Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Electronics boost TAIEX

Share prices closed 0.3 percent higher yesterday, extending gains for a fourth day as gains in select electronics majors provided support, dealers said.

They said trade continued to be cautious given that the recent bounce-back above the key 6,000 points level appeared to have been supported by the government and lacked conviction.

The TAIEX closed up 18.20 points at 6,142.12, on turnover of NT$86.71 billion (US$2.61 billion).

Despite the headline index gain, breadth overall was negative as declines led risers 521 to 408, with 154 stocks unchanged.

Dealers said the tone was cautious and investors -- in particular, chart watchers -- were not ready to push share prices much further.

■ He Jian boss cooperating

The head of He Jian Technology (Suzhou) Co (和艦科技) said yesterday that he would cooperate with Taiwanese prosecutors investigating the company's relationship with United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), Taiwan's second-biggest chipmaker.

"I will cooperate with the investigation, and within law and reason, hope to minimize its damage on He Jian," Hsu Chien-hwa (徐建華) said outside a Taiwanese court in remarks broadcast on TVBS News.

UMC spokesman Alex Hinnawi offered no comment.

The government has said UMC's acquisition of a 15 percent stake in He Jian may break the nation's laws on investment in China.

UMC stockholders on June 13 passed a resolution to receive the stake in He Jian, worth US$110 million, in compensation for "past assistance" and future cooperation.

■ Chip sales up 1.7%

Worldwide semiconductor sales climbed 1.7 percent to US$18.6 billion in August from a year earlier and are "on pace" for a record this year, the Semiconductor Industry Association said.

Global sales rose 3.2 percent from July, the California-based SIA said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. Gains were led by a surge in sales in Asia.

The August results, however, don't include the possible negative impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on US consumer spending, the trade group said.

"End markets for semiconductors continue to be very strong," SIA president George Scalise said in the statement.

"We remain cautious about consumer confidence, especially in the United States, where the effects of the two recent hurricanes and the subsequent sharp rise in gasoline prices are not reflected in the August sales numbers," Scalise said.

By region, Asia Pacific had the largest month-on-month gain, rising 4.8 percent. Sales there grew 13 percent from a year earlier, offsetting declines in all other regions.

■ Sony boss vows to fight back

Sony Corp, the world's second-biggest consumer electronics maker, must do more to respond to the demands of the market as competition from China and South Korea drives down prices, chief executive Howard Stringer said.

"Competition in the industry is fierce and now coming from sources we never had to face in the past," he said in a speech yesterday at an industry conference in Japan. "This challenge is a wake-up call for all of us in the consumer electronics industry."

Sony has ceded market share in portable music players, TVs and other product categories it used to lead because it was slow to adopt technologies such as liquid crystal displays and couldn't keep up with price cuts triggered by Taiwanese, Chinese and other Asian makers.

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