Published: Wednesday 15 June 1994

PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, the plastic from which soft drink bottles are made, is about to become the pet obsession of high-profile fashion-conscious North Americans. Wellman Inc, a New Jersey-based textile company, has introduced an entire range of trendy jackets and sweaters made of recycled PET. Last year, it had taken the polyester industry by storm, launching a textile fibre made totally of used plastic. Wellman collects its raw materials principally from states with bottle laws, which impose deposits on bottles and require their collection. And it certainly makes good use of them. "Forty per cent of our polyester production worldwide is from recycled products," claims the company.

CORPORATE organisations who frequently exchange data with their overseas counterparts need no longer look at their rising telecommunications bills with dread. Spider Systems, a computer networking company in UK, has come up with a special router, which consists of a box loaded with circuit boards and software that enables it to choose the cheapest route between 2 local area networks in different places. Steve Collen, Spider's product manager, is confident that this "magic box" will help companies reduce their expenses by as much as 40 per cent. The consumers can connect the gadget to their local area computer networks and then rest assured that their data will be transmitted by the cheapest route through Europe's jungle of telecommunications systems.

MOBILE telecommunications is the latest craze in Singapore. Affluent Singaporeans are making a beeline for the natty Nokia 2110 mobile phones, which weigh less than 200 grammes and are not much bigger than a pack of ultralong cigarettes. "This is due to the increasing mobility of the people in Singapore," explains Wong Hung Khim, president of the Singapore Telecom group, whose mobile phone customer base has grown from about 6,000 in 1988 to more than 170,000 today. Nokia Mobile Phones of Finland, which till now was the primary supplier of headphones in Singapore, is facing stiff competition from rival companies such as Motorola Inc, which are fighting for a share of the fast-growing market.

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