China rare earth quotas dip
China’s first round of rare earth export quotas for this year were actually cut by about half from first round quotas for last year, the China Securities Journal reported, citing an unidentified official. The 16,304 tonne quota from last year doesn’t include exports by foreign companies, while the 14,446 tonne quota for this year does include shipments by foreign companies, according to the Beijing-based newspaper. It didn’t give figures showing a decline of about half in the first round rare earth quotas. China also may not publicly announce a second round of rare earth quotas, the newspaper cited the official as saying.
Skype not banned in China
Skype Technologies SA, the world’s largest carrier of international phone calls, said its services in China remain operational after the country said it’s cracking down on “illegal” Internet phone companies. “Skype is not banned,” Jennifer Caukin, a Palo Alto, California-based spokeswoman for the service provider, said in an e-mail. “Our users in China currently can access Skype via Tom Online, our majority joint venture partner.” China is working to fight “illegal Internet phone services,” the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a Dec. 10 posting on its Web site. The notice, which didn’t define “illegal” services or name any companies, was primarily to announce a consumer hotline for reporting any unauthorized services.
Nintendo issues warning
Nintendo Co says 3D games on its highly anticipated new handheld console could harm the eyesight of children aged 6 or younger, warning of possible ill effects from a technology on which many companies are betting big. Nintendo said some specialists believe that “there is a possibility that 3D images, which send different images to the left and right eye, could affect the development of vision in small children.” The undated statement appeared on a section of the company’s Japanese Web site devoted to its upcoming 3DS handheld.
Borders delays payments
Bookseller Borders Group Inc is delaying payments to some of its vendors, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday. The news came just weeks after the company said it was trying to obtain new financing to avoid violating the terms of its credit agreements early this year. “As part of this potential refinancing, Borders has determined that it is necessary to restructure its vendor financing arrangements and is delaying payments to certain of its vendors,” Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis said by telephone. The company, however, said: “There can be no assurance that it will be successful in refinancing its senior credit facilities or restructuring its vendor financing arrangements.”
Virus most powerful yet
A powerful virus targeting smartphones in China running Google Inc’s Android operating system may represent the most sophisticated bug to target mobile devices to date, security researchers said on Thursday. Anti-virus firm Lookout Mobile Security estimates that the number of phones that have been infected by the virus, dubbed Geinimi, ranges from the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. Researchers said the virus has yet to wreak havoc and that they were unsure what its authors were seeking to accomplish.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and