World Briefing

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India's Labor Pains

For job seekers in India's booming tech sector, which is expected to hire up to 100,000 people this year, it's the best of times — and the worst of times. Hundreds of thousands of starry-eyed young software engineers are eager to work for as little as $4,500 a year. Yet there are not nearly enough experienced managers (who can pull in 10 times as much) to oversee the influx of raw recruits. At the same time, as multinationals like Accenture and IBM poach midlevel executives, some observers are worried that fast-rising wages could erode India's competitiveness — and price the country out of the outsourcing business, which has fueled most of the country's IT growth. --By Aravind Adiga/New Delhi

Global Phones

Verizon-loving road warriors can start packing a little lighter this fall. No need to take a second cell phone to stay connected in Europe — or, for that matter, a SIM card to plug into rented handsets — because in September Verizon Wireless began selling its first global phone, which can roam between CDMA networks (used in North America and parts of Asia and Latin America) and GSM networks (used everywhere else). Verizon is offering the Samsung a790 for $350 with a two-year contract, with international calling rates starting at $1.29 a minute in the most-developed countries. Samsung is using semiconductors from CDMA pioneer Qualcomm, which was the first to integrate the competing network technologies on one set of chips. Qualcomm has also licensed the dual chips to LG and Motorola, which plans to roll out its first global phone in the fourth quarter but has yet to announce a carrier.

Monaco Makeover

Who would have thought that Monaco, the crown jewel of the Cote d'Azur, needed polishing? Apparently the land of Monte Carlo and the Grimaldi royal family felt a makeover was in order. To capitalize on the popularity of cruises, the principality, which covers about 1 sq. mi., completed a $200 million 1,155-ft.-long breakwater earlier this summer, doubling the capacity of its harbor. Now large cruise ships can dock there. Three upscale hotels have also undergone renovations this year, a brand-new harbor-front hotel has opened, and by 2006 the tiny country will have 33% more rooms. Will the sought-after travelers fill them? Says spokeswoman Lisa Friedman: "Monaco's philosophy has been, If we build [them], they will come." --By Dody Tsiantar

Big Tobacco in China

Hog-tied by a shrinking U.S. market, the Marlboro Man is setting his sights on China. Altria Group's Philip Morris International will soon produce the world's best-selling cigarette in the world's largest tobacco market. China's more than 300 million smokers consumed 1.75 trillion cigarettes last year, but foreign sales accounted for only about 5% of these because of government restrictions. The venture with Fujian province's Longyan Cigarette Factory will make Marlboros widely available in China. But Big Tobacco's China dreams have gone up in smoke before. In 1986 R.J. Reynolds formed a $31 million joint venture to make Camels; 13 years later, the American partner bailed out by selling to Japan Tobacco. JT itself gave up on the venture when its contract expired this month, selling its stake to Chinese partners for a measly $18 million. The Marlboro Man will have to be faster on his feet if he wants to grab this bull by the horns. --By Neil Gough/Beijing

"If something is not done about China, it doesn't matter whether [Cambodia is] in the WTO or not." --Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, after Cambodia's Parliament ratified its accession to the WTO, with the expiration of global quotas on textiles and apparel scheduled for Jan. 1

Source: New York Times

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