Fri, Jan 16, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Wall Street drags TAIEX lower

The TAIEX closed down 4.44 percent yesterday, tracking Wall Street’s overnight fall and weaker regional markets, dealers said.

The weighted index fell 200.7 points to 4,320.77 on turnover of NT$54.2 billion (US$1.64 billion). Losers led gainers by 1,531 to 134, with 84 stocks unchanged.

The local bourse “will decline for the rest of the week unless US shares make a strong rebound,” Mega International Investment Service (兆豐國際投顧) trader Stanley Chou said.

China Southern opens office

China Southern Airlines Co (中國南方航空) opened a representative office in Taipei yesterday, becoming the first Chinese airline to gain a foothold in the Taiwanese market.

Si Xianmin (司獻民), chairman of the Chinese carrier, opened the office in Taipei’s Minsheng E Road. The aim of the office is to promote China Southern’s business links in Taiwan and it will not sell plane tickets, which are sold by Taiwanese travel agencies.

China Southern has 342 planes serving 841 destinations worldwide. It ranked as No. 1 in Asia and No. 4 in the world in terms of passenger volumes last year, International Air Transport Association data showed.

Realtors warn of closures

Scores of property developers and traders complained yesterday about unfair competition on the part of farmers’ associations that are brokering real estate properties without being regulated by the government.

David Wei (魏嘉銘), chairman of Chai Pan Construction Co (嘉盤建設), urged the government to subject the associations to real estate industry management rules or more than 5,000 licensed realties would be in danger of closing.

Wei said the associations, created to help farmers settle deals for land, have also engaged in brokering housing units and charged lower fees.

Yang Yao-long (楊耀龍), director-general of Chinese Association of Real Estate brokers, said realtors would take drastic steps if the government ignored their grievance.

STMicro now No. 1 for MEMS

STMicroelectronics NV has become the world’s biggest maker of motion-sensing chips used in consumer and mobile applications, such as Nintendo Co’s Wii video-game console and Apple Inc’s iPhone, iSuppli Corp said.

Revenue in the micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) business jumped to more than $209 million last year from US$96 million a year earlier, the Geneva-based semiconductor maker said in a statement, citing iSuppli figures. STMicro previously ranked No. 4 in the production of such sensors.

STMicro, which began manufacturing MEMS devices in 2000, invested US$40 million in 2006 to set up the world’s “most advanced” production line for such sensors in Agrate, near Milan, Italy. The move helped it more than double the chips manufactured while “significantly” cutting costs.

ASML says outlook is grim

ASML Holding NV, a key supplier to Intel Corp and other computer chip makers, on Monday reported a net loss for the fourth quarter caused by restructuring charges and weak demand.

The net loss was 88 million euros (US$116 million), compared with a net profit of 173 million euros in the same period a year ago. Sales were 494 million euros, down 48 percent, and the company’s outlook for this year was grim.

“The severity of the global economic downturn has caused semiconductor manufacturers to delay their investment plans,” chief executive Eric Meurice said in a statement. “The uncertainty as to the timing of a semiconductor end-product demand pickup ... makes a recovery prediction impossible.”

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