■ Tax take rose last year
Government revenue for last year amounted to NT$1.56 trillion (US$48.6 billion), which was NT$184.6 billion ahead of target, according to tallies released yesterday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics. Compared with the level for 2004, the figure represents an increase of NT$177 billion. The revenue from income tax increased by 37.2 percent from 2004 to stand at NT$625.7 billion last year, which was NT$169.8 billion in excess of the target amount, with the revenue from corporate income tax rising by NT$88 billion and individual income tax jumping by NT$81.8 billion. Revenue from commodity taxes and custom duties increased NT$8.5 billion and NT$3.5 billion respectively. However, revenue from securities transaction taxes decreased by NT$15.9 billion owing to a decline in stock turnover.
■ New investment rules
The government plans to make companies seek permission before investing in China via a third country, the Commercial Times reported, citing National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁). Local companies have been investing through third countries to avoid the government's restrictions on direct investment in China. The government will consider allowing Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶) and ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德) to invest in China after the companies supply the government with sufficient information, the Taipei-based newspaper reported, citing Chiou.
■ Big plans for commerce
The Ministry of Economic Affairs on Tuesday unveiled a five-year development plan for the commercial sector. The ministry aims to increase the GDP of the business service industry from the present NT$2.8 trillion to NT$4 trillion by 2010 and to raise the value of exports by the industry from NT$3.4 trillion to NT$5 trillion. The ministry also wants to increase the industry's workforce from 2.83 million people to 3.03 million, boost research and development investment from NT$15.3 billion to NT$30 billion, raise sales in e-commerce from NT$51.1 billion to NT$200 billion and see the number of international franchise headquarters in Taiwan increase from 115 to 200. The plan was released during a national commercial development conference which concluded on Tuesday.
■ Sharp lifts forecast
Sharp Corp, the world's biggest maker of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions, raised its forecast for sales in the next business year to a record because of demand for flat panels and solar cells. The Japanese company said at a press briefing that it expects LCD television sales to jump 50 percent to 6 million units in the year starting April 1, fueling revenue of ¥3 trillion (US$26 billion), compared with its previous forecast of ¥2.75 trillion. Sharp is forecasting a third year of record profit because of rising demand for its Aquos-brand LCD televisions ahead of sporting events such as the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. Sharp said LCD sales would contribute ?980 billion to revenue for the year starting April 1. The company has said it expects total sales of ¥2.54 trillion in the current business year, which ends in March.
■ NT dollar creeps lower
The New Taiwan dollar continued edging down against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.049 to close at NT$32.070 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$1.024 billion, compared with US$752 million the previous day.