Taiwan seeks consolidation
Taiwan's government is calling for consolidation of the nation's flat-panel display makers to compete with global rivals, a Chinese-language newspaper reported citing Vice Premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義). Flat-panel display makers may follow the example of the island's financial institutions, which have been combining into holding companies, the Taipei-based newspaper said, citing Wu. South Korea and Taiwan each takes about 40 percent of the global flat-panel display market, the report said. Consolidation may help Taiwan companies like AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) compete with rivals such as LG.Philips LCD Co, the report said.
■ Free Trade
No Japan-Australia talks
Japan has decided not to pursue free trade talks with Australia because of concerns that its agricultural industry could be harmed, a news report said yesterday. The two countries were expected to agree to launch free trade negotiations when Australian Prime Minister John Howard visits Japan next week. But Tokyo has decided to put those discussions on hold and instead suggested exploring other ways to strengthen bilateral economic ties through mutual investment and deregulation, the Nihon Keizai business daily reported without naming its sources.
Fuji TV buys Nippon stake
Fuji Television Network Inc has offered to buy Livedoor Co's majority stake in radio station Nippon Broadcasting System Inc for ?6,300 per share, Kyodo News said. The ?140 billion (US$1.3 billion) proposal is to settle Fuji's dispute with Internet provider Livedoor over control of Nippon Broadcasting, the report said, citing unnamed sources at Fujisankei Communications Group, which runs the television and radio stations. The offer is almost the same as the amount Livedoor paid to acquire its interest in Nippon Broadcasting.
■ Financial Services
Citigroup earnings rise
Giant Citigroup, the world's largest financial- services company, Friday reported a 3.2 percent rise in first quarter earnings over last year's first quarter, thanks to fewer credit losses and brisk global consumer business. Net earnings were US$5.44 billion, and revenue was US$21.5 billion. The company was considering buying back as much as US$15 billion more in stock. Profits in the global consumer sector were up 9 percent to US$2.8 billion, the company said. Large gains were also reported in the Alternative Investments unit, where profit increased more than ten fold to US$362 million from US$26 million in the same period last year.
Newspaper profit fall
The owners the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times both reported falling operating profits Thursday. Dow Jones reported a sharp decline in quarterly earnings as its flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, continued to struggle in a tough advertising climate. Profits at group level fell to US$8.2 million against US$17.8 million in the same period a year earlier. The New York Times Company reported first-quarter profits of US$111 million, up from US$58.4 million a year earlier. The gain, though, was entirely due to the sale of its headquarters in New York City. The firm is due to move into a new building in 2007. Without the gain, profits fell to US$43.2 million.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca