Early warning system begins
A Philippine charity said yesterday it had launched a novel early warning system for disaster-prone areas using BlackBerry devices and laptops. The devices are hooked to a text message system that would immediately alert communities to typhoons, storm surges, tsunamis, landslides and earthquakes, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) said. The US$200,000 project was carried out with the World Bank and one of the country’s leading mobile phone operators, said PBSP, which is funded by the country’s top chief executives. The areas covered by the project are all in Leyte province in the central Visayas region, which lies along a fault line and is also often battered by powerful typhoons.
Mumbai home prices drop
Mumbai home prices have declined 20 percent from their peak this year as lower sales, higher land values and increased borrowing costs forced developers to reduce prices to woo buyers, according to Jones Lang LaSalle India. Home prices, which increased 30 to 60 percent last year, have returned to 2008 levels, Sanjay Dutt, chief executive officer of business at the Indian unit of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc said in a report yesterday. Dutt expects prices to remain at these levels until the monsoon season ends in September. The central bank’s eighth interest rate increase this year to curb inflation has led to tighter liquidity and higher borrowing costs for developers. Many property companies raised capital at interest rates of between 21 percent and 25 percent from finance companies, Dutt said, while sales volume dropped by about 50 percent.
New Boeing jet takes off
US aerospace giant Boeing’s newest and biggest jumbo jet, the 747-8 Intercontinental, made its maiden flight on Sunday, watched closely by aviation fans and European rival Airbus. The new version of the classic double-decker 747 took off into nearly cloudless skies at 9:58am from Paine Field Airport near Boeing’s Seattle headquarters. Boeing’s largest passenger plane, the 747-8, can carry 467 passengers in a three-class configuration and is designed for long-haul routes. The plane is a longer and more fuel-efficient update of Boeing’s double-decker 747 jumbo jet and it will compete with Airbus’ A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane.
Fuel subsidy policy delayed
Indonesia said yesterday it would hold off implementing a plan to exclude private cars from using subsidized fuel, amid concerns over a sharp rise in global oil prices. The policy, which was scheduled to be rolled out next month, has been pushed by the IMF and the World Bank as a means of unlocking funds for infrastructure development in the country. However, Indonesian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Darwin Zahedy Saleh told parliament: “The government considers it necessary to consider the appropriate timing for the implementation of subsidized fuel policy.” Oil prices have soared in the past two months as oil-rich countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been hit by protests, leading to supply fears.
Tesco halts Japan fish sales
Tesco PLC’s South Korean unit plans to halt sales of some fish imported from Japan because of consumer concern about radiation in Japanese fresh foods, it said in an e-mailed statement. The retailer will halt sales starting today, Homeplus Co, the unit, said in the statement.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be