Builders of Dubai's Dreamscape Soar in Japan

Shares in Asia rose Friday with Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbing 1.1% to 10,798. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index rose 0.1% to 22,297, and in China the Shanghai Composite Index also rose 0.1%, ending the day at 3,196.

Japanese engineering firms Kajima Corp. and Obayashi Corp. helped push the Nikkei higher. Kajima spiked 6.8% and Obayashi climbed 6.7% in today's trading. The firms are members of a consortium of companies contracted to build the Dubai Metro. The Financial Times reports that the group is currently in a dispute over $3 billion in unpaid bills, and that the price of the project has more than doubled to $7.6 billion since construction started about five years ago. The consortium claims that the ballooning price tag is the result of major changes to the original scope and design.

%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%% Amid the fanfare of opening the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, this week also marked the opening of the Burj Khalifa Metro Station, which TIme Out Dubai says will serve 10,000 people each weekday and more than 19,000 on weekends and holidays.

Taisei, another Japanese company with major projects in Dubai, also shot up 6.5% today. Taisei is the builder of the 68-floor Almas Tower, which houses the Dubai Diamond Exchange, the Dubai Pearl Exchange and other businesses related to the gemstone industry. It is located on an artificial island and has state-of-the-art security and is Dubai's second-tallest building.

Taisei captured the attention of engineering buffs when it conceived the idea for X-Seed 4000, an 800-floor skyscraper situated in Tokyo's harbor. But the project was never meant to be built, only to attract attention to the firm and its bold ideas, which Architectural Record claims it did -- perhaps leading to contracts for super-tall structures like the Almas Tower.

Also in Japan, car companies rose, with Honda Motor gaining 3.1%. Toyota rose 2.9% today as its Prius became Japan's number one selling car.

In China, mining shares slid following a dip on the London Metal Exchange: Jiangxi Copper (JIXAY) fell 2.6% and Zijin Mining lost 1.2%. Fears of tightening lending policies and a reduction of stimulus plans had a negative effect on car manufacturers with China's largest automaker, SAIC Motor, diving 5.2%.

In Hong Kong, shares of Hutchison Telecommunications International skyrocketed 28.1%. Bloomberg reports that Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing, made an offer of $545 million in cash to take the phone company private -- proving that cash is still king in Asia.

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