■ Exports hit new high
Exports rose faster than expected last month to a record high on strong demand for electronics goods from Hong Kong, China, the US and South Korea, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement yesterday. Exports grew 15 percent to US$18.8 billion last month, higher than the average forecast of 8.9 percent in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of economists. The growth rate was also higher than March's growth rate of 7.1 percent. Export value surpassed the previous record of US$18.792 billion hit in October. Imports rose 5 percent from the same month last year to US$16.42 billion, the ministry said. That was in line with expectations and reversing March's 0.5 percent decline. The figures resulted in a trade surplus of US$2.4 billion.
■ Asustek HQ moves offshore
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) has chosen Singapore as the location for its new international headquarters, officials said in a newspaper report yesterday. The company, one of the world's largest manufacturers of PC motherboards, graphics cards and notebook computers, would centralize business functions in the city-state, the firm's first international base outside Taiwan, Benson Lin (林宗樑), president of Asustek Asia-Pacific, told the Business Times. Singapore will be a nerve centre for a large part of Asustek' global operations, serving countries in North and South-East Asia, Europe, the US and Africa. The company is also planning to set up its first overseas research and development center in the city-state in the near future, Lin said. Asustek plans to increase its Singapore headcount from 20 to 80 by the end of the year.
■ High Tech unveils new phone
High Tech Computer Corp (宏達電), the world's biggest maker of mobile phones operating on Microsoft Corp's system, yesterday unveiled its first clamshell phone in London. The latest smartphone is slated to hit the stores of European channel distributors next month, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Later this year, the company said it would also offer the model for its operator customers. Mobile carriers Vodafone and T-Mobile are two of High Tech's major clients in Europe.
■ Li Shin shares slide
Shares of Li Shin International Enterprise Corp (力信興業), a switch power supply maker, dropped by 2.86 percent to close at NT$32.25 yesterday, after Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) said it has worked with Chinese custom officials to inspect and detain products shipped by Lin Shin's subsidiary Logah Technology Corp (力銘科技) to China last Friday. Hon Hai made the announcement in a filing to Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday. Hon Hai sued Logah for infringing its LCD-inverter related patents in Feburary and requested Hsinchu District Court enforce a provisional seizure of up to NT$180 million (US$5,7 million) worth of Logah's assets.
■ NT dollar gains ground
The NT dollar gained ground against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, increasing NT$0.266 to close at NT$31.380. A total of US$1.24 billion changed hands. The NT dollar may climb further to NT$31.1 within the next month, said Sean Callow, a currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in Singapore. The local currency will be boosted on speculation that overseas funds will add to their holdings of the local bourse as growth in the economy gathers pace.