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Different Type of Regional News Magazine Launched in Asia

An Asian newspaper alliance has launched a new regional news magazine, and Australia's biggest general insurer has bought shares in a Chinese insurance company.

The Asia News Network, an alliance of 14 newspapers from 12 Asian countries, has launched what it calls a different type of weekly regional news magazine.

Hard copies of the Asia News Magazine will initially be available only on airlines that are part of the Star Alliance grouping, which is one of the sponsors of the project. The magazine might later be sold on newsstands in the region, and it will also be available in digital format on the Asia News Network website.

The magazine includes selected articles from member newspapers - ranging from Indonesia's Jakarta Post and India's Statesman to the government-owned China Daily - as well as pan-Asian editorials written at the Network's headquarters in Bangkok.

Pana Janviroj, executive director of Asia News Network, says regional magazines usually present a unified editorial point of view. He says what makes the new publication different will be the diversity of views and editorial approaches from the magazine's contributing member newspapers.

"You will get more than the usual broad regional magazine, so we hope to blend this in a readable manner for people who are interested in the development and changes happening in Asia," said Janviroj.

Australia's largest car and home insurer, Insurance Australia Group, will buy 25 percent of China Pacific Property Insurance. China Pacific, based in Shanghai, is China's second-largest general insurer, with a market share of 12 percent.

The final purchasing price will be determined after an audit has been carried out.

In news from the telecom sector, Singapore Telecommunications, Southeast Asia's largest phone operator, reported its net profits totaled $540 million in the third quarter of last year, up 16 percent from a year earlier.

SingTel's mobile associates in India and Indonesia were the main drivers behind the growth.

And South Korea's largest automaker, Hyundai, said it wants to double its annual production in India to 600,000 cars by next year.

The company plans to expand the production capacity of its existing car plant in Chennai, in the southern province of Tamil Nadu, and also build a second factory there.