Taiwan may depart IPR list
The nation is likely to be removed from the US' Special 301 priority watch list monitoring intellectual property rights violations in mid-January next year, an Intellectual Property Office (IPO) official said yesterday.
"We are optimistic about that prospect," IPO deputy director general Jack Lu (盧文祥) said in a phone interview. "The nation deserves a favorable result to come out in mid-January next year after the efforts we have made in cracking down on piracy."
The IPO previously expected the US to announce the outcome of its non-periodical review of the Special 301 priority watch list by the middle of this month, following the bilateral talks on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in Washington in late last month.
Taiwan's piracy rate dropped to 43 percent last year from 53 percent the previous year, marking the largest decrease worldwide, according to figures provided by the non-profit Business Software Alliance.
Airlines halt flights to Phuket
Taiwan's two international air carriers that operate flights to the Thai island of Phuket -- China Airlines (華航) and UNI Airways (立榮) -- announced yesterday that services to that destination will be suspended starting tomorrow and Friday, respectively.
A massive tsunami on Sunday seriously damaged the popular tropical island. The airlines said tour groups and individual tourists can refund plane tickets without having to pay additional fees.
Web security services rise
The nation's online information security market hit NT$9.07 billion, growing 24 percent from a year ago, and will hit NT$17 billion by 2007 as online sabotage activities rise, a report released by the Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心) said yesterday.
With the threat of hackers and computer worms on the rise, companies tend to outsource its system security to online service providers instead of purchasing anti-virus products, Fang I-wen (方怡文), an analyst with the MIC, said at a press conference.
The report indicates that by 2007, security services will account for about 51 percent of online security spending, up from 42 percent this year.
China Motor inks partnership
Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Japan's sole unprofitable carmaker, said it may buy a stake in Southeast Motors Co (東南汽車), a venture between Taiwan's China Motor Corp (中華汽車) to expand in China's Fujian province.
Mitsubishi Motors agreed with China Motor to join management of Southeast, including acquiring a stake, the Tokyo-based carmaker said in a statement distributed at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Mitsubishi Motors, which has a stake in one carmaker and two engine makers in China, aims to make Southeast the center of its production and marketing in China.
Yang Ming-te (楊明德), general manager at China Motor's public affairs office, said on Dec. 22 that his company wants Mitsubishi Motors to invest in Southeast Motor to enable the venture to sell Mitsubishi-brand cars in China. Southeast Motors already makes Lioncel compact cars, which are based on Mitsubishi's Lancer models.
NPL ratio declines
The nation's bad-loan ratio, including loans under surveillance, fell slightly to 4.35 percent in November from 4.51 percent in October, according to statistics released by Financial Supervisory Commission yesterday.
As of the end of November, banks had non-performing loans of around NT$668.5 billion, down from September's NT$684.9 billion.