News in brief

Dangerman Branson launches Virgin MobileThe charismatic Richard Branson has done it again. Suspended from a helicopter, looking like Santa in red combat gear, he swept into Cockle Bay in Sydney's CBD to set Australia's mobile phone 'freedom fighters' free. Upon releasing the 'freedom fighters' (from a gaol cell on top of a pontoon in the middle of the bay). The $100 million investment, jointly owned by Cable & Wireless Optus and Virgin, will use the Optus network in Australia and offer no contracts and one variable tariff. "If you don't find it ridiculously easy and cheap, I will shave off my beard!" Branson said.

QSI eyes NZ market

Australian e-payment software provider QSI Payments has launched into the New Zealand banking market, forming an alliance with Electronic Transaction Services Ltd (ETSL). Four major banks jointly own ETSL - ASB Bank, Bank of New Zealand, The National Bank and Westpac Trust - which claims to provide support for 90 per cent of all Eftpos transactions in New Zealand. ETSL has purchased QSI's Server Class software to process payment transactions securely for call centres and Internet retailers.

Singapore Airlines selects IBM

In a deal worth more than $S100 million, IBM Global Services has been selected as integrator for the implementation of mySAP across the Singapore Airlines Group (SIA). Consolidating numerous disparate systems into one common e-business platform using, IBM will undertake the implementation in stages over a three-year period. It is the largest integration services project IBM has undertaken in Singapore and the ASEAN region.

Hitachi global rebranding

Technology company Hitachi has announced a global rebranding campaign aimed at reinventing itself as a "best solution partner". More than $1 million will be committed to the campaign in Australia under the new corporate banner "Inspire the Next". Last month Hitachi revised its business forecast for the first half of 2000 and announced a sales increase in Australia of more than 180 per cent. The company attributed the sales jump to its IT and multimedia products and consumer electronic business.

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More about ASB BankASEANBank of New ZealandCable & WirelessETSLHitachi AustraliaIBM AustraliamySAP.comOptusQSI PaymentsSIASingapore AirlinesWestpacWestpacWestpac Trust

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