Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ LABOR

Employees protest layoffs

More than 100 employees protested yesterday at the Taiwan Fluorescent Lamp Co (台灣日光燈) after the local lamp maker unexpectedly announced it would lay off 300 employees, local cable TV channel ETTV reported. The report also said Taiwan Fluorescent would suspend operations at some of its factories, without elaborating. Taiwan Fluorescent was founded in 1954 in Jhutung Township (竹東), Hsinchu County, and is the largest light manufacturer and supplier in the country. It has NT$20 billion (US$621.6 million) in real estate assets in Sindian (新店), Jhubei (竹北) and Bali (八里), the report said. The company was delisted from the local bourse last July, following a series of financial difficulties, the report said.

■ PETROLEUM

Gas prices to stay same

State-run CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) announced on Friday that gasoline and diesel fuel prices will remain unchanged this month. Prices of natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and fuel oil will also be maintained at the current level to help stabilize consumer prices and boost industrial competitiveness, CPC said in a statement. As a result, prices will remain at NT$32.2 per liter for 98-octane unleaded gasoline, NT$30.7 per liter for 95-octane unleaded, NT$30 per liter for 92-octane unleaded, and NT$27.5 per liter for super diesel fuel.Had it followed a floating price mechanism the government introduced in January last year, however, CPC would have raised the price of gasoline by more than NT$2 a liter.

■ RETAIL

Giant Hello Kitty unveiled

Hello Kitty may already loom large in the hearts of millions around the world, but now the bubble-headed feline can boast of being just plain big, too. Japan's Sanrio Co unveiled a 2.5m tall monument to its popular character at its flagship store in Tokyo's bustling Shinjuku District. "Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world, so Kitty must be here and must be big," Sanrio official Shuichi Chimura said. "She is really loved worldwide. This way, every person in the world can come here and see and touch Hello Kitty." The statue is the largest Hello Kitty figure in the world, the company said.

■ INTERNET

Another undersea cable cut

Another undersea Internet cable has been damaged, adding to the disruption in Indian online services caused when several lines were cut earlier this week, a cable operating firm said yesterday. The Falcon cable was cut 56km from Dubai, between Oman and the United Arab Emirates, according to its owner FLAG Telecom, part of India's Reliance Communications. The company said on its Web site that a repair ship had been notified and was expected to arrive at the site in the next few days. The cause of the latest cable damage was not immediately known. Flag Telecom also owns the undersea cable that was damaged off Egypt on Wednesday.

■ AUTOMOBILES

Toyota mulls China plant

Japanese auto giant Toyota is considering building a new plant in China to boost its presence in the country's rapidly growing car market, the Nikkei Shimbun reported yesterday. Toyota Motor Corp is studying a plan to build a new assembly factory in Changchun, Jilin Province, with an annual production capacity estimated at 100,000 units, the business daily said. It would likely invest US$469 million to construct the plant, with operations expected to begin in the early 2010s.

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