Notebooks outsell PCs in US
In a sure sign that the era of mobile computing has arrived, notebooks have for the first time outsold desktops in the US in a calendar month, the research firm Current Analysis says. After tracking sales from a sampling of electronics retailers, Current Analysis says notebook sales accounted for 53 percent of the total personal computer market last month, up from 46 percent during the same period last year. San Diego-based Current Analysis does not follow worldwide personal computer sales. Spurring demand for notebooks is their overall price drop as quality has improved, says Sam Bhavnani, senior analyst for Current Analysis. Notebook prices fell 17 percent during the past year while desktop prices dipped only 4 percent.
HannStar mulls merger
HannStar Display Corp (瀚羽彩晶) may seek to merge with rival Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) or Innolux Display Corp (群創光電), the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported, citing unidentified people in the industry. The Walsin Lihwa Group (華新麗華集團), which controls HannStar, plans to sell some of its businesses, the newspaper cited Walsin Lihwa Corp chairman Chiao You-lun (焦佑倫) as saying. HannStar Display, Innolux, and Chi Mei all declined to comment, the newspaper said. HannStar Display, Taiwan's fifth-largest maker of flat-panel displays by market value, had a NT$4.5 billion (US$144 million) loss in the first quarter. Innolux Display is a unit of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), Taiwan's largest electronics company by sales.
Japan increases lending
Japan's seven biggest lenders are increasing loans to real-estate businesses as land prices in metropolitan area have stopped falling, boosting construction, the Nihon Keizai reported, citing the Bank of Japan. New loans to the real-estate industry by domestic banks jumped 15.3 percent to ?8.17 trillion (US$75.9 billion) in the fiscal year ended on March 31, the newspaper said. The increase is driven by so-called nonrecourse loans, a type of lending that is restricted to a specific real estate business, the paper said. The balance of nonrecourse loans held by Japan's seven biggest lenders topped ?4 trillion (US$37.1 billion) at the end of March, an increase of 50 percent on the year, the paper said. Under nonrecourse loans, funds are provided for a specific real-estate project, and repayment is limited to the profits generated by that particular venture, putting the focus on profitability from rent and other income, the paper said.