Tue, Feb 22, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs 

AGENCIES

Petroleum University' opens

A training program described as a "Petroleum University" affiliated to the Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油) opened in Chiayi yesterday.

CPC Chairman Kuo Chin-tsai (郭進財) said the program is aimed at cultivating its personnel's professional skills and welcome the era of globalization.

The program focuses on four elements of the petroleum industry: petroleum refining, oil extraction, petroleum marketing and petroleum engineering. CPC executives and academic experts will offer hands-on training relating to the petroleum industry, according to CPC president Chen Bao-lang (陳寶郎), who doubles as head of the program.

Current-account surplus shrinks

Taiwan's current-account surplus, the broadest measure of the flow of goods and services, narrowed in the fourth quarter to US$2.17 billion from a record US$8.04 billion a year earlier, the central bank said in a statement.

The financial account, which measures investment flows, had an outflow of US$1.97 billion, shrinking from a revised outflow of US$6.35 billion in the previous quarter, it said. Direct investment showed a net outflow of US$1.66 billion. Portfolio investment had a net inflow of US$1.92 billion in the fourth quarter, the report said.

Chunghwa Picture to expand

Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) has hired four banks to arrange a US$200 million loan to expand production, the International Financing Review reported, without citing a source.

Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行), Chiao Tung Bank (交通銀行), Citigroup Inc and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫) were hired to arrange the five-year loan in US dollars and New Taiwan dollars, the report said.

The four banks will invite other banks to join the US dollar part of the loan this week, which is likely to carry an interest rate 85 basis points more than the London interbank offered rate, the same rate as a five-year US$150 million loan the company signed last year, the report said.

UMC tackles auto electronics

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) is entering the auto-electronics industry by investing in Bcom Electronics Inc (公信電子), a Chinese-language business daily reported, without citing a source.

UMC will own more than half of Bcom Electronics, the Taipei-based newspaper said. The report didn't say how much the investment is worth. UMC vice chairman John Hsuan (宣明智) may become chairman of Bcom after Bcom's shareholders meet this month, the newspaper said.

Japan leads mobile Web use

A recent global survey shows that Taiwan's mobile Internet usage rate reached 43 percent last year, lagging behind Japan's 64 percent, South Korea's 51 percent and Hong Kong's 55 percent.

The "Worldwide Mobile Internet Survey" was conducted by the authoritative Taiwanese Web site Focus on Internet News and Data (www.find.org.tw), along with similar facilities in other countries and areas including Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, the US, Finland and Greece in October and November last year.

According to survey results, Taiwanese users spent an average of 21.3 minutes on mobile Internet services in the most recent month that the poll was carried out, compared with 22.1 minutes in South Korea, 29.1 minutes in Hong Kong and 33.5 minutes in Japan.

In terms of the monthly amount of money that online users paid for their mobile Internet services last year, Taiwan also saw the smallest average figure of NT$168.6 (US$5.36) among its neighbors, while Japanese users spent NT$671.9 on average, followed by NT$301.6 in South Korea and NT$204.1 in Hong Kong.

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