LOCAL BUSINESS

Meeting set for Cuba trip

Greater Akron Chamber officials will present an informational meeting Tuesday evening on their coordination of a tour of Cuba May 24-June 1.

The meeting will be from 5 to 6:15 p.m. in Room 2AB at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St., downtown Akron.

Several seats are available on the tour. Cost is $3,299 per person (double room). Final payment is due March 10.

For information, contact Tony Rinella at the Greater Akron Chamber, 330-237-1250 or by e-mail: rinella@greaterakronchamber.org.

Business relocates

Office Space Coworking, which provides small, home-based businesses with what it calls affordable, professional locations, has moved to 39 E. Market St. in downtown Akron. The company is hosting an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

“Office Space Coworking is a refuge from the isolation of working at home and the restrictions of working in busy coffee shops,” said Bill Forsyth III, owner of Office Space Coworking. “Members get all the tools and community of a modern office without the stuffy, corporate environment.”

Plans start at $150 a month for 20 hours of use. The facility is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is also a location in Cuyahoga Falls at 2115 Front St.

For information, go to www.officespace?coworking.com or call 800-644-0683.

auto industry

Ford grows in China

Ford on Friday opened its fourth vehicle assembly plant in China to try to gain traction in a key market where Ford has lagged behind the competition. The $490 million facility in Chongqing, known as CFMA Chongqing Assembly 2 or CQ2 for short, was built in partnership with Ford’s joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile.

General Motors and Volkswagen are sales leaders in China. Ford sold about 320,000 vehicles in China in 2011 while GM and VW sell more than 2 million annually.

The newest plant, which will be able to produce 150,000 vehicles annually, increases Ford’s capacity in China to more than 600,000 vehicles a year. It is the second Ford vehicle assembly plant in Chongqing and its third in China. Ford also has engine and transmission plants in Chongqing, which is becoming the automaker’s manufacturing hub. Ford said the region is now second only to southeast Michigan as a global manufacturing center.

VW reports record results

Volkswagen defied the gloom in Europe and cemented its status among the global leaders of the auto industry, reporting record results and saying it sold more than 8 million vehicles last year for the first time in its 75-year history. VW, the top European automaker, said net income more than doubled to $20.6 billion. Revenue soared almost 26 percent.

Honda plans to streamline

Honda, Japan’s third-biggest carmaker, aims to shorten the time it takes for new vehicles to reach the market by three to six months. The maker of Civic compacts will locate planning, design and development divisions close to production plants to reduce the “three to four years” it currently takes to introduce a new model, said spokesman Keitaro Yamamoto.

TECHNOLOGY

Google to divest stake

Google Inc. said it will sell its stake in Clearwire Corp., the struggling operator of a wireless data network. The search company is taking a 94 percent loss on the $500 million investment made in 2008.

Google said in a regulatory filing that it’s seeking to sell its stake starting Monday for $1.60 per share, or $47 million total. Clearwire shares fell 16 cents, or 6.8 percent, to close Friday at $2.11.

Google was part of a consortium that included cable companies and equipment provider Intel Corp. that injected $3.2 billion into Clearwire when it merged with a Sprint Nextel Corp. unit in 2008. The hope was that Clearwire would be a powerful competitor to the established cell-phone companies, providing fast wireless data at low prices.

But technical challenges and a lack of scale hurt Clearwire, based it Kirkland, Wash. It’s using a wireless technology that once looked promising, but has been eschewed by cell-phone companies. It now plans to catch up by adopting the industry standard “LTE” technology, but it needs more funding to make the switch.

Google wrote down the value of its investment in 2009 and 2011. Sprint owns a majority, but doesn’t have voting control. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are other big shareholders, with original investments of $1.05 billion and $650 million. Intel invested $1 billion.

Compiled from staff and wire reports