■ Yeh talks up Cabinet
Incoming Premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) new Cabinet will be able to pump up the nation's economy, Council for Economic Planning and Development Vice Chairman Thomas Yeh (葉明峰) said yesterday. Yeh said the new Cabinet will prop up business confidence in the economy with a clear China investment policy. Yeh made the remarks after an annual poll of small and medium-sized companies conducted in October by a US-based group found that Taiwan ranked bottom in terms of business confidence among the 30 countries surveyed. According to the results of the Grant Thornton International Business Owners Survey, India, Ireland, South Africa, China and the Philippines were the front-runners, while Taiwan moved down four notches from a similar survey a year earlier. Taiwan was the sole country in Asia whose position fell on the list. The government will pay heed to the opinions of Taiwanese enterprises that were reflected in the survey, and local businesses will be better aligned with the government's "active management, effective opening" cross-strait investment policy, Yeh said.
■ Asustek targets 40% sales rise
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) forecast 40 percent sales growth to NT$500 billion (US$15.6 billion) this year, up from NT$350 billion last year, chairman Johnny Shih (施崇棠) was reported as saying yesterday. The company aims to deliver 60 million motherboards this year, up 15 percent from last year, the Chinese-language Commercial Times quoted Shih as saying. Shih said Asustek will seek to become the No. 1 branded supplier of notebook computers for ethnic-Chinese consumers around the world, with its shipments expected to grow 60 percent to 6 million units this year. The company also aims to deliver 3 million handsets this year, up from 1 million last year, he added. As for the company's newly introduced television sets fitted with LCD flat screens, the sales target is 800 units per month this year, the report said.
■ Handset shipments surging
Taiwan's handset makers are expected to produce 139 million mobile phones this year, almost double from last year, the DigiTimes reported, citing its own research. Taiwan's handset makers last year shipped 73.8 million mobile phones, up 34 percent from a year earlier, and took a 9.2 percent share of the global market, the Taipei-based newspaper said. Taiwanese handset shipments this year are expected to reach 139 million and account for 14.6 percent of the global market, the paper said.
■ Taipower sees losses this year
Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) estimated on Monday that it would lose NT$23 billion (US$718.75 million) this year due to rising fuel costs. Taipower officials said with the hike in fuel prices in recent years, the company originally estimated that it would lose NT$6.44 billion last year, but thanks to cost-saving efforts and improved distribution efficiency, it turned out a pre-tax profit of NT$928 million. It originally estimated that losses this year would be NT$18 billion, but with the surging price of crude oil, its losses will likely reach NT$23 billion.
■ NT dollar gains ground
The New Taiwan dollar gained ground against its US counterpart yesterday, rising NT$0.03 to close at NT$31.980 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. A total of US$859 million changed hands during the day's trading.