ICRT News on Demand – 2011/03/29

3PM Intro
Good afternoon. It’s time for ICRT news at 3. I’m Mike Woodward.

HTC to Buy Stake in Online Music Store
First, Taiwan news…

Taiwan’s HTC, the world’s fifth largest smartphone maker, announced today
that it will acquire a stake in the world’s largest Chinese-language online
music store.

The bid is an effort by HTC to expand its range of mobile music services.

In an e-mailed statement, HTC said it expected to invest 10 million U.S.
dollars to acquire an 11.1-percent stake in Taipei-headquartered KKBOX.

HTC also said it’s looking to obtain a seat on its board of directors after
the music provider increases its paid-in capital.

HTC CEO Peter Zhou described KKBOX as “an important media platform for music
markets in the Chinese-speaking world and Japan."

Zhou added that online music service plays a key role in digital content and
is an essential part of HTC’s future development.

HTC started a partnership with KKBOX in 2004.

(jm)

ChinaTrust merged MetLife
New York-based MetLife has agreed to sell its Taiwan life insurance unit to
Chinatrust Financial Holding company for $180 million U.S. dollars, in the
U.S. insurer’s second attempt to exit Taiwan.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, fierce competition and a crowded
market have prompted many foreign insurers to leave Taiwan, with A-I-G and
MassMutual Financial Group being the most recent ones.

Their departures accelerated following the global financial crisis in 2008,
as some of the insurers badly needed the cash to replenish their capital and
diverted the resources to the higher-growth markets.

The MetLife deal, which will require approval from Taiwan’s financial
regulator, will help Chinatrust expand into life insurance, after failing to
bid for AIG’s Taiwan life insurance unit earlier this year.

Chinatrust Financial is the nation’s third-largest financial service provider
and the owner of Chinatrust Commercial Bank.

(JL)

Japan
Officials say highly toxic plutonium is seeping from the damaged nuclear
power plant in Japan’s tsunami disaster zone into the soil outside,
heightening concerns about the expanding spread of radiation.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. says plutonium was detected at
several spots outside the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant _ the first
confirmed presence of the dangerously radioactive substance.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says there are strong indications some of
the radioactivity is coming from damaged nuclear fuel rods, a worrying
development in the race to bring the power plant under control.

wall street
in economic news…

Wall Street is adjusting to the latest economic data that shows US consumer
spending rose for the eighth straight month in February.

But with consumer prices also rising – by the largest amount in 2 1/2 years –
households are having to tap into their savings to accommodate.

Natalie Carney has more from Wall Street:

weather
Taiwan weather forecast for tonight according to the Central Weather Bureau:
fairly clear skies island-wide this evening. Lows tonite north, center and
south: 13, 13 and 17.

At the moment Taipei is clear and 21, Taichung cloudy and 25, Gauhsiung
cloudy with haze and 24.

3PM Outro
That’s ICRT News at 3. Thank you for listening. I’m Mike Woodward.

original source