Wed, Jul 23, 2003 - Page 11 News List

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STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Copyright crackdown

Taiwan has convicted 1,735 people in copyright infringement cases so far this year, a 29 percent increase from the same period last year, the government said yesterday.

The convictions were part of a sweeping crackdown on factories producing pirated DVDs, CDs, video games and computer software, the Intellectual Property Office said in a quarterly report.

Officials have closed 21 factories so far this year and police have seized pirated goods with an estimated market value of more than NT$5 billion (US$144 million), the report said.

The US and European nations have in recent years increased pressure on the government to get tougher on copyright infringement.

CETRA gets new chairman

The Cabinet confirmed yesterday that Hsu Chih-jen (許志仁), head of the Third Bureau at the Presidential Office, will replace Shea Jia-dong (許嘉棟) as chairman of China External Trade Development Council (CETRA). Hsu is scheduled to take office on Friday.

Being a seasoned trade officer under the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Hsu was head of the Taipei Trade Office in Milano, Italy between 1998 and 2000. He took the presidential office job in October, 2000 following Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) triumph in the 2000 presidential election. Hsu studied with Chen at the National Taiwan University in the 1970s.

At an event held yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center, Shea declined to say where he's going after stepping down from the post.

Shea, who assumed the CETRA office in December 29, 2000, served as Minister of Finance from May to October in 2000. He was deputy governor of the Central Bank of China between 1996 and 2000.

Dispute will not affect ratings

The recent dispute between Yuanta Core Pacific Securities Co (元大京華證券) and the other major shareholder of Hong Kong-based Core Pacific Yamaichi Securities (京華山一證券) will have no immediate impact on the ratings of Yuanta Core Pacific, the Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) said yesterday in a statement.

Taiwan Ratings, a local arm of Standard and Poor's, said it believes the negative impact from this incident is not likely to significantly affect Yuanta Core Pacific's financial strength, given its strong capitalization.

Yuanta Core Pacific acts as a passive shareholder of Core Pacific Yamaichi. In light of Core Pacific Yamaichi's disappointing operating performance during the period from 2001 to last year, Yuanta Core Pacific has proposed to take full control of this subsidiary or liquidate it, which, however, would be subject to the agreement of the other major shareholders of Core Pacific Yamaichi.

Yuanta Core Pacific said yesterday that it plans to take legal action to speed up the process.

First Financial spins shares

First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), the owner of the nation's No. 4 bank by assets, plans to sell 1 billion new shares tomorrow to overseas investors at a 10 percent discount, said a banker involved in the sale.

The company is selling the shares as global depositary receipts, worth about US$540 million using yesterday's close of NT$20.60 apiece.

Officials from Deutsche Bank AG, the sale's manager, declined to comment. The shares will be priced today in London.

"The two teams marketing the sale are expected to join up in London today," said Grace Jeng, head of administration and planning for First Financial in Taiwan.

NT dollar slips slightly

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