Carrefour to add three stores
Carrefour Taiwan, the nation's largest hypermarket chain, expects to add three new stores in the north this year to its existing 37, spokesman Allan Tien (田中玉) said yesterday.
Although small rivals are conservative about store expansion plans this year as consumer bad loans are weakening people's consumption power, Carrefour remains aggressive, seeing huge opportunities in second or third-tier cities, Tien said.
Carrefour also expects to take over British retailer Tesco's six outlets and two development sites in Taiwan this year following an asset-swap deal. But the original merger date of May 1 will have to be delayed as Slovakia's fair trade commission has not yet granted its approval, he said.
The pending acquisition has slashed Tesco Stores (Taiwan) Co's revenues by 20 percent, as long-term marketing campaigns can't be launched to attract customers, he added.
Automation fair opens
The Tainan Automation Industry Exhibition opened yesterday, with 217 exhibitors from home and abroad taking part.
Exhibitors are displaying their wares in 550 stalls at the exhibition, which is held at the Taiwan BERU Exhibition Center in Jente Township (仁德), Tainan County.
The Kaohsiung-based Metal Industries Research and Development Center occupies its own special area where it displays its research results with a focus on micro-mold and die technology.
The exhibition will be open from 10am to 6pm daily through Tuesday. Entry is free.
Investors to be lured back
The Ministry of Economic Affairs unveiled a new loan project on Thursday to attract overseas Taiwanese businesspeople to return home to rebuild their business.
According to the draft plan, the Executive Yuan will appropriate NT$200 billion (US$6.19 billion) for offering low-interest loans to Taiwanese businesspeople who have invested in other countries, including China, and now intend to launch new investment projects at home.
The new loan project will be put into practice by the end of next month if all goes well, ministry officials said.
It will enable prospective investors to apply for loans for land acquisition, factory construction, procurement of automated production facilities and pollution-control equipment, as well as manpower training, research and development, and short-term working capital.
HSBC poll shows pessimism
About 24 percent of the nation's middle-market enterprises -- companies with annual turnover between US$45 million and US$1.3 billion -- said they considered the current world economy to be "good" and 17 percent said they expected it to improve by the end of the year, according to a company survey.
But 36 percent said the economy is now "fairly bad" or "very bad" and 23 percent expect conditions to become worse by the end of the year, according to the latest Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC) survey.
The survey, covering 4,000 businesses in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, also showed that 70 percent of China's middle-market enterprises are happy with the current world economy, while 41 percent of middle-market enterprises in Hong Kong considered the current economy to be "very good" or "fairly good," according to the survey.
NT dollar remains strong
The New Taiwan dollar remained strong against its US counterpart yesterday, edging up NT$0.002 to close at NT$32.309 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.