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Communist newspaper China Daily is reporting a number of breakthroughs in US companies warming to the cause of technology in mainland China, although other regional newspapers are reporting the spat over Yugoslavia may jeopardise that cause. According to China Daily, HP is one of many US companies to team with mainland China, with its government promoting Hewlett Packard products to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). The same newspaper reported that there are a number of initiatives to help mainland China develop PC components, although this is bound to antagonise neighbours Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Korea and Malaysia. A consortium of companies has formed round the Pearl River Delta and already produces colour monitors and floppy disks. However, its aim is to move into other components, including semiconductors over the next few years. Philips already has a plant in Suzhou. Exports of monitors from mainland China amounted to $1.74 billion worth this year, nearly 50 per cent up from 1997. Even production of domestic bananas rose, said the state-run newspaper. But antagonism to the US government’s commitment to bombing Yugoslavia is causing the happy cart to rock through the south east of Asia. That, more than anything else, may cause the US to look at its own interests rather than Europe’s. ®

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