronic said that the company would also bring its technologies to Indonesia for the production of digital electronic items. "Digital products are the future of electronics. We have to follow the trend," Sung, LG's marketing director told the Post. He predicted people would move from Video Compact Disc (VCD) players to DVD players this year as prices were expected to continue falling. "We hope to control some 20 percent of Indonesia's DVD market this year," he added. LG has produced slim-type DVD players priced at about Rp 800,000 per item since January 2003 at its Cibitung plant. The company is expected to start producing projection TVs here next month so that the company can reduce its prices. "As of now, we still import both projection TVs and plasma TVs from Korea," he said. He said that the price of digital TVs was still high. Sixty-inch plasma TVs, for example, were sold here at $18,000 per item. LG predicted its sales would reach some $300 million this year, as compared with $200 million in 2002. Both companies admitted that their move to introduce high-tech electronic products in Indonesia was a result of the government's decision to cut luxury taxes on electronic products last January. However, they still urged the government to provide a further tax stimulus to encourage more electronic companies to invest in the country. "Luxury taxes of 10 percent to 40 percent on such digital products are still high and we therefore hope the government can reduce them," Lee said. The giant electronic companies planned to set up manufacturing plants here in the mid-1990s, hoping to benefit from the country's cheap labor costs and huge market potential, but shelved their plans due to an unfavorable tax climate and rampant smuggling. "This made Indonesia lag far behind other countries in the digital electronics industry," Lee said. (By Adianto P Simamora)
From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 07/14/2003
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) launched its first communications community development programme (CCDP) for the State at Kampung Sentua in Utan Aji near here yesterday in conjunction with the World Telecommunication Day 2003. CCDP, developed by MCMC, will enable the local community to receive broadband Internet access via satellite technology. It will be later extended to five other state constituencies. The programme, launched by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, involved the installation of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), a satellite access solution that provides broadband connectivity, and two public payphones.The launch also incorporated the establishment of Kedai. Kom, a communications outlet operated by the local community, providing a focal point for communications and multimedia access. Five computer sets with Internet connection was placed in the shop. "The MCMC has embarked on a RM90 million programme to encourage usage of communications and multimedia-based services to communities in the country with limited access to communication networks and services," said MCMC chairman Tan Sri Nuraizah Abdul Hamid. The objective was to ensure every Malaysian had the access to use the services to enhance their knowledge and socio-economic requirements, she said. She said the launch was timely to coincide with Raja of Perlis' 60th birthday and in line with World Telecommunication Day 2003 theme `Helping All Of The World's People To Communicate'. Launching the programme, Shahidan warned the users not to abuse the facilities. "We want the community to embrace the information and communications technology and make it part of their lives," he said. (by T Thant)
From http://www.emedia.com.my 05/18/2003
KUALA LUMPUR - MIMOS Bhd, Maxis Communications Bhd and NTT MSC Sdn Bhd signed a memorandum of understanding here yesterday to work at improving Internet technology for its Malaysian users.The three parties will cooperate in providing a high performance, scalable Internet working solutions through the Internet Protocol Version 6, or IPv6. The primary objective behind the collaboration called My6, is to conduct a trial exploring Next Generation IP services in Malaysia.MIMOS president and chief executive officer, Tengku Azzman Shariffadeen said, "MIMOS and Jaring have forseen the great potential of IPv6 and we have been experimenting with it since 1999." "Now we are extending our knowledge with Maxis and NTT to leverage on our strength and expertise to accelerate the development of the Next Generation Protocol," he added. Internet Protocol Version 6, IPv6, designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to replace the current version of Internet Protocol Version 4 is an improved version.Besides addressing certain problems in IPv4, this new version has a larger address range, upgraded routing efficiency and quality of service (QoS), network auto-configuration, in-built security extensions and mobility support. Maxis Multimedia's chief executive officer, Datuk Jamaludin Ibrahim said," It is our aim to integrate the IPv6 protocol into our respective products and services." He said Maxis offered its consumers the convenience of being "always connected" from their mobile terminals and devices by means of unlimited supply of IP addresses. "In the future it is possible to switch on or off the air-conditioner and other home equipment from mobile phones," he said when asked on the potential of IPv6."We hope our customers will enjoy the advantages of becoming an early adopter of IPv6 at a reasonable and affordable price," NTT MSC's president and chief executive officer, Hiromitsu Honda said. Meanwhile its director, Numajiri Takashi said NTT MSC has been offering the latest IPv6 commercial services under 'Arcnet6' since September last year. - Bernama
From http://www.sarawaktribune.com.my/ 06/04/2003
LIKE in any other field in society where gender equality is an issue, women's access to and control over information and communication technology (ICT) has become a concern. According to Anna Fionah Bojos, a Cebu-based researcher for Women's Hub Organization, ICT is supposed to be gender-blind because a computer would not know if it is a man or woman using it. However, this is not happening. And in fact, women are being discriminated upon. Bojos said the challenges facing women today are unequal control and access to the ICT community; computer illiteracy because of limited access to education, training and skill development; sex-segregated labor, lack of representation from decision-making bodies and the realty that there are few women leaders in ICT. Association for Progressive Communications Women's Networking Support Program reported: "In the ICT industry, labor is highly sex-segregatedˇ There is a digital gender gap with women under-represented in new technology employment in both developed Polarization It further reported that pay polarization within ICT is often gender-based. "On average, women are paid 30-40 percent less than men for comparable work," it said. ICT is defined as innovations in microelectronics, computing (hardware and software), telecommunications and opto-electronics microprocessors, semiconductors, fiber optics that enable the processing and storage of enormous amounts of information, along with rapid distribution of information through communication networks. To find out if work discrimination exists among ICT businesses in Cebu City, Women's Hub is currently conducting a study, in the form of a survey, on the matter. A similar study is also being done in Manila and Davao. Metro Cebu is the haven of more than 80 ICT companies, some 30 of which would be surveyed, Bojos said. Her group began distributing the survey questionnaires to ICT companies last March. There are two sets of questionnaires. The first set is to be answered by the company, while the other one is for the women employees of the company, Bojos said. Aside from the women employees, 120 women in Metro Cebu would also be surveyed. The results of the survey, she said, would be used in coming up with policies in ICT companies. Women's Hub Organization is a non-government organization of information technology women practitioners working for greater access and use of ICT for community empowerment. Jima Jimenea/UP Masscom intern
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 05/01/2003
JOLLIBEE Mango's I-Net caf¨¦, the newest and first Internet caf¨¦ to be launched in Jollibee's system nationwide, is now ready for its patrons. Vierna Camo?as, store manager of the Jollibee outlet on Gen. Maxilom Ave. (the former Mango Ave.), said the five brand-new computer units, which are powered by a high-speed Internet connection through Mosaic Communications, can be used by patrons for free. "Every two months, our promo for the free use of Internet service changes. This month, we have the Dine and Bee Online where patrons earn points when buying food items here in the store," she said. For each P100 food purchase from Jollibee Mango, customers get a card and earn one point. If they reach three points, they get to avail themselves of an hour of free Internet access, she said. Camo?as said that since the launch of I-Net in the last week of March, the store had been able to release 9,000 cards. The Internet caf¨¦ launching also coincided with Jollibee Mango's 10th anniversary. The branch opened last Oct. 23, 1992. Jollibee Mango, the first outlet of the fastfood chain in Cebu, was also the first Jollibee store in Cebu to open an outdoor caf¨¦ in the summer of 2000.
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 05/09/2003
ANOTHER 1,000 public high schools in the country will receive personal computers (PCs) from the government through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) this year. According to DTI Assistant Secretary Armin Raquel-Santos, the DTI has already finalized "a deal" for the second tranche of DTI's "PCs for Public Schools" project. He said the same number of computers would be distributed to the 1,000 selected high schools. Some 300 local government units would also be beneficiaries of the project's second phase. Last year, 66 public non-science high schools in Central Visayas received 20 personal computers each under the program, which was funded by the Japanese government. Through a P600-million grant from Japan, the government was able to purchase 20,000 computers last year for the "PCs for Public High Schools" project. Of the 3,956 public high schools nationwide, only about 1,134 currently have access to IT. (by Jessica B. Natad)
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 05/15/2003
GLOBE Telecom has launched its GlobeQuest Wireless Internet Zone (WIZ), a new technology that allows connection to the Internet using a wireless fidelity (Wifi)-enabled laptop, personal digital assistant or handheld product. During a press conference yesterday at Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Globe assistant vice president for wireline data group Jesus Romero said WIZ has initially been installed at City Sports Club Cebu, making the area a hotspot. Hotspots are areas equipped with wireless LAN (local area network). Romero said that before the end of May, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, Ayala Center Cebu and Mactan-Cebu International Airport would also officially become hotspots. Globe, with its WIZ technology, also aims to make places like gasoline stations, hospitals, malls, and other places hotspots so people in these areas can connect to the Internet with their mobile devices. Also yesterday, as part of its drive to provide its hotels with the latest technology to cater to the needs of customers Cebu City Marriott Hotel (CCMH), together with GlobeQuest, Globe Telecom's Internet technology division, launched its wireless broadband service. According to CCMH general manager Christiane Wasfy, Marriott is the first in the city to have Globe's Broadband Internet Zone (BIZ) installation. She said broadband generally means fast digital access to the Internet or the ability to take in multiple channels through one connection. "We are in a time where communication is fast changing and people are getting more dependent on the services of the Internet," Wasfy said. "And to ensure that our guests keep up with the latest technology, Marriott has chosen to offer our guests the fastest Internet service, which is the broadband connection," she added. Wasfy said the Marriott Hotels in the world are required to have the high-speed Internet service, and the Marriott Hotel in Cebu is among the first hotels in the country to have the new service. Romero also said that through BIZ, Marriott guests could avail themselves of the hotel's value-added services such as wireless Internet and mobile office applications, video conferencing, video and audio streaming, and virtual LAN applications. He said Globe invested at least $100,000 for the BIZ project, but it expects to get its investment back or make a reasonable profit in three years' time. (by Arvy E. Lopez)
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 05/27/2003
INTEL Philippines Corp. yesterday launched their latest technology offering, the Intel Centrino, a processor and chipset designed from scratch for wireless mobile connectivity. The Intel Centrino comes with built-in WiFi connectivity to let users connect to the Internet through the 802.11b wireless band, Intel Microelectronics Phils. Inc. president Ricardo Banaag said. The processor not only consumes less power, it also consumes it smartly: its technology adjusts power use depending on the type of processing power needed by the computer application. Battery life For a mobile computer to sport an Intel Centrino logo, it must have a minimum of five hours of battery life, compared to about four hours for a mobile computer using a Pentium III processor or three hours for one using a Pentium 4 processor. A MobileMark 2002 benchmark also showed that Intel Centrino offers a 41 percent faster performance on multi-tasking office productivity applications compared to a Pentium III, 1.2 GHz processor, and 15 percent compared to a Pentium 4, 2.4Ghz processor. Banaag said Intel is working with manufacturers of wireless products and corporate users like hotels and airports to standardize wireless connectivity. Intel has described the "unwiring" of gadgets as the tipping point in mobile computing. Author Malcolm Gladwell describes a tipping point as the point where the line in a graph shoots up. In mobile computing, the unwiring of gadgets is seen as the point where mobile computer usage is expected to increase dramatically. Banaag said companies can get a 20 percent increase in productivity of its workers if it deploys wireless computers. He said there is also a 29 percent drop in the total cost of ownership of mobile computers if it has wireless connectivity. Banaag said Intel has replaced the units of its admin and secretarial workforce with wireless laptops and notebooks to increase their productivity. Intel chief executive officer Craig Barrett said that unwiring PC will fundamentally change the way people use their computers, allowing them to communicate, be productive or be entertained wherever and whenever they want. "Our focus on integrating all the elements of mobility allows Intel Centrino mobile technology to deliver an outstanding wireless computing experience. This also marks the first time we've put a combination of technologies under a single brand," he said. Hotspots WiFi ready computers connect to the Internet through so-called hotspots, an area where high-speed wireless access to the Internet is available. Globe has fielded four Wireless Internet Zones (Wiz) access points at Ayala Center. The company, according to Globe wireline data group head Roy Perez, plans to add more Wiz hotspots in public places in Cebu. Perez said in yesterday's briefing that it is easier and cheaper to roll out WiFi hotspots than 3G, the third generation high-speed connection for mobile phones. (by Arvy E. Lopez with Max T. Limpag)
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 06/06/2003
Today, no one would dispute that information technology has become the backbone of commerce. It underpins the operations of individual companies, ties together far-flung supply chains, and, increasingly, links businesses to the customers they serve. As IT's power and presence have expanded, companies have come to view it as a resource ever more critical to their success, a fact clearly reflected in their spending habits. But the veneration of IT goes much deeper than money spent on it. It is evident as well in the shifting attitudes of top managers. Twenty years ago, most executives looked down on computers as proletarian tools-glorified typewriters and calculators-best relegated to low level employees like secretaries, analysts and technicians. It was the rare executive who would let his fingers touch a keyboard, much less incorporate information technology into his strategic thinking. Today, that has changed completely. Chief executives now routinely talk about the strategic value of information technology, about how they can use IT to gain a competitive edge, about the "digitization" of their business models. Most have appointed chief information officers to their senior management teams, and many have hired strategy consulting firms to provide fresh ideas on how to leverage their IT investments for differentiation and advantage. Behind the change in thinking lies a simple assumption: that as IT's potency and ubiquity have increased, so too has its strategic value. It's a reasonable assumption, even an intuitive one. But it's mistaken. What makes a resource truly strategic-what gives it the capacity to be the basis for a sustained competitive advantage-is not ubiquity but scarcity. You only gain an edge over rivals by having or doing something that they can't have or do. By now, the core functions of IT-data storage, data processing, and data transport-have become available and affordable to all. Their very power and presence have begun to transform them from potentially strategic resources into commodity factors of production. They are becoming costs of doing business that must be paid by all but provide distinction to none. IT is best seen as the latest in a series of broadly adopted technologies that have reshaped industry over the past two centuries-from the steam engine and the railroad to the telegraph and the telephone to the electric generator and the internal combustion engine. For a brief period, as they were being built into the infrastructure of commerce, all these technologies opened opportunities for forward-looking companies to gain real advantages. But as their availability increased and their cost decreased-as they became ubiquitous-they became commodity inputs. From a strategic standpoint, they became invisible; they no longer mattered. That is exactly what is happening to information technology today, and the implications for corporate IT management are profound.
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 06/16/2003
Singaporeans seem to be more comfortable shopping online than doing their banking over the Internet - probably because cyberspace plastic spending is in small amounts, bankers say. The volume and number of online credit card transactions by OCBC credit card holders jumped more than 300 per cent in March and April compared with February, the bank told BT over the weekend. OCBC's head of credit cards, Gan Ai Im, said the average size of these transactions did not exceed $100 and there was a noticeable increase in payments of fees and charges. 'This trend is very likely to continue,' Ms Gan said. Andy Chan, managing director of credit card services at DBS, said the bank is seeing more consumers become comfortable with using plastic online. While he did not have the latest data, he said that from 2000 to the end of last year, DBS credit card spending online increased 125 per cent in dollar volume and 523 per cent in terms of the number of transactions. OCBC and DBS have issued about half a million credit cards each. According to Francis Hsu, head of credit cards at United Overseas Bank, the rise in online credit card spending should be seen in perspective. 'It is from a very small base,' he said, accounting for no more than 3 per cent of total card billing. 'The average transaction size is small. It's still mainly for buying of books from Amazon.com or CDs. You want to buy a handphone or television, you go to the shop.' UOB is the biggest local credit card player with more than 800,000 cards issued. Still, there is an obvious difference between the sharp increase in shopping online and the slow response to Internet banking. Despite local banks having spent tens of millions of dollars on Internet banking, Singaporeans are more conservative here. As if to prove the point, consumers have avoided going to bank branches because of Sars - yet there has been no increase in online banking. The distrust of online banking has been a headache for local banks, which have no choice but to continue to invest in it while at the same time boosting resources to maintain personal contact through physical branches and a larger sales force. The three local banks don't provide specific figures on Internet banking. But in 2002, DBS, United Overseas and OCBC spent $228 million, $199 million and $170 million respectively on technology, some of which would have gone on Internet banking. In the first two weeks of last month, at the height of Sars-infection fears, branch traffic slumped about 20 per cent, according to DBS and UOB. DBS has 87 branches and UOB has 63. DBS says that since then, branch traffic has recovered quite a bit, to a 4 per cent decline. OCBC Bank, which also has 63 branches, says it too saw a drop in branch traffic in the first two weeks of April, but the situation is improving. One would have thought that with people staying home, they might spend more time on the Internet, surfing or chatting - but that hasn't extended to banking. The barriers that stop people from using the Internet to bank still seem to be intact - a fact borne out by a 2001 survey, the fourth in a row, by consultants McKinsey & Co. McKinsey found that consumers here had become even more, not less, risk-averse towards innovation in banking technology. Said a marketing specialist: 'When dealing with money, people need to feel comfortable and (in online banking) there's not a tangible feel and trust to the whole process.' Although banks have poured money into making their online systems more secure than Fort Knox, repeated hacking incidents, mostly unrelated to banks, have not raised the comfort level. 'The Internet is not localised, it's all connected,' the specialist noted. DBS, with its four million customers, boasts the greatest Internet access with about 450,000 online customers. The bank records about 4 million online transactions worth $600 million monthly. But Edmund Koh, DBS's head of consumer banking, says that even a shock like Sars hasn't encouraged people to make a sudden switch to the Internet. During the first two weeks in April, DBS's online transactions were flat and value per transaction value wasn't up either. Mr Chan: 'To be fair, retail transaction is different from banking transaction. You do perhaps 4 banking transactions a month; it's quite static.' During the height of Sars fears, people who avoided going out still had to buy their groceries, pay various bills and charges, so shopping online was one alternative. One IT executive said most online shopping is less than $100 and the security risk perception is small against transferring funds from one account to another which could expose your whole account. 'Nobody in their right mind transfers tens of dollars online,' he said. Mr Koh points out that sales of loans or investment products also require face-to-face contact. 'You typically need face-to-face closure,' he said. OCBC, which has 140,000 online customers, also did not detect any significant shift in Internet-banking patterns after the Sars outbreak. 'Having said that, it is still too early to say that the trend will not change, given that the Sars outbreak only hit Singapore towards the end of March 2003,' a bank spokeswoman said. On investing more in interactive channels, OCBC said customer use is rising steadily and the bank recognises the value and importance of electronic channels when it comes to providing simple and convenient services or products. Most bank customers who use the Internet do so for information and simple transactions. According to Coreen Kwan, OCBC's head of consumer sales and services: 'Online is mainly for information and requests for meetings.' By meetings, she means customers who want to know more after reading about specific products or loans. At DBS, Mr Koh said: 'We are keen to promote (electronic) channels as part of continued customer service.' UOB, too, says that as part of its strategy to provide better service and greater convenience, it will continue to enhance and develop alternative banking channels such as self-service machines, phone-banking and Internet banking. UOB noted that in March, Internet banking rose 10 per cent from February, along with branch traffic (up 16 per cent), ATM (up 30 per cent) and phone-banking (up 5 per cent). But the bank attributed the higher usage to February being a shorter month. Part of the determination of local banks to develop Internet banking could stem from seeing relatively higher acceptance by customers of foreign banks. Sophia Tong, Citibank's public affairs director for consumer bank, said the bank has seen a 'visible increase' in online traffic during the Sars period. Citibank has four branches. Nicholas Winsor, HSBC's head of personal financial services, says that as the bank's business is in a growth phase, it is seeing increased traffic through branches, mobile sales, telephone and Internet channels. 'We have not seen anything out of the ordinary, although the Internet continues to prove a convenient way for our customers to access their bank accounts and conduct their banking transactions,' he said. 'Over the past 12 months, we have seen penetration rates rise to about 12 per cent.' 'We've never been dependent on branch traffic distribution to the extent of our rivals,' he noted. HSBC has 11 branches here.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 05/06/2003
Within the corporate environment, the Ministry of Defence and some of the bigger organisations here have been using computer-based training for many years, according to the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. The finance and banking sectors have been very active in adopting e-learning. But generally, corporate users of e-learning tend to be multinationals with a history of employee training. They typically have more than 150 employees and have the financial resources for implementation. The first portals offering e-learning started to appear in Singapore in 1998. At that time, companies mainly used standard or off-the-shelf courses offered by these e-learning portals. It is only in the last two to three years that the companies have started to implement Learning Manage ment Systems with customised e-learning content to meet the specific needs of employees. More recently, blended e-learning courses incorporating online and classroom-based learning have taken off in Singapore. Virtual classrooms which allow for real-time learner and instructor interaction are also becoming popular. According to Frost and Sullivan, e-learning courses range from simple orientation programmes and product information modules to direct marketing and emotional intelligence to IT related courses. Course duration typically ranges from 30 minutes to 12 months with 60-hour courses being the most common. Delivery is usually asynchronous with 'live' collaboration windows. Coaches are usually available to handle course feedback and to play a facilitator role. Companies which are part of a global operation often implement similar modules across their global offices to realise economies of scale.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 05/10/2003
E-learning has become a powerful new tool in the arsenal of manpower train ing departments of several Singapore companies as they train staff to keep them on the cutting edge of competitive skills. According to a Frost & Sullivan survey, Singapore's e-learning market is expected to touch US$106.43 million by 2005. Out of this, corporate users will spend as much as US$57 million on e-learning. This would make them the biggest spenders in e-learning ahead of academic and government users. The Frost & Sullivan report adds that companies spend on the average about 20-50 per cent of their training budget on e-learning. Disk drive maker Seagate extensively uses e-learning for training its staff. Seagate initiated a single global source to manage employee learning called 'myLearning' in March 2002. According to Seagate officials, the company is currently accelerating the adoption of e-learning with the launch of the Six Sigma e-learning for technicians and supervisors. Due to be launched in July 2003, this automated delivery of Six Sigma modules and syllabus online will allow employees to expand their knowledge base online at their own pace, according to Seagate. Chuah Chong Lim, Seagate's executive director and Six Sigma process leader (Far East), says: 'Web-enabling our learning process allows us to empower our employees with the right tools and knowledge so that they can be responsible and accountable in every aspect of their work.' Banking giant Standard Chartered embarked on a phased roll-out of e-learning solutions in February 2002 with the launch of its global online HR management and learning management system known as Peoplewise. Currently, its e-learning courses are hosted on the bank's intranet and completed within a training environment during office hours. The bank is now looking into the viability of access via the Internet, which would give learners access after office hours. According to Ang Bee Leng, head, organisation learning, Standard Chartered, Singapore, 'e-learning has been incorporated in Standard Chartered's organisational learning approach as it maximises learning effectiveness.' NTUC Income is also into corporate e-learning in a big way. James Kang, CIO, NTUC Income Insurance Cooperative Ltd, says the company has found that the average cost of e-learning was around 30 per cent below traditional learning programmes. NTUC Income is currently working to make e-learning available to the other cooperatives around the world at affordable rates. There will be over a hundred topics covering various management disci plines and personal development. NTUC Income will be inviting suitable e-learning providers to collaborate on this project. Fuji Xerox started its e-learning programme in 2000 as a regional initiative for Fuji Xerox, spearheaded by Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific (FXAP). Fuji Xerox Singapore (FXS) adopted the same e-learning platform under FXAP, where staff of FXS could log-on to the internal network to access up to 900 titles of courseware, ranging from IT skills to soft skills such as time management or people management for instance. In March 2003, FXS embarked on its own video interface for e-learning (Vitel e-learning). The programme, Vitel, targets FXS' team of customer service engineers (CSE) responsible for machine and service maintenance, as well as customer relations officers (CRO) responsible for customer product training. Commenting on the benefits of corporate e-learning programmes, Lo Yoong Khong, deputy director, manpower development, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, said: 'With the anytime or on-demand access provided by e-learning, staff can acquire new knowledge and skills at their convenience without disrupting job schedules or compromising workplace productivity.' Mr Lo and his team promote e-learning adoption in Singapore, and also work with content and solution providers to develop Singapore's e-learning industry. IDA has been a big backer of corporate e-learning programmes here. At present, some blended e-learning courses, combining online and classroom learning, are supported under the Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (Citrep), the e-Business Savviness Programme (ESBP) and the Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme (e-learning). These programmes are managed by the National Infocomm Competency Centre and participants get a portion of their training fees subsidised by IDA or the Ministry of Manpower. IDA also introduced the e-Learning Early Adopters Programme (eLEAP) in July 2002 to fund the infrastructure costs of local companies that wanted to embark on e-learning. The programme, which recently expired, attracted over 50 applications since its launch and created some good reference cases of e-learning adoption in Singapore.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 05/10/2003
Singapore companies' use of storage devices attached directly to computers is dropping dramatically as they embrace network storage solutions in an effort to manage ever-growing volumes of information, latest research figures show. Traditionally, storage has been mainly Direct Attached Storage (DAS), referring to the devices attached directly to a computer. The increased use of network storage solutions is 'a response to the massive need for distributed storage in the installed base and the increasing difficulty of managing it', says research group International Data Corporation (IDC). The dominant forms are Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network-Attached Storage (NAS). In Singapore, the external storage market less SAN/NAS - principally DAS - is expected to shrink from US$36.31 million in 2002 to US$7.31 million in 2007, giving a negative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -27.4 per cent, IDC predicts. Network Attached Storage will be the main beneficiary from this fall, rising at a CAGR of 33.2 per cent from US$7.81 million in 2002 to US$32.75 million. SAN is expected to grow a more modest 2.7 per cent a year from US$43.43 million in 2002 to US$49.62 million in 2007. Network storage gives companies the flexibility of modifying storage systems within a very short time without the need for long-term planning. It allows for separate purchase decisions for storage and server capacities and also makes the data stored available to multiple users both within and outside the organisation. This approach also allows for more centralised storage management while at the same time allowing a link up between storage resources scattered over large geographical locations. Martin Wijaya, senior analyst, storage, IDC Asia-Pacific, explains: 'Although DAS is easier to deploy, managing a big collection of it over time is a big task, thus increasing the total cost of ownership (TCO) significantly. 'The main benefit of deploying networked storage, be it either SAN or NAS, is the attractive lower TCO over time from the management and backup aspects.' Steve Faris, general manager, network storage solutions, Datacraft Asia, takes the argument further. He explains that organisations initially saw network storage as a way to lower costs by using networks to optimise expensive storage resources. But he points out: 'In the past, the majority of costs were in the storage hardware itself. The cost per megabyte of storage was measured in dollars per megabyte. Today, the cost of these hardware resources has dropped dramatically, and continues to do so,' he says. Mr Faris adds that the cost of the storage hardware itself is measured in cents per megabyte, comprising less and less of the overall TCO. However, he adds, even then it was not unusual to see storage costs alone taking up between 20 and 50 per cent of overall new capital purchases. 'Thus, buyers are still interested in the ability of network storage to improve the efficiency of their storage hardware usage.' Today, one of the main drivers of network storage is the move to standardise the components and design of datacentres and of the computing infrastructure in general, he says. 'Organisations are increasingly migrating to open standards and using standardised, repeatable componentry to build and deliver corporate computing infrastructure.' Network storage helps in this effort by separating the server and storage infrastructure. The advantage is that companies can thus buy servers and storage separately and at different times, thus allowing IT purchasers to select best-of-breed components at each level. IDC's Martin Wijaya sums up: 'In the long run, the return on investment (ROI) is higher given the lower TCO.'
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 05/27/2003
Less than a quarter of Singaporeans do their shopping on the Net because they're afraid of giving out credit card details online. Well, I can safely say that these guys don't know what they're missing. I'm a big fan of shopping online. My only fear is that my pay cheque can't keep up with my spending. I'm sorry, but Singapore isn't a shopping paradise, despite all we've been told. The real shopping paradise is cyberspace. It's the best mall ever devised. The best thing about the Great World Wide Web mall is that you can find so many things out there that you could not possibly get here - assuming you had the time and inclination to go looking for them here. In just the past two weeks, I've managed to buy all manner of useless items through the Internet. There's that paella dish from Tienda.com. Books on Moroccan cooking and music from Amazon. A triathlon race suit from Tri-zone.com. A couple of T-shirts - my personal favourites, they feature a likeness of Mohammed Said Al-Sahaf, former Iraqi information minister (he's now on administrative leave, according to the shirts), and one of his famous quotes: 'There Are No American Infidels In Baghdad. Never!' - from CafePress.com. And that's just over the past two weeks. You can see why this stuff gets addictive. You'd never find anything of the sort here. Which is precisely why many of those who haven't started shopping at online malls yet should do so. The wealth of choice is amazing. You can get everything from Idiazabal cheese used in tapas (Tienda.com) to movie posters (posters-for-sale.com). Part of the reason shopping at Singapore outlets online hasn't taken off here is the fact that our local retailers' attempts at selling on the Net are pathetic. Not that they're much better at offline sales, mind you. When was the last time you met a salesman who knew more about a product he is selling than you do, anyway? Take Metro, for example. It has an online presence, to be sure, for which it should be applauded. But a cursory check of the men's section at the online store reveals that you can get two sorts of goods there - accessories and underwear. At Amazon's men's section, by contrast, you can get everything from T-shirts to suits, and brands from Adidas to Land's End. And, yes, underwear too. Cold Storage's online store is probably a better example for how to go about selling on the Net. I remember trying out their online store years ago. The site took forever to load and, more importantly, featured a paltry selection of groceries - mainly tissue paper and detergents. Now, though, the online store is vastly improved. You can, for example, get about 20 types of salmon, from your garden variety fillets to the smoked stuff with herbs. Everything from booze to organic food is available now, making it a huge improvement over what it used to be. So some retailers at least are taking advantage of this channel. Many don't, and that's not doing us online shoppers any good. But it is unfair to just blame retailers for this sad state of affairs. The fault lies more with the 75 per cent of Internet users here who don't want to venture out into the malls in cyberspace. Without a demand for it here, who can blame retailers for not choosing to go the whole hog online? This state of affairs is one of the little things that keeps us from being mentioned as a truly wired city, the way South Korea is. While the Koreans are watching soap operas and buying just about everything else online, we're using the Internet to pass on dumb jokes and chat with each other across the room on Internet Messenger. It says a lot about the way we've failed to take full advantage of the Internet.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 06/04/2003
If you think infotech outsourcing - a fast-growing business for a good number of Singapore companies - is just a passing fad, think again. As early as next year, more than 80 per cent of US executive boardrooms will have discussed offshore outsourcing, and more than 40 per cent of US enterprises will have completed some sort of pilot project, or will be sourcing IT services through a global delivery model. This is a major conclusion of a study that has just been released by research house Gartner Inc. It reports that by next year, all US enterprises will need to consider global delivery sourcing as one of their top strategic sourcing options. Singapore also wants to attract some of that business to its shores. A slew of companies including MNCs and local firms - such as National Computer Systems, IBM Corp, Electronic Data Systems, HP and Accenture - have facilities and expertise to offer IT outsourcing services here. 'We believe Singapore is naturally a good location for critical data management and higher value-added IT outsourcing services,' Ling Keok Tong, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's deputy director of information infrastructure development, told BT. 'We have the key infrastructure that this demands: an international submarine cable capacity exceeding 21 terabits per second, 20 data centres offering a wide host of value-added services, and the presence of major IT outsourcing firms.' According to Partha Iyengar, Gartner's vice-president for software research, the sourcing of IT work from anywhere in the world at the best prevailing prices is now becoming mainstream for application-related services. 'Early adopters are actively exploring beyond application-related services, including business process outsourcing (BPO), call centres and infrastructure services,' he added. A recent survey by research house International Data Corp (IDC) found 42 per cent of all active outsourcing engagements in the US now have an offshore component. And 63 per cent of the sourcing advisers surveyed by IDC identified 'offshore labour supply' as the top reason for companies that seek to lower IT costs. 'The increased use of offshore services will continue to put considerable downward pressure on prices throughout the next several years,' said Traci Gere, group vice-president of IDC's US services research group. 'This trend has only just begun. But its impact will both deepen in segments where it is currently seen and broaden to segments where it is not yet felt.' Singapore companies and government agencies are also outsourcing IT services when it makes business sense. Examples include the Registry of Companies' eBizcore, DBS Bank outsourcing its back-end IT operations and the Department of Statistics' Census 2000 survey. The Supreme Court and the Land Transport Authority too have outsourced IT services in their Technology Court and online COE bidding system respectively. Singapore's market for IT services is set to top US$1.3 billion this year, up 11.5 per cent from last year, IDC said. By 2006, this market will hit US$1.86 billion. Across 14 key countries in the Asia-Pacific outside of Japan, IDC says the IT services market will be worth US$32 billion by 2006, a doubling from last year. 'Large outsourcing contracts in the region are still given out by companies in Australia,' said Phil Hassey, IDC's research manager for Asia-Pacific outsourcing research. 'However, in the past 12 months banks in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand all signed the largest and most groundbreaking outsourcing deals in their respective countries.' Globally, IT services revenue hit US$556 billion last year, up 2.8 per cent from 2001, Gartner said. This year, growth is expected to be higher, at 6.2 per cent, with revenues crossing US$591 billion. IDC said the total value of the top 100 outsourcing contracts crossed US$228 billion in 2001, with most of the deals running for five to 10 years each. The firm tracked the top outsourcing mega-deals between 1997 and 2001 and found that three sectors - government, manufacturing and financial services - outsourced the most. The top three companies in the IT outsourcing game are IBM, EDS, and HP. IBM, through its IBM Global Services, leads with US$36 billion in revenues last year and 175,000 staff. Last year, it signed US$18 billion in new contracts. EDS booked US$24.4 billion in outsourcing contract last year and employs 138,000 people worldwide. HP has signed more than 200 managed services contracts in the last 12 months in financial services, telecoms, manufacturing and government sectors.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 06/26/2003
The Government announced on Tuesday a S$1.3-billion (US$743-million) plan to upgrade its online public services in a bid to further boost Singapore's tech-savvy status. Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the new three-year programme, dubbed e-Government Action Plan II (eGAPII), to ensure Singapore keeps its Internet edge over its rivals in the region. eGAPII aims to deliver more one-stop, integrated services to meet the needs of the public and businesses, DPM Lee said. By 2006, eGAPII should increase the number of people who communicated online with the Government to 90 per cent, up from the current 75 per cent who did so at least once in the past year. DPM Lee said the target would be achieved through a two-pronged approach of heightening e-services awareness through publicity and promotions, and providing different channels of access, such as mobile phones, and more access points, such as supermarkets and public libraries. eGAPII's predecessor, eGAPI, cost S$1.5 billion and provides 1,600 public services online today.
From http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/ 07/15/20003
A government project to transform Chiang Mai, Phuket and Khon Kaen into e-cities will cost billions of baht, the ICT minister said. "For Chiang Mai, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) expects that the government has to spend Bt1 billion on the project," ICT Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said. The NESDB was estimating the budget needed for the other two cities, he said.If things go as planned, Chiang Mai would become the first upcountry e-city by October, he said. "I'll try my best to speed up the projects in the three provinces. "All state agencies in e-cities will use information technology to run their branch operations and provide online public services. The ICT Ministry's telecom agencies - TOT Corp Plc and the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) - have also played a role in seeing the projects materialise. "The CAT has already spent Bt50 million on building an IT facility in Chiang Mai to support the plan, as well as Bt50 million in Khon Kaen and Bt100 million in Phuket," he said.Surapong was in Chiang Mai for the opening of TOT's first modern look store, which soon will serve the e-city project by allowing people to request government services, for example, the issuance of an identification card or house registration documents.
From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 06/09/2003
A multi-pronged plan to bring information technology (IT) to the masses is set to transform the Thai capital from the 'dark ages' of IT to a modern wired city by the end of the year. The government's 924-million-baht (S$39-million) programme will add 7,300 schools, from the present 200, and scores of public libraries to the Internet. This plan dovetails with a separate private-sector initiative that is in the pipeline. Under it, service provider CS Loxinfo will install 100 broadband access 'hotspots' at shopping malls in the capital next month to enable people to use the Internet through wireless 'Wi-Fi' technology. According to the Ministry of Education, 80 per cent of primary schools in Thailand will be able to connect to the Internet by the end of next year. And by the end of this year, all secondary schools will be linked to the Internet. The ministry plans to have all required books available in the CD-ROM format as well in the future. The CS Loxinfo initiative will involve an investment of 200,000 baht per 'hotspot' and the company will initially sell starter kits. Charges for using the service will be a high three baht per minute, but the company says that when it hits a customer base of 10,000, it may reduce the rates. There is currently no free wireless Internet service available to the public in Bangkok - a factor that Bangkok Post IT columnist James Hein wrote 'put Bangkok in the wireless equivalent of the dark ages' compared with cities like Singapore. But CS Loxinfo hopes to change that eventually with its 'Wi-Fi' initiative that it plans to extend to the country's major airports, hotels and malls. Thailand has about 4.5 million Internet subscribers, with the number growing by around 40 per cent a year, according to the National Statistical Office. Turning the country into a competitive 'knowledge society' with wide use of IT and e-governance is a key thrust area of the government.
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 06/16/2003
Three years ago when battered economies grappled with the aftershock of the dot.com crash, five guys did something most companies would have thought silly. They pulled US$45,000 (S$77,000) together and bought an information technology (IT) company in Vietnam called Sutrix Media. It was not long before others realised it was not such a crazy thing to do, after all. 'When we started, we were one of some 20 IT firms in Ho Chi Minh, but now there are over 200,' said Mr Shane Wall, 40, an Australian, who is part of Sutrix Media's multi-national management team. His partners are a Briton, an Asian-American, a New Zealander and two Canadians. Their boutique IT firm offers web design, software development and language application services. 'I was using IT to develop new methods of accessing information for the navy,' said Mr Wall, who had spent 21 years in the Australian navy before he was roped in to design multiple language translation applications for Sutrix Media. 'With the IT industry in Vietnam opening up, we wanted a piece of the pie.' Like other potential investors, Sutrix Media was well aware of Vietnam's layers of bureaucracy, a legal system of loopholes, crumbling infrastructure and exorbitant operational costs, from pricey office rentals to high telecommunication charges. That did not scare off Mr Wall and company. 'On the contrary, the government has been very helpful in pushing the whole IT sector ahead,' he said. 'Our direct competitors are foreign firms, that like us have entered the market to tap the benefits set up by the authorities for the IT industry.' These include a three-year corporate tax holiday and an exemption from tariffs on the hardware IT firms import as long as they are not trading in the hardware itself, he said. These incentives make for significant savings, especially when the firm is a new start-up. Increasingly, falling operating costs over the years are also attractive reasons to continue doing business in Vietnam. 'For example, there are now six service providers we can choose from,' said Mr Wall. Continuously competitive prices lower the overall costs that arise largely from manpower, rent and telecommunication charges, he added. A key element of doing business in Vietnam is to understand and respect Vietnamese business culture. He said: 'Things can get done without businesses paying additional coffee money, but it is still part of the economic environment in Vietnam. We can moralise all we want about the practice, but what do you call the weekend golf trips offered by multinationals abroad?' On their part, he said, the government has understood that the IT industry is characteristically fluid and fast-moving, and has reacted by loosening up on some bureaucratic controls. Until just three years ago, all content produced had to be screened by the Ministry of Culture and Information. So, big files were cut in several CDs and sent for approval. That is no longer required. Mr Wall said: 'The authorities realised we are not producing physical goods here. Now, approval is given via e-mail, at a click.' Another incentive for Sutrix Media in continuing its operations, that have seen a 20 to 25 per cent rise in revenue per year since its inception, is also the increasingly technically proficient local work force. 'Staff members who simply obeyed instructions are a thing of the past. Now they contribute alternative solutions. They challenge the management,' he said. The Sutrix team of 18 Vietnamese permanent and part-time workers has already produced websites for multinational companies like British Petroleum, Mercedes-Benz (Vietnam), Citibank (Vietnam), France Telecom and BMG. Although it now depends on repeat foreign clients for 60 per cent of its revenue, Sutrix is optimistic that the Vietnamese market will mature to pay for quality IT services. 'It is a matter of time before they view IT services as an investment rather than just a cost,' said Mr Wall. 'And when they do, we'll be here. Sutrix Media is in Vietnam for the long haul.'
From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 05/24/2003
Viet Nam's first e-market was launched by the Vnet Joint Stock Company in Ha Noi last Saturday. Vnet director Duong Anh Duc said the company has already attracted hundreds of businesses from the northern provinces to offer over 3,000 goods for sale at the Vnet E-market. The goods and services available at the VNet website, www.vnnet.com.vn, include office, computer and home furniture, electronics, food and handicrafts. "One of our main objectives is to develop Vnet E-market into a nationwide online market, supplying products to consumers throughout Viet Nam," Duc said. Vnet spent two years setting up the enterprise, and conducted comprehensive surveys of 2,000 firms in northern provinces and cities. Director of Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency under Ministry of Trade, Ngo Van Thoan, said the launch of Vnet E-market is a milestone for the development of e-commerce in Viet Nam, even though it falls far behind other countries. Thoan said that Vnet faces immediate challenges due to the absence of a legal framework for e-commerce, poor infrastructure, low consumer awareness, and lack of qualified personnel. To provide incentives for consumers to buy online, Vnet has asked participating companies to reduce their prices by 10 per cent, as well as coordinating with cafe owners to promote the e-market to their internet customers. The company has joined with the Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam and the Viet Nam Software Development Company to set-up a secure e-payment system for customers wanting to pay online. For Vnet to be successful, it will be reliant on the active participation of enterprises and on-line customers, along with its reliable technology, Duc said. Vnet has established six branches in provinces and cities of Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Nam Dinh and Thai Nguyen to enable customers based in these regions to deliver goods. Vnet expects to have branches across the country by 2004, with the time frame for delivering goods ranging from two to 24 hours.
From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 06/02/2003
Hanoi branch of State Bank of Vietnam sources held that by June 2003, the capital mobilized by credit institutions in Hanoi had totaled VND136,100b, up 22.8% against the year-on-year period. Capital mobilized in VND made up VND83,700b, representing 45.2% with the speed of mobilizing far exceeding that in foreign currencies. Capital mobilized by commercial banks accounted for 75.6%, joint-stock commercial banks for 9%, the remaining percentage belonged to joint-venture banks and foreign banks branches.
From http://www.bvom.com/ 07/02/2003
Nowadays, thanks to the high level of development of information technology (IT), we can think of staying at home and just pressing a button to get what we wish to buy. Or, to put it in a more exact way, information technology will help us carry out commercial transactions, get a service or implement other forms of economic activities without having to make much effort. Many IT experts speculate that the recognition and application of E-commerce will bring about swift changes to Vietnam's society. Two years ago, E-commerce was still a new concept in Vietnam, but today enterprises and State managerial institutions have familiarised themselves with this advanced commercial pattern. This is good news. However, a number of experts hold that E-commerce in Vietnam, to a large extent, exists in mind only. As for telecommunications infrastructure, the number of telephone subscribers in the country is three million, being one of the ten countries in the world that has the highest rate of development in the number of telephones. Despite all this, the number of Internet users is still low. Up till now, there have been 78,000 Internet subscribers. The major reason is the expensive Internet rate which is seen as very high in comparison with the average income. Also, there has been little legal basis for E-commerce activities as well as for payments to be done through the network. That explains why E-commerce has not grown fast in Vietnam recently. In 1998, the first electronic supermarket of Vietnam appeared with a website on the Internet, but it was short-lived. Commodities displayed at the supermarket were poor and transactions and payments were mainly carried out in a conventional way. Few of the people entering the supermarket were really prompted by their need to buy something. The failure was due to various factors, the most important ones of which were its novelty and the psychological barrier of buyers who preferred to "see by their own eyes and touch by their own hands" what they wanted to buy. It will take time break this type of barrier. In addition, commodities on the Vietnamese market are plentiful, diversified and multi-standard, and consumers can only rest assured while purchasing by themselves. Usually, our customers have time and they want to make a careful choice. Therefore, E-commerce will actually become significant once an industrial style of life is well-established. The above-mentioned fact does not prevent us from pursuing E-commerce. The government has made a decision to set up the Department of Trade Promotion under the Ministry of Trade and allocated VND 1 billion for the implementation of an 'E-commerce technique' project which consists of 14 sub-projects aimed at preparing for E-commerce in terms of public awareness, legal basis, technological basis, confidentiality, electronic payment, industrial standardisation, protection of customers' interests, national security, State administration, management of human resources etc, which have been assigned to a number of relevant organisations for the implementation. According to Mr Tran Quang Nha, an expert of the Ministry of Trade, "this project is just the first sketch on an E-commerce canvass." In parallel with the above-mentioned project, the Department of Trade Promotion is designing a website for introduction, advertisement and, if possible, transactions on a pilot scale. As for the payment, the traditional commercial way can be temporarily applied. A number of enterprises are now showing their interest in, and making use of, Internet to introduce their products and look for business partners. Six hundred Vietnamese enterprises have launched their own website to advertise their products . However, the efficiency brought about by the website is constrained to the extension of information. There are rare cases like the one of Phat Thanh Co, Ltd in Ho Chi Minh City. The company has exported two containers of plastic products to the Netherlands with a contractual value of US $100,000 thanks to a customer who happened to access its website on Internet. Of the enterprises that have carefully prepared for E-commerce is An Dan Trading Company (Gami Group). This is one of the leading companies that has applied information technology into business. It has four websites: www.vnmotors.com.vn for cars and motorbikes; www.gamitravel.com.vn for tourism; www.gamifineart.com.vn for art works; and www.nhaxinh.com.vn for real assets and property. Anyone who has the demand can register his/her membership and introduce his property to be put on sale or lease. The information that customers access on the Internet is regularly updated in respect of the property market, customers' taste and tendency, and recommendations on sale and purchase. In addition, An Dan company also co-operates with VP Bank to sell commodities on installment, and with a housing company for house auctions. Since the first launch of the property website on the Internet on July 2000, there have been more than 50 houses put up for sale. However, the website only conveys the information, all the sale and purchase have to be done in a conventional way. Mr Vu Hong Nam, assistant to the general director of An Dan company, explains that although the immediate outcome is yet to be desired, the company wishes to lay the foundation for development in the 21st century. Payment through the Internet is given first priority by all enterprises at present. This matter is seen as one of the major obstacles that impedes the development of E-commerce in Vietnam. With regard to this matter, local banks are now carrying out preparation for making payments this way. At present, nine branches of the Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development are carrying out transfers through the electronic network, and the branch of Vietcombank in Hanoi has launched a retail banking system since October 20, 2000. The system is able to meet various demands of customers (exchange, cash receipt, payment, etc.) over the counter, monitor capital; pay salaries and execute automatic transfers. Based on direct operations of the network and the central management of database, a customer can open an account at only one of its branches to carry out transactions with all other branches. At the same time, the customer is kept updated of information on his own bank account. After a recent software writing contest, there is another interesting contest for designing the most impressive website, co-sponsored by VASC, a software company, the Dien dan Doanh nghiep (Business Forum) and the Post and Telecommunications Magazine. The major aim of the contest is to focus the attention of enterprises and society on E-commerce. It is a long way from a perception to a real E-commerce for the success of which a complete legal basis is necessarily required. Only when this matter is settled, will E-commerce create a real opportunity for the development of our country.
From http://www.bvom.com/ 07/04/2003
Bangladesh's teledensity is one of the lowest in South Asia as well as in the world, according to statistics of the International Telecomm-unication Union (ITU). Only 0.63 of 100 people enjoyed the communication facility, the latest statistics presented at a seminar yesterday marking World Telecommunication Day 2003 showed. The 2002 data placed Bangladesh at slot number 21st from the bottom on the list of 196 ITU member states with 0.51 teledensity, way down from the Maldives with 10.27, Sri Lanka with 4.66 and India with 3.98. Then the figures for Bhutan were 2.84, Pakistan 2.48, Nepal 1.41 and Myanmar 0.61. Bangladesh remained only ahead of war-raged Afghanistan in the Asian region. Globally, the US topped the list with 65.89 and United Kingdom with 58.74, Japan with 58.58, Korea with 48.86, Malaysia with 19.79 and China with 16.69 were other world leaders. Currently Bangladesh has 9,20,000 fixed telephone lines of which 8,95,000 have been installed by the state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) and 25,000 by Sheba and the Bangladesh Rural Telecom Authority (BRTA). The number of cellular phones provided by four operators in foreign joint ventures stands at 12,64,000. BTTB has 7,70,000 lines in urban areas where Dhaka alone has 4,56,000 lines. The teledensity remained poor as the government allocated only a small fraction of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in telecommunications, Fazlur Rahman, former chairman of the BTTB and an official of the Association of Telecom Operators in Bangladesh (ATOB), told the seminar. The spending pales in comparison with that of other SAARC countries, he added. The government allocated around Tk 1,800 crore for the telecom sector in the 2002-03 fiscal while it had earned around Tk 1,580 crore from BTTB alone in the 2001-02 fiscal. The BTTB, which went completely digital in urban area last month, still has 37.5 per cent analogue telephones in rural areas. In Internet use, Bangladesh's position in South Asia was 2nd with 1.53 Internet user per 1,000 people against 0.21 by Myanmar, the lowest in the region. The Maldives again topped the list with 53.76, followed by India with 15.91, Bhutan with 14.46, Sri Lanka with 10.56, Pakistan with 3.45 and Nepal with 2.64.
From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 05/18/2003
Consultants from India have arrived in Thimphu to help Bhutan national bank (BNB) set up the automatic teller machine (ATM), a service, which the bank had planned to launch in March this year. Although BNB has already installed two automatic teller machines (ATM) in the branch offices in Thimphu and Phuentsholing, there was a need to develop the ATM interface (software), as "the messages sent by the software to the ATM couldn't be deciphered," according to BNB banking division head, LP Giri. The bank is also waiting for the ATM cards, which have been sent for printing to India, as it cannot be done here. The cards are expected to arrive by the end of June, just before the ATM is actually put to use. "If everything goes as planned the service will be launched in the first week of July," BNB deputy managing director (DMD), Karma said. BNB has about 11,000 clients bank wide and they want to ensure that the service is accessible to them all irrespective of their cash balance. Clients must have more than Nu 100 in the savings account to make a withdrawal. "It's a huge investment but we see it as a convenience for our customers," DMD Karma told Kuensel. To encourage the use of the ATM, BNB has decided to reduce the cost of the ATM card from Nu 1,500 to Nu 300 as an annual fee. The ATM will be closed for about three hours a day to allow closing the entire day's transactions. "The closing hours will be fixed at a particular time when the customers would least visit the bank to withdraw their money," said DMD Karma. The introduction of the teller machines will, however, not lead to the retrenchment of the human tellers. The maximum amount of money a customer can withdraw from the ATM is just Nu 20,000. To withdraw more than that a customer has to turn to the human tellers. "We will not have to recruit additional people and we are not going to reduce the counters," said DMD Karma. (By Samten Wangchuk)
From http://www.kuenselonline.com/ 06/03/2003
What does one do when the patient cannot go to the doctor? Simple... the doctor goes to the patient. Today, thanks to the wonders of technology, specialists, singly or in a group, can do virtual visit of a patient thousands of miles away, see him, talk to him, examine him (virtually) and prescribe the latest, the best and the most appropriate of treatment. This, in a nutshell, is telemedicine. Telemedicine can be defined as "the use of advanced telecommunication technologies to exchange health information and provide health-care services across geographic, time, social and cultural barriers". Telemedicine gives access to specialized health care, where little or none is available. In cases where quick medical response and specialist care are needed, as in emergency cases, this can mean the difference between life and death. "Telemedicine also has the potential to improve the delivery of health care, by bringing a wider range of (medical and paramedical) services, to underserved communities and individuals in both urban and rural areas." How this is brought about, other than the technology involved, is quite simple. Using computers and modern technology, the case history, clinical parameters, investigations (X-Rays, ECGs, blood reports, ultrasound scans, etc.) and other medically-relevant information of a patient in a remote village, inaccessible region or war-zone are securely and confidentially transmitted to specialists in a super-specialist medical centre. These specialists study the reports and transmit back a course of action or treatment regimen for the patient to follow. If necessary, the specialist can sit in front of a two-way communication TV screen and talk to the patient -- face to face. Thereafter, regular review of the patient can be carried out in a similar fashion. In a typical case, a peripheral telemedicine site would be manned by a village GP who would, in addition to his practice, be equipped with a computer, video conferencing equipment, an X-Ray scanner, ECG capture machine and a digital microscope. As and when the GP comes across an emergency or complicated case, he will capture all the relevant medical data and type in the case history into the computer. All this medical information will be converted to an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and be transferred through a telephone, ISDN, broadband to satellite link to the relevant specialist who will then advise on a relevant course of action. The advantages of Telemedicine are many. For instance, the ability for the most distant and the poorest of patients to access high-quality medicare; saving time and availability of specialists for immediate diagnosis; follow-up of patients in different regions by a single specialist, increasing his availability, multifold; reduction in cost of medicare to the patient. A study carried out by the Apollo Hospitals Group in 2001-2002 has shown that telemedicine consultations reduced by 85 per cent the need for patients to travel to a distant super-specialty centre. On the flipside, telemedicine has been considered to be expensive and too futuristic to be practical, specially in poor countries. But if we think for a moment, so was the mobile phone, just a few years back. Today, even the errand boy carries one! The simple truth is that the improvement in quality of medicare and its availability to the masses is not only morally and socially right, but also makes sound financial sense. Telemedicine is a powerful tool that leverages information technology and telecommunication to provide doctors the power to provide faster, better and more accurate diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, to the poorest of the poor in the most distant corners of the earth, relegating geographical barriers to books of history. (by Dr Prathap C Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group)
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 05/19/2003
Reforms in the telecommunications sector have started showing results as tele-density in the country has gone up to five per cent at the end of March 2003 compared to 3.64 per cent in March 2001. According to official figures, Delhi stood on top with 26.85 per cent tele-density followed by 11.60 per cent in Punjab and 11.13 per cent in Kerala. Despite this encouraging trend, rural India continues to be backward in the telecommunications sector as the telephone connections remain at 1.49 per cent compared to 15.16 per cent in the urban areas. States having less than five per cent tele-density are Uttaranchal (3.95), West Bengal (3.72), Rajasthan (3.40), Madhya Pradesh (2.88), North-East (2.70), Orissa (2.22) and Uttar Pradesh (2.13). Four states having less than two per cent tele-density are Assam with 1.94, Jharkhand 1.57, Chhatisgarh 1.39 and Bihar with lowest at 1.32. The new telecom policy (NTP '99) had laid special emphasis on providing telecommunication services to rural areas and providing reliable media to all exchanges. The targets set were to make available telephone on demand by 2002 and to achieve tele-density of seven per cent by 2005 and 15 by 2010, an official statement said.
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 05/23/2003
Driven by factors such as huge appeal for banking and retail applications and large-scale penetration of Internet and e-commerce, India's smart card market is set to touch $21.7 million by 2005, according to international consultant Frost and Sullivan. "The smart card market is projected to hit $21.7 million by 2005. Currently the Indian smart card market is used in applications in telecom, banking, transportation, healthcare and Government sectors. Other applications such as university and electronic access control systems are gaining acceptance," Frost and Sullivan industry analyst - IT Practice, Gaurav Dua said. Identifying key drivers for smart card market growth in India, Dua said these would include factors such as increasing use in mobile phones as SIM cards, attraction of players to the potential market size, lack of proper national identification scheme and huge appeal for banking and retail application. "Other factors like increasing pilot projects by State Government and penetration of Internet and e-commerce in large and medium sized cities would also fuel the growth," he said. Dua, however, cautioned that low purchasing power, low technology awareness and cultural shifts, delay in approval standards and poor infrastructure would pose major hurdles for smart card market in the country.
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 06/12/2003
The government has allowed travel agents to issue e-mail tickets to airline passengers. When a passenger produces the e-mail, which lists the PNR, credit card details and itinerary, at the airline counter, a boarding pass is issued against it. While travellers don't have to worry about losing their tickets or wait for the travel agent to deliver, airlines save on ticket costs. The system is a pilot project in Delhi, with BA and Lufthansa implementing it. By June, Singapore Airlines, Air France and Swiss may get on board. Among domestic airlines, Air Sahara has signed an MoU to implement it.
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 06/13/2003
Railtel Corporation of India, the communication arm of the Indian Railways, is planning to set-up cyber cafes at over 200 major railway stations across the country by the year-end, Railway Minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday. "The first cyber cafe will be inaugurated on Friday at New Delhi Railway Station. Based on the feedback of the users, we are intending to extend to over 200 important stations in the country in the first phase by the end of this year," Kumar told reporters at the commissioning of the "optic fibre communication link on Bangalore-Secunderabad, Secunderabad-Vijayawada-Chennai and Chennai-Ooty-Bangalore" here. He said the cyber cafes would be extended to all railway stations in the country, based on the initial success. Stating that Railtel had set a target of laying optic fibre cable for over 40,000 km in the country, Kumar said nearly 21,000 km of it had already been laid. The railways would also experiment by providing broadband Internet access on moving train, the first such instance in the world, he said. The service would be launched on a train this year. Kumar said Railtel had a total bandwidth of 622 Mbps (1890 channels) of which, the railways requirement would be 30 channels, and the rest would be commercially exploited. He said the Railtel infrastructure would also be used around five km from a railway station in villages and towns, besides using it for e-governance, tele-education and telemedicine applications.
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 06/26/2003
The Chinese success stories notwithstanding, the country is yet to catch up with India in international ranking on parameters like network and e-commerce readiness. While India ranks 37th (amongst the 82 countries surveyed) on the networked readiness index, which is a measure of the preparedness of nations for the networked world, China ranks 43. Both the countries, however, have risen up the rungs since the last survey. In 2001-02, while India ranked 54 on the index, China held the 64th rank under the survey, which had included 75 countries. The index has been put together by Center for International Development at Harvard University, and for the second time, forms a part of the Global Information Technology Report. The report, released by the World Economic Forum, assesses the capacity of 82 countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information technology, communications and technology (ICT) sector. Interestingly, India scores over China in both the market opportunity and regulatory subindices with 28th and 16th position respectively while the latter holds the 50th and 52nd position. However, at 70th position, India rates low on the infrastructure subindex as compared to China, which is at the 53rd position. The low communications and technology penetration in India (see box) has been attributed to high cost of access devices and government regulations. The country has taken so long to open the telecom sector and it has in a way inhibited the expansion of reach and enhancement of quality of telecom services by public sector enterprises.
From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 07/03/2003
The Website of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka will be launched on June 28. The launching ceremony will take place at 10.15 a.m. at the monthly Bar Council meeting. The Website will be launched by Attorney General K.C. Kamalasabayson, PC at the BASL Auditorium in Hulfsdorp, states a BASL press release. The Website contains information regarding the legal system of Sri Lanka, historical development of the judicial process, current changes in the law, the history and the functions of the BASL and other relevant legal information. All contact details are available on the site. The site will provide an easy access to practising lawyers, law students, researchers and member of the public to educate themselves about the latest changes in the law. According to the press release made by the Secretary of the BASL it is interested to load unreported judgment of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal on a periodical basis. The Secretary thanked the Executive Committee of the Bar Association, the Technology Committee, the Special Projects Committee of the BASL and Manilal Fernando, Attorney-at-Law. The Website is being maintained by Messrs Lanka Com (Pvt) Ltd. The Website of BASL could be accessed by logging into www.slbar.org
From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 06/24/2003
MALE (HNS) - Haveeru Daily has launched a special section on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) on the online edition of the newspaper. Latest local and international news and reports are available on the web site, which can be accessed at www.haveeru.com.mv/sars/. Haveeru Daily has received numerous feedbacks from the readers, especially Maldivians living overseas, requesting more information on SARS and especially how the Maldives is dealing with the issue. There are no reported cases in Maldives, although three Maldivians who recently returned from China had been quarantined.
From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 05/01/2003
KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has started Global Business Exchange (GBX) of World Chambers Network (WCN). GBX is a joint project of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris Chamber of Commerce (PCC) and the G-77 Chambers of Commerce of 134 developing countries, the FPCCI statement said here on Wednesday. It offers to its members a priceless opportunity to do business on-line via the World Chambers Network. Being a part of the WCN, the FPCCI is a gateway to success for many small and medium size companies.-APP
From http://www.dawn.com/ 06/05/2003
LAHORE: New income tax forms for individuals are already available on the Central Board of Revenue's website. This was stated by income tax regional commissioner Qudratullah during a visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) here on Wednesday. He said the IT return forms for other taxpayers would shortly be made available on the web. He, however, clarified that there was not much change in the forms. He did not agree with a suggestion that traders could not maintain documentation of their business and said there was not a single business which did not have rudimentary documentation. About change in the attitude of the tax officials, he said it very much depended on the prevailing social values. He said the department was computerizing data of taxpayers. The commissioner presented a shield to LCCI president Yawar Irfan Khan as a momento for acknowledging the cooperation extended by the business community in achieving the revenue target of the last fiscal year. "It is for the first time that tax collectors have given a shield to taxpayers," the commissioner said. He hailed the attitude of the business community for paying taxes. "The department on its part also tried that all matters relating to payment of taxes should be settled amicably without causing any dispute."
From http://www.dawn.com/ 07/17/2003
Cyber-crime represented a serious threat to Australian business and more needed to be done to understand it, a conference was told yesterday. Queensland Innovation Minister Paul Lucas told the AusCERT Asia-Pacific IT Security Conference on the Gold Coast today cyber-crime was estimated to be costing $1.5 trillion a year. Mr Lucas said while exact figures of the level of crime were not available, Australia's Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) was notified of almost 27,000 separate incidents in the first quarter of 2002. He also cited an Ernst and Young survey which found 64 per cent of Australian firms experienced an e-security attack in the six months to November 2002. "There's still a level of nervousness in business and the general community about the security of doing business over the internet, with two out of five users saying they do not want to provide credit card details over the net," Mr Lucas said. "With this in mind, it's no wonder that e-security is one of the hot IT growth industries." Mr Lucas said the e-security industry was growing at 60 per cent every year and this was set to increase with the rise in cyber-terrorism. "Cyber-terrorism is a real threat, as it has huge potential to wreak havoc in databases and computer networks around the world with politically-motivated cyber-terrorism compounding the problem of computer hackers," Mr Lucas said. Queensland experienced a cyber-terror event in 2001 when a man was found guilty of using his car as a mobile pirate command centre to sabotage the computer controlling a Sunshine Coast sewage treatment plant. "The man triggered the release of about 800,000 litres of untreated sewage into Maroochydore's creeks, killing fish and creating an offensive odour," Mr Lucas said. Queensland had now become home to the largest e-security research community in the southern hemisphere, with 190 firms based in the state, he said.
From http://www.theage.com.au/ 05/12/2003
German biometrics company Viisage-ZN - which claims 80 per cent of the world's face-recognition technology market - will set up its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Australia. The $70 million company, which is the biometric supplier to the $2 billion Australian smartcard subsidiary G&D Australasia, will locate its headquarters in Melbourne or Brisbane within the next few months. G&D employs 150 in Australia and has contracts with the federal Health Insurance Commission, ANZ, Vodafone and Telstra. The managing director of Viisage-ZN, Marcel Yon, said the company had chosen Australia ahead of Singapore because Australia was among the leaders in developing biometrics. "This country is a tremendous innovator," Mr Yon said. "This part of the world is an early mover and shaker in this." Viisage-ZN is negotiating four major projects with Federal and State Governments in Australia and has a pilot program with a government authority. The company has also run tests for Australian Customs, which announced a tender in April for work on the national roll-out of its biometric SmartGate passenger system, which has been tested at Sydney airport since November. Viisage-ZN's face-recognition technology - which draws on a database of 13 million faces - can search 500,000 faces in a second. In the United States, the company supplies smartcard drivers' licences to seven states and has hundreds of installations in Germany, Canada, Russia and Africa. At the Hanover Zoo, the company's facial-recognition system provides identification to 60,000 subscribers and screens 10,000 people a day. Despite broad criticism of the technology's general accuracy, Viisage claims close to a 100 per cent accuracy rate. (by Sue Cant)
From http://www.theage.com.au/ 05/12/2003
An office without security IDs, swipe cards, passwords and network log-ins is at your fingertips. French company Sagem is testing a fingerprint access system at a number of Australian sites. MorphoAccess is currently used only for door entry, but Sagem Australasia said fingerprints would soon replace conventional methods of identification including computer log-ins. "Today we have the technologies," Sagem Australasia managing director Nicolas Wolff said. "The system will automatically analyse the finger ... compare it against the information in the system and open web based applications, your network or any other professional access you need. "Maybe early 2004 we'll be able to start implementing these virtual access controls." The technology could also be used to further secure credit card banking, virtual shopping and mobile phones, Mr Wolff said. The scanner, which looks like an EFTPOS machine, marks about 60 points of the fingertip and compares it to those previously stored on a database. Depending on the level of access granted to the particular fingerprint a worker can gain access to a certain room, floor or even several buildings. The fingerprint access system has been trialled by a range of Australian business, government and education operations including the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). DFAT has now joined both Interpol and the FBI in deciding to keep the system. Accounting giant Ernst and Young's national director of e-commerce, Mark Runnalls tested the system for seven weeks. Mr Runnalls said a small number of employees were initially hesitant about having their fingerprints registered on a database. "It's a lesson with any sort of technology implementation, you have to explain to people what you are using it for and how you intend to protect their information," he said. However the time saved, ease of access, increased security and future benefits of the system were all very positive, he said. Mr Wolff said 2003 marked 100 years of fingerprinting in Australia.
From http://www.theage.com.au/ 05/15/2003
Sydney-based web developer Paul Knapp has unveiled a web-based storage system, with some differences, a system which he has chosen to call Membox. Membox offers a personal information repository, managed through an internet-connected web interface. Each individual record in a Membox is known as a Mem. There is a search and categorisation functionality to manage them. Each Membox user is issued with a "Mem Address", similar to an email address and they can send Mems to each other. These arrive in their Memboxes ready-formatted. Knapp said his concept differed from ordinary online storage because "you can define field (templates), conduct searches, and categorise by templates. You can also mail them to each other which is a big advantage. I don't think there's a storage product that currently offers all this fuctionality without any programming." He acknowledged that the system was, for the moment, based on a proprietary format but said that later versions would allow XML exports. Asked whether people would not have a problem storing personal data in a location which could well disappear one fine morning, he said: "People still trust Yahoo!, Hotmail, Amazon, their local bank and countless other third-parties to store their information. Why select one example from hundreds? I have an idea for a future release which people can store locally if necessary." Membox offers 2mb storage free. Bigger Memboxes cost from $US25 upwards. A standalone version of Membox which users can install on their own server is planned for later this year. Membox is built on Lotus Domino 6 and can run on both Unix and Windows.
From http://www.theage.com.au/ 06/03/2003
To combat credit card fraud, the country's retailers are being forced to upgrade eftpos terminals to a new international standard. If they don't, they could be liable for the cost of any fraud - as could banks. The move has the country's only eftpos manufacturer, listed technology firm Cadmus Technology, rubbing its hands with glee. But some say it's going to take years for New Zealand to become fully compliant and it's going to hit the country's large retailers in the pocket. Driven by security concerns as fraudsters became more techno-savvy, international credit card agencies Europay, Mastercard and Visa started work on the so-called EMV standard several years ago. It relates to new, so-called smart cards with embedded microchips. Chip cards can store more information than magnetic strip cards and can't be copied so easily by crooks. While major card companies haven't set a date for banks to phase out magnetic cards, after January 2006 retailers and banks will be liable for the cost of fraudulent transactions when non-chip card compliant terminals are used to process cards with a magnetic strip and a microchip. Visa's Asia-Pacific board had set a 2003 target for all new eftpos machines in the region but given Australasian banks' reluctance to introduce smart card technology, New Zealand is already behind, said one banking source. Australia mandated that from February all eftpos machines sold or rented must be capable of reading chip cards. ETSL (Electronic Transaction Services Limited), New Zealand's largest eftpos network owned by four banks, has set August this year as the start of its roll out. ANZ, the only Australasian bank to launch a chip card and New Zealand's other network owner, has been supplying EMV compliant eftpos terminals since the end of 2001 through its subsidiary Eftpos NZ. But uptake has been slow - less than 9000 machines in its database of 30,000, accounting for less than 40% of the country's total rental market. Cadmus Technology gained EMV compliant certification for its new machines two months ago. Though it has only just started to replace machines in New Zealand it expects a surge in sales - potentially boosting its languishing share price. "There's something like 35 million terminals worldwide, most non-compliant and the market's growing at about 15% to 20% a year," said managing director Ian Bailey. "The new standard has to be good for compliant manufacturers and we're one of the first." Cadmus supplies about 30% of the New Zealand market, while sales abroad have grown to about 15,000 terminals a year. The only other eftpos terminal supplier, listed firm Provenco will issue EMV compliant machines from June. For those who rent eftpos terminals the upgrades mean little more than a few dollars a week on their rental bill, averaging about $12 to $15 a week. But for those who own their machines, such as supermarket chain Progressive Enterprises and retailers Briscoes and Farmers, the upgrade will cost thousands as each terminal retails for about $1000. (by Lesley Springall)
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 05/18/2003
People looking for a Fieldays fix without getting their gumboots muddy will soon be able to log on to a virtual version of the annual event at Mystery Creek, near Hamilton. Fieldays and Telecom have announced a $1 million sponsorship deal to fund and jointly develop a Virtual Fieldays website. The site will be launched during the real event at Mystery Creek, from June 11 to 14. The launch will be the first step in developing an online agricultural marketplace to allow suppliers to showcase products and buy and sell all year round. The theme for Fieldays 2003 will be e-farming. "E-farming is going to be a critical source of competitive advantage for New Zealand farmers over the next 10 years," said Fieldays chief executive Barry Quayle. It was vital for Telecom to be involved, he said. Telecom will run a version of the high-tech "Shed" it built for the America's Cup at the Fieldays. The site will target farmers with the latest communications wizardry. Telecom joins ANZ Rural as one of the event's two major sponsors. (by Liam Dann)
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/19/2003
Supermarket group Progressive Enterprises has reported a surge of interest in its Internet grocery service following the launch of its combined Woolworths and Foodtown loyalty scheme, One Card. General manager of online services Richard Harrison says the number of people registering to purchase groceries online has jumped three-fold since the launch of the loyalty scheme last month. Progressive has also experienced its best-ever sales week for online purchases, outside the traditionally busy Christmas holiday period. Mr Harrison attributes the new custom to people accessing the company's website to apply online for a One Card, and then clicking through to the Internet shopping option. Progressive operates an online store which offers nationwide delivery under both its Woolworths and Foodtown brands. The growth in custom comes despite a decision by Progressive not to offer One Card discounts for groceries bought online. The non-availability of the discounts effectively adds up to 5 per cent to the price of a typical online shopping trip - coming on top of fixed delivery charges, starting at $9.50 in Wellington. However, online customers are still eligible for One Card reward points, as in Woolworths and Foodtown physical stores. Mr Harrison says the decision not to offer One Card discounts online is an "economic one", reflecting the convenience of the channel and the fact the company's delivery charges do not cover the cost of packing and delivery, which has to be subsidised from "notoriously low margins" prevalent in the supermarket sector. The company is unlikely to revise that stand, given there appears to have been no adverse effect on online sales. Progressive will focus instead on reducing delivery charges, he says. Mr Harrison says the company offers some "specials" which are available online and in-store and occasionally also offers specific specials only to online customers. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 06/02/2003
The Government is launching a one-stop website portal so businesses can access important regulatory information. The website, www.biz.org.nz, cost $309,000 to develop and will be launched next Tuesday in Auckland. Small Business Minister John Tamihere said yesterday the development of the portal was a key recommendation of the ministerial panel on business compliance costs, which reported in July 2001. Of the 162 panel recommendations the Government agreed to 131 in whole or in part. Tamihere said more than 80 per cent of the proposals had either been, or were being, implemented. The website being launched next week would give businesses "one-stop" access to services across the Government, including Inland Revenue, the Department of Labour, ACC and the Companies Office. The site includes guides to regulation, downloadable forms, and advice on establishing a business. Other initiatives included: * Changes relating to the Resource Management Act including limited notification provisions designed to curb vexatious objections. * More funding for the Environment Court, which has resulted in "significant" reductions in case backlogs - down from 3000 a year ago to less than 2000 now. * Work on tax simplification for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and a discussion document that will be released later this year addressing issues the panel raised. * Appointing an advisory group drawn from the business community to advise the Government on issues affecting small businesses, including compliance costs. * Organizing an "SME summit" next February, as well as regional summits, to help define the needs of businesses and the Government's role. Business NZ chief executive Simon Carlaw said the list of achievements released by Tamihere was "commendable, but short". "It should also be remembered this is the edited version of compliance costs - 15 per cent of the panel's recommendations were ruled out of contention in 2001 because they conflicted with Government policy." He said businesses asked the panel for substantial changes to tax, RMA, ACC and employment relations policies, but many requests were culled. "It's in these areas that the disincentives to employ are found. "Spending money to set up websites and advisory groups is okay, but it doesn't address many fundamental disincentives that deter small businesses from growing bigger." (by Kevin Taylor)
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 07/02/2003
An electronic-identity expert has panned a Government plan to create a single identity database for access to Government services online. Daryl Webb, director of specialist online authentication firm Digital Identity, said the technology was available but would mean privacy trade-offs and an enormous logistical cost in ensuring the accuracy of the data initially and over time. He said at the outset people would need their identity confirmed in person, similar to the way passports and driver's licences are issued, and for the new driver's licences that process took 12 months. "How is the Government going to do this without it costing a ridiculous amount of money?" Outgoing E-government Unit head Brendon Boyle said there would need to be some sort of enrolment process, but that depended on the design work due for completion early next year, and the number of potential users was not known. Webb said a major issue was that people had a tendency to create false identities. "I may be happy to tell the electoral commission where I live, but I may not have wanted other Government departments to know." Webb said those who used the system would have to remember passwords, so a call centre would be needed to help people get and change passwords. Boyle said there would obviously have to be a process to manage and update passwords, but that had yet to be determined. The authentication system is part of providing Government services online and ultimately "transforming" Government by being able to draw services more easily from each department to meet the needs of an individual. But Webb said Government staff would end up needing to be more relationship than transaction focused, and therefore more expensive to hire. "The money saved by being electronic will be eaten up in part, or in whole, or even more, because of the increase in servicing on a relationship basis." Boyle said each department would have to weigh such considerations as part of their particular business case for electronic services. Webb said the real gain to be made came from the re-engineering of social services, and departments needed to be careful about getting carried away with technology. "I would say it is the revisiting of how things are done that is the true enabler." But despite the risk, society would end up taking a Government-led "suck it and see" approach, he said. "With a system like this there will be some early adopters who see some real benefits. "We'll see a chunk of people who are laggards because of significant privacy concerns and will hang out a lot longer, but [they] will join eventually as long as this is reasonably effectively implemented." (by Richard Wood)
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 07/15/2003
June 18, 2003, Room 401, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center. The Enterprise Portal & Web Services Conference brings together key industry participants around the issues of enterprise portal and corporate web deployment and optimization. The conference also examines the role of web services in enterprise integration framework and focuses on the key role corporate portals can play as the nexus of content management and distribution, application and web services integration, and communication between corporation and their employees, customers and business partners. For more information, please visit http://www.enterpriseportal.com.hk or contact Ms. Janice Wong at 2233 9360 or email to email@example.com.
From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 05/01/2003
e-Government Summit Hong Kong 2003 is the first of its kind event being
held in Hong Kong. It aims to serve as a medium to publicize government's
IT initiatives and demonstrate the progress of its achievements. The framework
and approach creates a platform for e-Government practitioners and IT
professionals in Asia Pacific to exchange valuable experience and update
latest e-Government technology.
From http://www.egov-summit.com.hk/ 06/06/2003
On May 12, the Mayors of the cities designated by government ordinance met in Saitama City. At the meeting, we issued a joint appeal for the implementation of the three-pronged reform for decentralization based on the transfer of tax revenue sources from the central to the local governments. The proposed reform, which called for the revision of national subsidies and the local allocation tax system in combination with a greater share in tax revenues for local governments, met with some opposition, including resistance from the Ministry of Finance in regard to the transfer of tax sources. The joint appeal was an expression of the desire of all designated cities to see the all three elements of the reform implemented. Today, I would like to share with you my personal concerns about the flow of funds and information in Japan. The joint appeal appeared in the newspapers only as small articles. The conference of designated cities assembled major regional economic centers, in other words, all larger cities in Japan except Tokyo. Such a meeting should have made news, but it did not because Tokyo is the center of the country's information network. Even national government councils seldom discuss issues affecting the designated cities. After all, they are only thirteen cities, apparently too few to draw nationwide attention. Large cities, however, are important contributors of national and local taxes. Taxes paid by salaried workers, who concentrate in those cities and have a relatively high income, constitute the backbone of our tax system. National taxes collected locally are funneled to Tokyo to be redistributed to different parts of the country through budget allocation. This system supported Japan's dramatic economic growth in the past. It is true that funds used for public works projects benefit local economies to some extent, but the majority of the funds stay in Tokyo with the headquarters of major corporations. The taxes collected in large cities are gathered in Tokyo and redistributed throughout the country, only to return to the capital. As a result, we see all large metropolitan areas, with the exception of Tokyo, being depleted of economic and financial resources, leading to an overall stagnation in the Japanese economy. Leaders of the designated cities think that greater amounts of direct investment must be channeled to the large cities to create a flow of funds. Unfortunately, hindered by the conventional information distribution system, the outcome of our discussions did not have much exposure nationally. These issues are sometimes discussed at government councils. Most of the council members, however, assume that Tokyo represents the entire country, and few can truly speak for the situation of large cities. During the bubble economy, I served as a member of the government's panel on price stabilization policy. Being the only member from Osaka, I tried to explain how funds from Tokyo were leading to higher land prices in Osaka, but the focus of discussions would always drift away when other members pointed out that price increases were more marked in Tokyo. My concern, the aftermath of speculative investment, did not seem to impress Tokyo-based people as a major threat. There was a serious perception gap. The same perception gap exists in regard to the tax issue. Tax revenues are taken away from the large cities, creating a strained, irregular economy. The problem is that this situation is not correctly understood because it is not properly communicated nationwide. I am afraid this is a great weakness for the country. People in the media should convey the opinion of Osaka and the Kansai region to the rest of the country, so that our views may be reflected and incorporated into national government policy. Take the example of the unemployment rates. The Kansai area and particularly Osaka are said to have the highest unemployment rates. When we consider the reasons, it is not just the recession. There are more small and medium-sized industries here than in any other region. This causes the regional economy to react quickly to changes in business. Although it is the most affected by the economic slump, it is also the first to show signs of recovery. This is an important characteristic of our local economy. With some careful thinking, the high unemployment rate could be examined in a different light, without always reaching the conclusion that the delay in industrial restructuring is to blame. It is essential that we block entry of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) into Japan and that we are thoroughly prepared, including quarantine procedures, in case of eventual introduction. The Osaka City General Hospital offers high-level medical services and a quarantine ward, and is preparing to acquire special ambulances equipped to prevent contamination. We are doing our best in preparations for prompt measures in case a patient is discovered in Osaka.
From http://www.city.osaka.jp/ 05/14/2003
Established in 1951, the Japan-America Conference of Mayors and Chamber of Commerce Presidents played an essential role in deepening the mutual understanding and friendly relations between the United States and Japan through 50 years of dynamic activity. By creating a forum where mayors and chamber presidents from major cities in Japan and the U.S. were afforded the chance to gather together for face-to-face dialogue and discussion, this conference created a framework for city-level information exchange. However, in March of 2002, the Japan-American Conference of Mayors and Chamber of Commerce Presidents officially ended. Nevertheless, because of continued globalization, the effects of international affairs and global economic trends on our citizens' lives have increased. At the same time, the problems faced by our cities have grown increasingly more diverse and complicated. What is more, we are dealing now with problems which we have never dealt before, such as global environmental concerns. Such problems reveal our increasing need to expand and strengthen a Japan-U.S. city network with a new vantage point on international and intercity cooperation. In light of this understanding, the Japan-U.S. Cities Summit was born as a more results-based framework for Japan-U.S. intercity relations. The Summit aims to find practical solutions to the various problems facing our cities, help formulate measures to promote city development and the revitalization of various regional activities as well as contribute to the overall development of the international community. The first Japan-U.S. Cities Summit will be held in November of 2004 in Hiroshima, a city which relentlessly makes her appeal for the realization of a lasting world peace. In the midst of the chaotic international situation and global economic slowdown that have occurred since the September 11th terrorist attacks, it is our privilege to host the mayors of major cities from the two nations that make up one of the world's most important international relationships. It is our hope that by gathering together to discuss problems facing our cities and sound out paths to possible solutions, we will discover ways for cities to achieve sustainable development and become the driving forces behind our nations. Additionally, through the participation of city business leaders in the business meetings portion of the Summit focused on business matching and expanding intercity investments, we will attempt to expand the economic infrastructure of the participating cities as well as promote intercity economic exchange. I look forward to meeting all of you in Hiroshima in November, 2004. (by Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba)
From http://www.juscs.org/ 07/14/2003
The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea is hosting a "Human Resources Seminar" May 23 at Grand Hyatt Seoul(Hotel). Open to all human resources professionals, the seminar will feature Minister of Labor Kwon Ki-Hong as a special guest presenter speaking on "Labor Policies 2003." Additionally, a number of CEOs of leading companies in Korea will offer advice on HR practices. Among key speakers are Kim Ki-ryung of Mercer Consulting, David Richardson of TNS, Larry Cambron of DBM Asia Pacific, Sam Butler of DBM and the executive vice president of Kookmin Bank. The topics to be focused on include "Employment Flexibility: Challenges in Transition," "Effective Collective Bargaining Negotiations/Practical Advice," "Building a High Performance Culture and Business Performance Management" and "Employment Flexibility: Challenges in Transition." The cost of seminar is 250,000 won per person. Fax reservations to 02-564-2050. (by Yoo Soh-jung)
From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 05/20/2003
Korea recorded some 560 patent applications for e-commerce payment systems over the past three years, KIPO, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, reported on Thursday (June 19). The figure represents a large increase from the 1990s when the application level hovered just above 40 cases. The agency attributed the increase to the expansion of e-commerce activities that Korea saw in recent years. In 2002, the nation posted a total of 170 trillion won ($140 billion) worth of e-commerce businesses, up from 118 trillion won of 2001. The patent trends of recent years have been for improving information protection technologies and enhancing commercial reliability, two crucial factors for safe e-commerce transactions, the KIPO said.
From Korean Intellectual Property Office 06/20/2003
IT Advancement Unit and Computer Services Department together with K.K.I.P. Communications Sdn. Bhd will be organizing a workshop on "IT Beyond Tomorrow" with the objective to keep the key management and IT personnel in Sabah State Government abreast of the latest global and national IT direction. The workshop will be held on the 31 July 2003 at Magellan Wing, Sutera Harbour Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu.
From http://www.sabah.gov.my/ 07/23/2003
CEBU will soon host Communications & Automation Cebu 2003-6th International Telecommunications, Broadcast, Electronics, Visual Communications and Office Automation Equipment and Services Exhibition. This will no doubt be the most comprehensive information communications technology event ever held in Cebu. A total of 130 exhibitors from all over the world are expected to participate in this event," said Jing Lagandaon, deputy managing director of Global-Link Marketing & Management Services Inc., organizer of the event. This year's expo, which will include pavilions on computer and information technology, safety and security, is co-organized by the Cebu Computer Society, headed by past president Jimmy Flores and president Jigger Escario. There are already confirmed exhibitors for the June 26-28 affair, which will be held at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel ballroom. Among them are Smartronix (which sells uninterrupted power supply and computer accessories), Micro Acoustics-Pioneer (audio/video equipment), Big Pix Graphics (digital printing machines), Multistiq Inc. (architectural signage and environmental graphics), Chase Pacific (point-of-sale systems), and All Visuals & Lights Systems (AVLS). AVLS is a leading supplier of multimedia projectors, plasma monitors, document cameras, visual presenters, slide and overhead projectors, digital cameras and system integrators. Among the brands it carries are Optoma, NEC, Epson, Canon, Fujitsu, Delta and Lumens. Last year, the show attracted over 4,200 trade buyers, resulting in sales of P12 million. Inquiries may be directed to Studio 7 Designs.
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 05/22/2003
TWENTY-FOUR companies have confirmed joining the Information Communication Technology (ICT) show at Ayala Center Cebu on June 13-15, as part of the celebration of Cebu Business Month. The ICT show and exhibit and the 3rd Cebu Web Awards will showcase participating companies who are into the information technology business. They exhibitors businesses into computer hardware, software development and internet service providers. In a press conference held at the Aboitiz Hall of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, the chairman for web awards, engineer Malee Bigornia, said that the Information Communication Technology show this year is centered on multimedia development. Talents He also said that the ICT show and the 3rd Web Awards will greatly help the development of young kids, who are now taught to use the web in their schools. "The ICT show will greatly encourage and motivate young kids and practitioners to showcase their talents in web designing and development of computer graphics," Bigornia said. "This ICT show and exhibit is also an added feature for the ongoing business month. The active media can also join. For the first time, this exhibit is not only for Cebu but is now open for neighboring provinces as well," he added. The Chairman for the Information and Communication Show 2003, Ms. Melanie Ng, further said that since Cebu can produce talents who have the capability in information technology, more companies who are into the IT business will invest in Cebu. This, she said, will generate more jobs for Cebuanos. IT vendors, she said, are also focusing more attention on Cebu to support its industry. Growth Organizers said the event is an opportunity to explore new business undertakings or expand existing network and linkages. It is also one of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (CCCI) contribution in promoting information technology to enhance growth and competitiveness of business and to bring out Cebu's creativity and innovation in web design, animation, and multi-media. Aboitiz Transport Group, Interdotner, ICTUS Communication, Rhine Marketing, Lexmark, Globe, Cebu City Government, Cebu Holdings Inc., A5TRX, Technical Education Skills Development Authority-VII, Enabling Solutions, Department of Science and Technology, R2 Convergence, Performance Advantage System International, Nu Tech/Primary Software, NG KHAI Development, Wired System, HPS Software, CBX Corporation, CANON, MDR, Esprint Software Inc., Thinking Tools, and Silicon Valley are joining the exhibit which will be opened this Friday at 4 in the afternoon. (by Lalaine Go, STC masscom intern)
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 06/10/2003
THE information technology (IT) arm of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) will soon establish IT infrastructure in Cebu that will boost the area's IT capacity. E-PLDT business solutions will install hotspot infrastructure in business establishments and public places in Cebu by the third quarter of the year, said e-PLDT business solutions-global business management head Jose Rode Narbota. A hotspot is an area that provides its clients with high-speed Internet access over a wireless local area network via wireless fidelity (Wifi)-a facility to connect a computer to the Internet without using telephone lines. The clients, however, must bring their own wireless device such as the 802.11-enabled laptop or personal digital assistant in hotspots such as offices, coffee shops, hotel lobbies or airports. Permit As regards reports that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is questioning the legality of PLDT's and Globe's offering of wireless Internet access, NTC 7 chief operating officer Jesus Laureno said: "We are not yet questioning their (PLDT and Globe) operation in Cebu because it is still within the one-month period allowed by NTC 7 in their test permits." He said PLDT and Globe applied for test permits to test the capability of the infrastructure for the service in Cebu last July 9. Both firms have until Aug. 9 to renew or upgrade their permits so they can offer the service commercially. Globe public relations head Jones Campos also said offering the wireless Internet access service was questionable only in Manila because of the 2.4-gigahertz frequency band used by Wifi, which is already being used by the Manila Electric Co. Last month, PLDT rival Globe Telecom, through its IT arm GlobeQuest, introduced hotspots in Cebu in partnership with business establishments like Ayala Center Cebu, City Sports Club Cebu and Cebu City Marriott Hotel. Business welcomed the development in Cebu. Cebu Holdings Inc. president Rene Almedras said hotspots would enhance Cebu's capacity to attract tourists and investors. But Internet cafes are not pleased. "This will eat up a portion of our market. We (Internet cafes) are already so many in Cebu. The market is already saturated, plus the hotspots ... patay na mi ini," according to an Internet caf¨¦ owner. (This will kill our business). E-PLDT's Narbota said his company had made the service available in Metro Manila and Boracay. It is now identifying establishments in Cebu to be its partners in installing hotspots. (by Jessica B. Natad)
From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 07/15/2003
The Thailand Research Fund (TRF) plans to finance the development of a series of computer and Internet-based games to educate young people about the environment and technology. The first game, "City I Love to Live In", is intended to teach the young about the problems of air pollution and encourage them to participate in campaigns to make their city more liveable. The popularity of the game is not expected to rival that of Ragnarok, the Internet-based fantasy game that has hooked tens of thousands of teenagers. But it would be an alternative that promotes creativity and environmental consciousness, officials at the government agency said. "Let's Surf the Web," would follow, said the TRF's associate professor Suchada Chinajit, to encourage children to surf healthy websites that teach them how to think critically and to be able to protect themselves in cyberspace. The two recreational activities were part of a TRF strategy to promote the development of games that offer fun and knowledge, Suchada said. Dr Suwannee Asawakunchai of King Mongkut Institute of Technology, Thon Buri, who is working on the air-quality management game, said it involved basic knowledge, designs for a liveable city and drills on how pollution affects city living and every resident in a community. Players of "City I Love to Live In" will have to learn about sources of pollution, pollution levels, and the impact on people and the environment. They can choose materials to be used for building houses and other residential units, offices, factories, roads, vehicles, and other structures like school buildings, temples and ponds. Players will do the town planning themselves to determine the number of houses, roads, vehicles and trees that are suitable for a city area. Graphs will show the players the levels of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and dust particles caused by different types of city development. Players can also choose the population size , amount of traffic and pollution level they are willing to allow. The game is a way of passing on the findings of three research projects. The first of these is Dr Naret Chuasuwan's study on sources of pollution in Bangkok, including exhaust fumes from vehicles, factory emissions and fumes from garbage incineration. The second is assistant professor Dr Nanthawan Wijitwatakan's study of fatality and morbidity rates as they affect the economy of Bangkok. And the third is Dr Sammon Chomchai's study on the relationship between sizes of particles and the heart rates of the aged, as well as their general effect on their health. The TRF was considering the possibility of integrating "City I Love to Live In" into the schoolnet or on other websites, Suchada said.
From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 07/07/2003
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will next month preside over his first telecom fair since taking office. His decision to attend ICT Expo 2003, to be held at Central Plaza Lat Phrao from August 2-4, was confirmed yesterday by Information and Communica-tions Technology (ICT) Minister Surapong Suebwonglee. Thaksin, the founder of Shin Corp, which owns a large slice of Thailand's biggest mobile-network operator Advanced Info Service (AIS), has shunned telecom fairs since becoming PM to avoid criticism. The highlights of the fair will be the sale of special-priced handsets and the relaunch of low-cost laptop PCs under the ICT's computer project. The ICT received more than 170,000 orders for low-cost laptop and desktop computers when it previously ran the programme in May and last month. The ministry has decided to sell only laptop PCs for the relaunch due to poor desktop sales the first time around, the result of disappointing specifications. The new batch of the laptops is expected to have better performance. Surapong said local telecom firms and foreign suppliers, including AIS, Total Access Communications, TA Orange, TT&T, Motorola, and Siemens, would parade their latest technology at the fair "so people do not have to go abroad to see the novel technology''. E-government projects will also be showcased, he said.
From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 2003/07/08
TOT Corp has inaugurated a nationwide Internet training programme for 2,000 Tambon Administration Organisations (TAOs) and students. The computer training will cover some 6,000 tambons, with two people selected per tambon, according to TOT deputy managing director Kitti Phiantham. The project will run over two and a half months and cost around 29 million baht, he said, adding that TOT has outsourced Interactive Communication to run the courses. The project will train some 2,000 people during the first stage and has already started in Chiang Mai. ICT Minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee noted that it was the government's policy to support the use of computers and the Internet to minimise the knowledge gap between urban and rural citizens. To boost Internet usage here, the minister recently ordered the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) to introduce a one-baht per hour Internet service for access to domestic web sites. (by Sasiwimon Boonruang)
From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 07/16/2003
The Viet Nam Information Technology Forum and Viet Nam Computerworld Expo was an opportunity for domestic enterprises to improve themselves, Deputy Post and Telematics Minister Mai Liem Truc said on Wednesday. It gave those enterprises looking for new technology the chance to improve their product quality and competitive edge in the face of the country's fast economic integration, he said. The forum expo, or VITF&VCW 2003, is the country's biggest IT event and is in its eighth year. The deputy minister was speaking at the opening also attended by International Data Group (IDG) president Patrick McGovern and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Vu Tien Loc. McGovern said that leading IT companies and experts would find the event an ideal place to exchange experiences and advanced technology as well as outline their own competition strategy. Some 160 IT companies with almost half of them represented by domestic enterprises showcased their latest achievements in 260 display booths in the event. Wireless Internet access hotspots technology will be introduced at this year's event for first time. Mai Phuong, a 3rd grade student of the HCM City's Natural Science University said: "I am attracted to the exhibition by free Internet access, massive IT information and new products and the chance to meet with other high-tech addicts. "Earlier, the Ha Noi-headquartered Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technology, FPT, kept its place as Viet Nam's top IT company when it won seven of the 10 categories at the HCM City Computer Association, HCA, awards at a ceremony in HCM City on Tuesday night. These included the highly-prized gold medal for the highest-turnover software unit and a gold medal for software export. Its other wins were: top hardware distributor, top software servicer, top software exporter, a first-place finish in the ranking of the Top Five IT companies and top software company, Last year, the company ranked first with six HCA prizes. Samsung Vina and CMS three prizes each. Both won a gold medal for highest-turnover hardware unit and a place in the Top 5 IT companies. CMS gained first place in the top five Vietnamese trademark computer manufacturers, with turnover of VND78 billion (US$5 million).Samsung Vina was named Viet Nam's Top IT Company for hardware manufacture ($12.5 million).Other well-known IT companies such as the Viet Nam Datacommunications Company (VDC), Robo, T&H, Mekong Green and Aptech also took home two prizes each.
From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 07/10/2003
Although nearly 4,000 ICT (Information Communication Technology) graduates are coming out every year from different IT institutions and universities, the country is still lacking quality professionals due to impragmatic planning and policy making for this thrust sector. The fresh IT graduates need to take 3-6 months training before completely adapt themselves to the IT industry. Around 800 students come out from 10 public universities, 2000 from 48 private universities and 1000 from 52 colleges under national university every year, Prof. Dr. M. A. Mottalib, Head of Computer Science & Information Technology (CIT) Department of Islamic University of Technology (IUT) said. Actual applications of computers in government offices, schools, colleges or autonomous or semiautonomous bodies have not been assessed, he said adding that most of the academy projects failed to produce effectual results. Even some IT educational institutes and universities are allegedly presenting their teachers with 'false degree' and bloated credentials for collecting students. There is no effective role of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to control the quality of education and professional excellence, said Dr Mottalib. He recommended that the availability of the low cost and high speed Internet facility through the submarine cable line in the country and introducing mobile lab for fundamental courses particularly for schools and colleges at remote areas could enhance the standard of our education system. He also said that students, completing full IT syllabus, should be encouraged for engaging themselves in research activities from sophomore level and to participate in conferences. The curriculum should be modified regularly to keep abreast with he latest developments, he added. Karar Mahmudul Hassan, Secretary for the Science and ICT Ministry told The Independent that the IT graduates are theoretically qualified and a six-month internship in reputed companies would be arranged by the ministry for a total of 500 IT graduates every year with a view to improving their on-the-job ability. It would start from July 5, he added. He said yesterday at a seminar on "Road Map for ICT Development in Bangladesh" that the ICT related acts have already been prepared. We would turn the mechanism of rural based economy into IT based economy in the near future, he added. However, Prof Dr. M. Kaykobad, Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) said according to a statistics, that per capita investment in education in Korea is $170, in Malaysia $150, in India $14, in Pakistan $10 and in Bangladesh it is only $5. Just after independence 22-23% of development budget was used for education. But now it has come down to 16%. For the last 15 years Government have invested neither in infrastructure development nor in faculty development. Later, Dr Kaykobad told The Independent that Situation is aggravated with larger student intakes in the universities and institutions. The number of universities offering ICT education growing but their labs are not adequately equipped to meet the demand. Universities should be given adequate fund to improve and expand the facilities. Also the number of teachers in all universities should be increased to ensure quality of IT education throughout the country, he suggested. Postgraduate programs should be strengthened by allocating more resources, better scholarship to students so that they complete the course, he said. Software development works should be initiated to open up opportunities for utilisation of expertise of these graduates. It is much more important to create jobs inside the country for our professionals than look for export jobs, Prof Kaykobad added.
From http://independent-bangladesh.com/ 06/30/2003
National e-government conference scheduled to commence on May 5th will unveil the government's e-government strategy and to create awareness among the legislators and senior public officials of the importance of e-government in delivering citizen services. Another key objective is the development of already created action plans in this regard. E-government defined as a "mere delivery of government services and information to the public using electronic means", allows direct participation of constituents in government activities. It changes how citizens relate to governments as much as it changes how citizens relate to each other. e-government is also targeted to bring forth new concepts of citizenship, both in terms of needs and responsibilities. E-governance allows for citizens to communicate with government, participate in the government's policy-making, while facilitating communication between citizens themselves. The introduction of e-governance is a key to making information technology (IT) relevant to ordinary citizens across the country especially among the poorer sections of society where the digital divide is a significantly high. It furthermore allows ordinary citizens to constantly interface with the government at both local and central levels on various matters. It has also been decided to establish an ongoing high-level forum on e-government to facilitate a national dialogue and consensus on an e-government vision. This will also support the establishment of institutional frameworks for planning and implementing e-government initiatives. The forum will also facilitate continuous input and feedback from those who make use of government services. It has also been planned to create a business-friendly policy environment, and conduct highlevel training and development for government leaders to ensure they can lead the change management process involved in making effective use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in government, and to help them create the necessary enabling environment for a competitive ICT industry. The government, private sector and other stakeholders in the nation's development share a belief that ICT is a foundation for the equitable distribution of opportunity and knowledge within societies and communities, and a key factor in the competitive advantage of nations. This belief has resulted in a shared vision for an e-Sri Lanka - a vision that will take the dividends of ICT to every village, citizen, and every business, and, transform the way government works. This vision is already up and running in the daily operations of the Sri Lanka Government Press, the Department of Immigration and Emigration, the Ministry of Public Administration and the Sri Lanka Police Department where ICT has been successfully harnessed to offer a better, speedier and quality service to the citizens of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka plans to use ICT to improve the delivery of public services, knowledge and education to the people, empower civil servants with information and communication tools, facilitate co-ordination across government agencies, make government accessible and accountable to the average citizen, improve competition and transparency in public procurement, and reduce transaction costs to businesses. The government has also set its eyes on the ambitious goal of achieving for Sri Lanka, the status of a "regional ICT enabled commercial hub for South Asia" by harnessing top-end latent professional talent combined with a sound ICT infrastructure for the delivery of commerce and services for businesses online. With Sri Lanka having one of the highest literacy rates in the world, impressive IT professionals in the private and government sectors, the vision for a totally e-Sri Lanka becomes a reality only with the support and engagement of the legislature, the executive, public sector, private sector, the academia, donor community, NGOs and the people of Sri Lanka as willing partners to achieve the critical milestones during the five years ahead. The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will open this e-government conference.
From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 05/02/2003
Harris Corporation of USA recently conducted a seminar for Lanka Bell customers on wireless broadband connectivity and its business applications in Sri Lanka. Harris Corporation is one of the leading communications equipment manufacturing companies in the world and supplied the equipment for Lanka Bell's data network. A large number of top-level IT professionals from many leading companies took part in the Lanka Bell seminar conducted by a team of experts from Harris Corporation's Broadband Wireless Access Systems. "It was a pleasure to meet so many IT professionals in Sri Lanka who are as knowledgeable about wireless broadband as their counterparts in even the most technologically advanced countries," said Tom Bergmann, Director of Business Development who led the program. He was assisted by Philippe Jasmin, Technical Manager and Rabin Daher from Network Engineering of Harris Corporation. Their presentations included information on optimising data networks and maximising benefits in applications such as networking different locations for high-speed exchange of data, high-resolution images_3 and audio and video files. They covered Internet access, data communication over secure networks, Virtual-Local Area Network (V-LAN) applications, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and multi-protocol interfaces provided by the Lanka Bell network which was designed and implemented by Harris Corporation. Tom Bergmann discussed the unique features of Lanka Bell's dedicated wireless broadband service. BellBurst, which supports multiple interfaces at no extra cost and allocates up and down load speeds to maximise efficiency depending on usage. BellBurst supports router interfaces such as V.35 and G.703 used in secure environments as well as Ethernet IP interfaces used in environments with lesser security needs, without customer interface equipment modification and at no extra cost. Philippe Jasmin said, "These multi-protocol interfaces together with guaranteed link speeds of 64Kbps up to 4 Mbps for downloads from the ISP make BellBurst superior to other DSL connections currently available in Sri Lanka. These may offer cheaper low-end solutions but become more expensive as user needs evolve towards services requiring data integrity and security." Presentations included techniques for optimising the benefits offered by Lanka Bell's BellBurst service that provides true broadband connectivity up to 4 Mbps for data communication and Internet access, without requiring modems and routers. "More and more companies are using wireless broadband as a powerful, cost-effective business tool to sharpen their competitive edge and improve corporate performance," said Joey V. Mendoza, Managing Director and CEO of Lanka Bell. "This seminar is a part of an ongoing technical support program to help our customers reap the maximum benefit from the Lanka Bell network. It has given their IT specialists a rare opportunity to benefit from Harris Corporation's global expertise in wireless broadband connectivity." Lanka Bell introduced the Harris data network to the Sri Lankan market in July 2002 with an initial investment of Rs. 200 million. This state-of-the-art network has enabled Lanka Bell to increase sales of their BellBurst dedicated data circuits by over 100% so far.
From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 06/10/2003
Crown Prince Paras Friday inaugurated an international conference on Information Technology discussing its possibilities and challenges in the 21st century. The conference is jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, RONAST, Nepal Engineering Campus and Nepal Engineering College of Information Technology. Nepal presented five working papers at the conference being attended by more than 200 foreign experts experts.
From http://www.nepalnews.com/ 05/23/2003
KATHMANDU : An educational and information technology fair began here today. The fair, organized by Bee Networks, has brought together educational colleges and IT courses under one roof. South Indian institutes from school level to high level courses including graduate and post graduate have participated in the fair. "The purpose of the program is to create a forum for students to meet institutions of India instead of having to travel to the country," said Bobby Roberts, of Bee Networks. "Principals, directors and groups representing over 120 institutions are involved in the fair," said Roberts. Also, courses related to information technology are on display with courses for school children. The fair will continue till Monday after which it will shift to Pokhara. This is the second time such a fair has been organized.
From http://www.nepalnews.com/ 05/31/2003
ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has approved a project of e-learning for National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) worth Rs35 million. According to the HEC, the project, approved by the Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP), will be completed in a period of one year. The main objective of this project is to bring NUST on a par with other international universities by giving their students, faculty members and administration a fully automated working environment. All offices within colleges/institutes will be inter- connected through the Local Area Network (LAN) for sharing resources like application software, printing, file sharing/correspondence, and connecting all colleges/institutes through Wide Area Network (WAN). This facility will be utilized by all students and faculty members for accessing/exchange of online research databases and online digital libraries. The project will enhance the already existing infrastructure within NUST headquarters and its constituent colleges/institutes. The scheme will also make NUST colleges/institutes part of the educational intranet access. A complete web-based portal for information sharing between NUST constituent colleges/institutes and other universities to be connected with education intranet will be established through the project. This will enhance the functioning of university procedures including students' record, academic and examination records, finance and registration department.-APP OUR REPORTER ADDS: NUST has developed academic collaborations with a number of reputable foreign universities and continues to enhance its international academic linkages. According to a statement issued here on Monday, NUST Institute of Management Sciences (NIMS) and Luton Business School (LBS) explored possible avenues of collaboration between the University of Luton and Nust in the area of management sciences. In this regard, Steve Stephens, regional director, South Asia, Middle East and Latin America, of the University of Luton visited Nust headquarters on May 12, 2003, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities. Mr Stephens also called on NUST rector Lt-Gen Syed Shujaat Hussain (retired) and discussed matters of mutual interest. Since its inception in 1999, NIMS has evolved into one of the leading and dynamic business schools of the country. Steve Stephens gave a comprehensive presentation on LBS/University of Luton (UoL) which included details about the university. Under the agreement, two business schools - NUST Institute of Management Sciences and Luton Business School - will work on collaborative split academic programs, joint research projects, faculty exchange and professional development at various levels.
From http://www.dawn.com /05/13/2003
Advice on a new career or a change of career was snapped up when Centrelink's Career Information Centre visited Maryborough on Tuesday (1 April) and Hervey Bay on Wednesday (2 April). The visit featured a morning seminar and access to specialist career guidance information at both Centrelink offices. Demand for sessions to use a computer program called Career Voyage, which through questions and answers focuses on people's career goals and aptitudes, was so great that most were booked out in advance. But Brisbane-based Career Information Centre manager, Colette Kinsella, said the morning seminars, which required no prior booking, proved equally popular. The aim of the visit, open to both unemployed people and people in employment looking for a change of direction, was to bring the Career Information Centre's services to a wider audience, she said. "We're doing a bit of outreach at the moment," Colette said. "What we'd like to do from here on in is get out there every two months or so." Colette said the service provided by the Career Information Centre was a real eye-opener for people. "Often people don't know what they need to know for career direction. We're trying to empower people to help themselves," Colette said. Centrelink's Career Information Centres provide a comprehensive free service to all Australians. Specialist staff provide assistance to students, the unemployed or people who are looking at changing jobs. Career Information Centres can help customers make informed decisions about education, training and employment options. An Australia-wide network of 12 offices provides this service to all Australians. People living in rural, regional or remote areas can access the services provided by Centrelink's Career Information Centres. Personal assistance can be provided by phone, mail, email or facsimile to anywhere in Australia.
From http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ 04/02/2003
Centrelink will launch its first employment skills workshop in Canberra this month for women from diverse cultural backgrounds over the age of 35. The four-week program run by Braddon Centrelink Career Information Centre (CIC) in partnership with the Multicultural Women's Advocacy and ACT Public Library, will also include some work experience placements at the ACT Public Library. "It's a fantastic joint effort aimed at helping a group within the community not specifically targeted by anyone else," explained Centrelink CIC Manager, Yvonne Tighe. "We've found that women from diverse cultural backgrounds, aged between 35-55 are more likely to face barriers or experience difficulties in gaining work. "The program is free and aims to help older migrant women who may or may not be on Centrelink payments, gain skills to get work. "It's also about addressing cultural, language and self-esteem issues and forming friendships." The program covers a broad range of practical topics such as the first steps in training and goal setting, job search skills, using the internet and computer skills, writing job applications and preparing for interviews. The first session commences on Monday 19 May from 9am-1pm and runs for four weeks at Braddon Centrelink CIC. Yvonne said demand for the sessions and feedback from participants would determine whether the program is extended. "We want to make sure that the programs and services we offer are relevant and useful to people," she said.
From http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ 05/12/2003
Centrelink today held the first of two information sessions for local community organisations, outlining strategies for helping Brisbane youth. Centrelink Brisbane Social Work Manager, Sue Anthony, encouraged community organisations to attend the information sessions to find out more about Centrelink's Youth Servicing Strategies. Today's seminar, held at the Carina Youth Agency, attracted ten community organisation representatives. Organisers hope to attract further interest for the next session, scheduled for Tuesday, 27 May. "Centrelink has a very important role to play in the lives of young people, both in ensuring they receive the entitlements they are eligible for, and helping them connect with our specialist officers or community organisations for extra support if they need it," Sue said. "By working collaboratively with community organisations we can help young people better understand their options when dealing with Centrelink. "The seminars will provide community organisations with information and advice on employment, education, training, income support, accommodation and health, with a specific focus on young customers." The seminars will also highlight the integral role played by Centrelink Social Workers in delivering support. "In the greater Brisbane area, there are over 45 social workers that provide professional services to individuals, families and communities to help solve problems that people experience during times of major personal change or crisis," Sue said. "We provide professional assessments, counselling and support services to Centrelink customers and work with local community agencies to improve outcomes for Centrelink customers."
From http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ 05/20/2003
EDUCATION technology has again emerged as a huge spending area in the NSW state budget, with the state allocating nearly $850 million for IT initiatives over the next four years. It is the first Budget since NSW's Labor Government moved former IT Minister Kim Yeadon to the backbench and folded the IT Department into the Commerce Department after being re-elected in March. Education IT will receive $846.2 million in recurrent funding over the next four years for ongoing projects, including $572.3 million for new computers, internet services and technology support in schools. The upgrade of bandwidth for schools and TAFE colleges will receive $172.3 million, while $84.1 million will be available for e-learning accounts for staff and students. Technology-oriented teacher training will receive $17.6 million over four years. In the 2002-03 budget, the state allocated $823 million over four years for the same projects. NSW Police was allocated $4.2 million for its Police Integrated Business Information Solution (IBIS) project in 2003-04 and $900,000 for the continuation of its LiveScan electronic fingerprinting rollout. In addition, 2003-4 will see $8.8 million allocated for the Police country radio network and $2.7 million for the PhotoTrack biometric photo system. Work on the Enforcement Notice Database will receive $2.7 million in funding. The NSW Crime Commission will has been allocated $2.6 million in 2003-04 to increase the capacity of its telephone interception system and upgrade it for video transmissions. The Police Integrity Commission will spend $1.1 million to improve electronic surveillance and its data storage. NSW Health will commence the rollout of its last mile telecommunications infrastructure in July, as part of a $8.4 million project carried out with the Department of Education and the Office of Information Technology. NSW Health's ongoing $42.5 clinical decision support system will receive $2.5 million in funding in 2003-04. The Department of Commerce, which now includes the Office of Best practice Information Technology and Corporate Services, will spend $12.5 million improving mobile data coverage on the Government Radio Network and $3.2 million amalgamating call centres in the Office of Fair Trading. The Offices of Government Business and Government Procurement will spend $19.1 million in 2003-04 "mostly on information technology projects". These include $8.3 million on IT infrastructure, $3.5 million on the Central Corporate Services Unit's systems and $2.3 million on the state's smartbuy e-procurement system. (by Chris Jenkins)
From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 06/24/2003
THE Federal Government will provide more than $10 million for information technology (IT) training and support services in rural and remote Australia. The Government said today it would invest $181 million to fulfil all 39 recommendations of the Estens Inquiry into Telstra, including IT training. Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and Communications Minister Richard Alston said the Government would provide an extra $10.1 million over four years for IT training and support services in the bush. They said the money would build on funding already provided for the services under the Networking The Nation program. The ministers said they were committed to ensuring people in regional areas shared equitably in the benefits of advanced technologies, dubbed future proofing. The next step in future proofing was to ensure all Australians had access to affordable broadband services, they said. "Broadband will be the roads and rail of the 21st century because of its ability to revolutionise communications, enhance the delivery of government services, transform business processes and catapult scientific research and discovery," the ministers said.
From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/ 06/25/2003
The capital has a new festival, courtesy of the New Zealand Internet Society, InternetNZ. The three-day Festival of Technology 2003, which kicks off later this week, features a series of discussions on hot topics such as tackling spam, broadband applications and the United States' controversial initiative ENUM, which critics fear could potentially eliminate anonymity on the Net. The event, which has only been six weeks in the planning, isn't likely to outdo Wellington's festival of the arts this time round. "Festival maestro" Martin Foster says he will be happy with a projected attendance of 60 to 80 people. But he hopes it will become a regular annual fixture. InternetNZ also plans to take a one-day version of the event to the regions. Mr Foster says it's easy to underestimate the changes that are taking place in the communications market, with a host of new operators and intermediaries able to offer flexible nationwide data services using fibre optic links and wireless technologies. The Festival of Technology 2003 takes place at the James Cook Hotel, 18-20 June. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)
From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 06/16/2003
From http://manu.usp.ac.fj/ 07/18/2003 (Access Time)