UK tourism delegation to visit
Three UK tourism consultants are scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Monday on a five-day fact-finding mission, the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) said in a statement yesterday. The UK mission aims to find potential collaboration projects according to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) Challenge 2008 initiative to double the number of tourists to Taiwan. "This is a very exciting prospect and British companies would very much like to have the opportunity to work alongside Taiwanese organizations in order to help them achieve this aim," the statement said. The three delegates are Andrew Sillitoe, Director of Jorth Consult Ltd, a consultancy focusing on tourism and natural resource planning; Philip Deighton, chief executive of Deighton International, a tourism projects specialist; and Chris White, managing director of MET Studio Design, which offers services such as concept development, corporate design and marketing strategy.
Fubon, McDonald's offer ATMs
Fubon Commercial Bank (富邦銀行) formed a strategic alliance with McDonald's yesterday to provide automatic teller machine (ATM) services in the nation's biggest hamburger-restaurant chain. Starting Monday, customers can use Fubon ATMs in 273 McDonald's restaurants nationwide for services that include money withdrawals or transfers, cash advances, payments of water or electricity bills and even premiums for mandatory motorcycle insurance, Fubon president James Wu (吳均龐) said. From Monday to Jan. 31, customers who withdraw or transfer amounts over NT$2,000 through these ATMs can enjoy a free McDonald's ice cream, chips or a hamburger, Wu said. To prevent the ATMS from being damaged by criminals, Fubon has cooperated with Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) to establish a far-end video management system to monitor the machines, he said.
Overseas fruit-tastings launched
The Council of Agriculture will launch a series of Taiwan fruit-tasting activities in Malaysia, Canada and the US from today to promote exports of locally grown fruit, officials said yesterday. The tastings will be held at Star Hill Square in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur today and tomorrow, and at San Galtill Superstore and Stater Brother Supermarket in Los Angeles on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14. Similar activities will also be held at major supermarkets in San Francisco and Vancouver. The fruit will include various citrus varieties, star fruit, pineapple, guava, bell fruit, papaya and date preserves.
Taiwan to reduce bank stakes
The government would prefer to reduce its stakes in banks through mergers rather than initial public share sales, the Financial Times reported on its Web site, citing Vice Minister of Finance Susan Chang (張秀蓮). The government plans to reduce its investments in banks by having its holdings diluted through mergers with other companies, Chang said. The government wants to find "new core shareholders" who can help the banks become more profitable, she said. Government-controlled First Financial Holding Co (第一金控) and Hua Nan Financial Holdings Co (華南金控) are the nation's third and fourth-largest banks. Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) is one of the largest remaining independent banks, the report said.
NT dollar rises sharply
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday turned strong against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.012 to close at NT$34.208 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$554 million.