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Think BlackBerry for kids … Wedding belles in China … Online ads gain ground

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Now your kids can have a PDA, too.

Kids love the immediacy of instant messaging, but it can leave them vulnerable to online predators. A solution to the problem may be on its way in the form Mattel’s new “IM me” instant messenger, OhGizmo reports.

The IM me is a PDA handheld wireless unit, complete with full keyboard – think BlackBerry for kids. It sends and receives messages via a limited range RF device attached to a PC, effectively restricting use to around the house.

Best of all, however, the IM ME can only be used to send and receive messages from a pre-approved contact list the child user cannot change. So little Annie can go crazy chatting with her buddies without attracting any unwanted attention.

Mattel has also got the fashion angle under control – the IM ME comes in lovely pink and purple shades, perfect for the style conscious youngster on the go.

Chinese fall in love with weddings

The old-style, extravaganza wedding may be going out of vogue in the West, but the Chinese have picked up the idea and are running with it, Fortune magazine reports.

More than 10 million Chinese couples married last year, spending over $30 billion in the process, according to Government figures. And the new Chinese capitalists have moved quickly to meet the demand, with at least 300 wedding planners opening up in Shanghai alone.

Non-Chinese businesses have also seen the opportunity presented by 20 million love-struck Chinese youngsters. Elite jewellers Tiffany & Co has doubled the number of its Chinese stores over the past four years, while Cartier increased its jewellery sales by 42% in the traditional wedding month of October.

Web eyes: More eyes online than outdoors

The online advertising market is booming: it was worth $1 billion in 2006, according to the Audit Bureau of Verification Services. TV and newspapers still claim the bulk of the $12 billion annual spend, but more money is now spent on internet advertising than magazine or outdoor advertising. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Rick Bruner of US-based DoubleClick says there are four types of internet advertising: email marketing, searching marketing, display advertising and affiliate marketing.

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