■ Credit Cards
New firm to manage debts
The Bankers Association of the ROC (銀行公會) will create an asset-management company to handle the country's growing credit card debt, the Financial Supervisory Commission said in a statement. The company will manage all banks' non-performing loans to help them clean up their balance sheets, said a commission statement issued late on Friday on its Web site. The company won't force credit-card holders without income to repay loans, it said. Non-performing loans from credit cards totaled around NT$250 billion (US$7.7 billion), according to commission spokesman Lin Chung-cheng (林忠正). Rising defaults forced banks in Taiwan to write off NT$210.8 billion of bad loans and card purchases last year, up 30 percent from 2004, the commission said.
NT$4bn injection expected
The nation's fast-expanding franchise industry is expected to be infused with NT$4 billion (US$123 million) in new investment this year and create more than 10,000 new job opportunities, according to a report released yesterday by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Officials said the country's franchise industry is maturing fast and "performing brilliantly" following the introduction of a US-style franchising system and the know-how of the Japanese distribution network, as well as the entry of new international restaurant chains. As of last year, there were 1,424 franchises in Taiwan representing 180 different industries, with a total of 91,637 stores and sales amounting to NT$1.5 trillion, the ministry said. The figure accounted for 44.22 percent of the country's total sales in the retail and restaurant industries.
■ Auto industry
GM recalls 805,000 trucks
General Motors Corp has recalled more than 805,000 trucks because of defective tailgate cables, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration said on Friday. The cables, which hold the tailgate in a horizontal position, have been shown to corrode over time and can fracture when loads are applied to them. While no injuries were reported, the federal safety administration warned that people could get hurt if they were sitting or standing on the tailgate when the cables broke. The recall affects 1999 and 2000 model years of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks.
Chunghwa Picture in talks
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) is in merger talks that may reach conclusion within six months, the Chinese-language Commercial Times and Economic Daily News reported, citing Lin Wei-shan (林蔚山), president of Tatung Co (大同), parent of Chunghwa Picture. Chunghwa Picture on Sept. 18 denied an Economic Daily News report saying it was in talks to combine with smaller rival Quanta Display Inc (廣輝電子). Quanta Display also denied the report.
■ Auto industry
Toyota, Fuji tackle hybrids
Leading Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to jointly develop hybrid systems with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, a report said yesterday. The firms planned to use the technology in Subaru's Legacy models in two to three years, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said without citing sources. The firms' presidents would announce details tomorrow, it said. Toyota became the top shareholder of Fuji Heavy last year when it purchased Fuji Heavy shares from General Motors.