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Hong Kong Property Market Improving - 2004-10-18

One of Hong Kong's top property developers, Cheung Kong Holdings, has paid a record one-point-two billion dollars for a plot of prime residential land during the latest government land auction.

The price, the largest amount ever paid for a single plot in Hong Kong, was far above expectations.

Analysts say last week's land auction showed that Hong Kong's property market is finally firming up after years in a slump, which began after a severe financial crisis hit East Asia in 1997.

Victor Li, Cheung Kong's deputy chairman, said the price the company paid for the site in Hong Kong's Kowloon district was not too expensive. Mr. Li said his company will build luxury apartments on the site because of an increasing demand for such units.

Singapore's investment company, Temasek Holdings, has partially opened its financial books to the public for the first time since it was set up 30 years ago.

For the year ending in March, Temasek's profit jumped to $4.4 billion from $143 million in the same period last year. The sale of its stake in three Singapore companies boosted profits.

Temasek has some $53 billion in assets, more than half invested in Singapore. A large amount of its investments are in the telecommunications and financial services sectors.

In India's software industry, Bombay-based Patni Computer Systems will acquire the U.S. company Cymbal Corporation. The $68 million purchase is aimed at expanding Patni's share of the U.S. telecommunications software sector.

The continued outsourcing boom in India helped boost profit in India's information technology and software services companies. The country's second-largest IT company, Infosys, reported a 49-percent profit rise in the three months to September, compared WITH the previous quarter.

Chinese state media report that the country is on course to be the largest beer producer in the world for the third year in a row, ahead of the United States and Germany. China had already surpassed the United States as the world's biggest consumer of beer.