■ AUO manufacturing backlights
AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world's third-largest liquid-crystal display maker, said it had started making backlights for its own television panels to cut costs.
"We formed a subsidiary in the second half of last year to expand into backlight manufacturing, and production has commenced," Hsiao Ya-wen (蕭雅文), a spokeswoman for the Hsinchu-based company, said by telephone yesterday. She declined to state the proportion of backlights the company would make for its own use, or say how much it would save.
AU Optronics aims to reduce spending and costs to bolster earnings, after its second-quarter profit plunged amid an industry glut. The company plans to make about 50 percent of the backlights used in its TV displays, compared with 100 percent sourced from local suppliers currently, the Commercial Times reported yesterday.
AU Optronics on July 25 reported second-quarter profit dropped 61 percent to NT$182 million (US$5.6 million) after panel prices fell and sales during soccer's World Cup failed to meet expectations.
■ Hon Hai invests in Shanxi
Taiwan's Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團) said yesterday it plans to join forces with China's Shanxi Lanhua Group (山西蘭花集團) and Indonesia's Sinar Mas to set up a US$1.8 billion petrochemical venture in Shanxi Province.
A Hon Hai official said the joint venture is expected to produce methanol and related petrochemical products.
The three parties have signed a preliminary agreement for the joint venture but details for the investment time-frame need to be hammered out.
"As an electronics maker, Hon Hai eyes the joint venture's products, in particular polyacetal, which is necessary for high tech product manufacturing," the official said.
"The joint venture is expected to take advantage of Shanxi's abundant natural resources, including coal and natural gas," he added.
■ Sellers plan Yahoo-Kimo protest
An association composed of vendors who use the Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩) auction site are planning to launch a protest against the nation's largest online auctioneer, after Yahoo-Kimo announced last week it would begin charging sellers a transaction handling fee starting on Aug. 10.
As Yahoo-Kimo canceled the accounts of some users in southern Taiwan, presumably because of comments they made about the new charging system, the association may also protest to the American Institute in Taiwan over violations of freedom of speech, one member said.
The association claimed the new charge was unreasonable, because of Yahoo-Kimo's poor customer service. Yahoo-Kimo currently charges sellers a listing fee of NT$3 per item.
■ Sogo reopens after fire
After closing its doors for four days after a fire broke out, Pacific Sogo Department Store's (太平洋崇光百貨) flagship store on Zhongxiao East Road resumed operations yesterday. Revenue losses were estimated to be in the region of NT$200 million and the company is still negotiating with insurance firms over compensation, said spokesman James Wang Kuo (汪郭鼎松).
He made the remarks during a press conference after the company passed a safety check.
The branch will not have storewide sales due to the fire although some clothing brands are offering big discounts to dispose of smoke-tainted products, he said.
■ NT gains on greenback
The New Taiwan dollar advanced against the US dollar, rising NT$0.039 to close at NT$32.756 on the Taipei foreign exchange market yesterday. Turnover was US$777 million.