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Toshiba Gives Up HD DVD-Format

The Japanese high-tech company Toshiba has conceded defeat to rival Sony in the competition to design the next generation of DVD equipment, and profits of Australia's national airline soared in the second half of 2007. Claudia Blume has more on these and other regional business stories from at VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong.

Japanese electronics maker Toshiba says it will no longer develop, produce or market its HD DVD players and recorders. Toshiba made the announcement after its DVD format suffered from poor sales and falling support from movie studios.

Toshiba's surrender clears the way for the Sony's "Blu-ray" high definition video format to become the industry standard for the next generation of DVD equipment. The competition was a repeat of format war that ended nearly 25 years ago, when the VHS video cassette format designed by the Japanese company JVC won out over Sony's Betamax format.

Australia's Qantas airline says its net profit for the half year until December more than doubled from a year earlier, to almost $570 million. Revenue increased more than six percent to $7.5 billion, mainly due to higher passenger numbers.

Qantas says it expects a profit growth of at least 40 percent for the full year to June. Peter Gregg, the airline's chief financial officer, says he is not worried about rising oil prices, as Qantas has already been exposed to fuel price increases for a long time.

"Next year it looks like it might be similar and as a business we consistently found ways to compete and to make profits under that environment," he said. "And we expect we will do that again next year."

Foreign investment in Malaysia's manufacturing and services sector rose 69 percent to a record $14 billion last year. Most of the investments were made in the electronics, petrochemicals, metal, paper and printing industries.

The increase in foreign investments was a big boost for Malaysia, which had been an international manufacturing hub in the 1970s, but now faces stiff competition from Asian neighbors such as China and Vietnam, where labor costs are cheaper.

Vietnam, China's biggest foreign supplier of coal, says it plans to cut coal exports to its neighbor by 19 percent this year to meet rising demand from its own power plants. The move is expected to affect supplies to power plants in China's southern Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, which are heavily dependent on coal imports from Vietnam and are already experiencing serious energy shortages.

Hanoi says it plans to stop all coal exports after 2015.