■ Tsann Kuen probe deepens
Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co (燦坤實業) Chairman Wu Tsan-kun (吳燦坤) is barred from leaving Taiwan amid a probe into suspected illegal sale of shares of a US unit, a Chinese-language business daily reported Thursday, without saying where it obtained the information. Wu is suspected of breaking the nation's Securities and Exchange Law (證交法) and committing other violations, the paper said. He was released on NT$5 million (US$150,000) bail to help Tsann Kuen maintain operations, the paper said. Tsann Kuen Vice President Tien Chu-ying (田竹英) said her company is "quietly waiting for the law enforcement's investigation to proceed," according to the paper. The company, Taiwan's largest electronics retailer by market value, said last month it's under investigation for matters related to the swap of shares two years ago in a US unit. The company denied allegations of embezzlement.
■ Taiwan creating brand names
Premier Yu Shyi-kun said Thursday that Taiwan is gradually moving from customizing on an OEM basis to creating its own brand names. The top 10 Taiwanese brandnames created a production value of NT$140 billion this year, up 15.58 percent from NT$121.1 billion last year, Yu said at the opening of a one-day conference in Taipei of the Marketing Communication Executives International (MCEI) on Asian brand names in the world. The production value of the top three Taiwanese brands -- Trend Micro (趨勢), Asustek (華碩) and Acer -- increased to NT$80.2 billion, or a growth of 18.38 percent, he added.
■ New mall to open Nov. 19
The Miramar Entertainment Park (美麗華百樂園), a shopping mall integrated with entertainment facilities, is slated to open doors for business in Taipei's Dazhi district on Nov. 19, the company announced Thursday. The mall boasts the nation's first Ferris wheel atop the building, IMAX movie theater, theme restaurants and various luxury brands to compete in the already crowded market in the capital. Aside from discount sales, it also features a "shopping queen" activity on the inauguration day. Whoever spends the most on the first day will be awarded a 1.126-carat diamond ring with a market value of NT$613,000 (US$18,400).
■ Optoelectronics sees growth
Taiwan's optoelectronics industry posted a more than 40 percent annual growth rate in its output value for the first three quarters of this year, a research unit under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) reported Wednesday. The MOEA's Industrial Technology Information Services (ITIS) said that the industry's production value for the first nine months totaled NT$746.3 billion (US$22.3 billion), up by 44.9 percent over the previous year's record. The ITIS forecast that its production value for the whole of this year will amount to NT$1.135 trillion, a 38 percent increase compared to the 2003 level.
■ Investment plans up
A total of 241 investment venture plans were approved by the government in 2003, up by 24 from the 2002 number, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS). Investment capital worth NT$16.54 billion (US$493.4 million) was funneled into the domestic market, with a focus on the semiconductor and optoelectronics industries, which accounted for a combined 40 percent of the total investment value, DGBAS said.