HONG KONG (May 8)—Multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. is studying a project to establish a tire manufacturing joint venture in Qingdao, China, with Qingdao Huanghai Rubber Group and an unnamed Italian company. "A memorandum of understanding has been signed to study the project," a statement from Hutchison Whampoa said. However, "we are only at a very preliminary stage of discussion, and no details are available at this stage yet." HWL is the holding company of Hutchison Whampoa Group, a Hong Kong-based multinational which operates five core businesses: ports and related services; telecommunications; property and hotels; retail and manufacturing; and energy and infrastructure. Annual sales are nearly $8 billion.