Fri, Aug 15, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

FTD production growing

The production of flat-panel displays (FPD) in Taiwan amounted to NT$310 billion (US$9.01 billion) last year and is expected to increase to NT$1.37 trillion in 2006, Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) said yesterday.

Lin said at a seminar on the nation's FPD-manufacturing industry that the government has attached great importance to the development of the industry and has mapped out plans to facilitate its development.

The government is planning to establish a science-based industrial park in Taichung and a new industrial zone in Taipei County to accommodate the FPD-producing industry, he said.

Beverages a big seller

Beverages remain convenience stores' best sellers, as almost 70 percent of the stores' sales were from drinks, according to a report issued yesterday by AC Nielsen Taiwan.

Instant tea topped the stores' market with sales of NT$8.73 billion, or 20 percent in a year. Beer came in the second place with 17 percent of the market, pocketing NT$4.95 billion for beer brewers. Juice was the third-largest drink sector with sales of NT$3.4 billion.

The main reason for the growth is the intensive promotion activities and TV ads, said Brain Negley, executive director for retail measure service at AC Nielsen Taiwan.

Convenience stores have become a part of people's daily lives, the report said, noting that the number of stores has grown from 4,900 in 1998 to 7,118 last year.

Yuan discussed at seminar

China is unlikely to bow to foreign pressure and change in its currency policy this year, said Singapore-based Irene Cheung (張雅怡), an Asian sovereign and foreign-exchange strategist at ABN AMRO Bank N.V. said yesterday at a seminar in Taipei.

"Even though the yuan is undervalued by 10 to 15 percent, any drastic move [on the yuan] is not good for China's export-oriented economy," Cheung said.

A foreign-exchange policy change may only be likely in the second half of next year if Beijing allows the yuan to rise against the US dollar, Cheung said.

To alleviate increasing pressure on it to revalue the yuan, Cheung said Beijing may adopt measures to relax capital accounts by allowing Chinese to buy foreign currency bonds and foreign-exchange deposits and it may also undertake interest-rate liberalization, she said.

She said that China may issue governemental bonds to further soak up liquidity from its massive foreign-exchange intervention.

Sprint opens Taiwan IP node

Sprint Corp, the third-largest US long-distance telephone company, has decided to expand its global SprintLink Internet Protocol (IP) network to include Taiwan, the company said at a press conference yesterday in Taipei.

Launching Sprint's IP node in Taipei, Connie Tang, managing director for Greater China and ASEAN, said the addition of Taiwan to Sprint's Asia-Pacific network is significant as it underpins the company's wider strategy for Greater China, as well as extending Sprint's global footprint.

"Our primary charter is to serve multinational enterprises with innovative network services that support global businesses," Tang said. "Sprint's entry into Taiwan has been well received to date, particularly in the manufacturing and export industry sectors, where connectivity with China and US markets is central to competitive business operations."

NT weakens further

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday continued losing ground against its US counterpart, dropping NT$0.002 to close at NT$34.387 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$352 million.

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