Samsung rejects claims
A study commissioned by Samsung Electronics rejected assertions that employees might have been exposed to carcinogenic chemicals at its plants, as several cancer-stricken former employees of the world’s largest maker of memory chips seek compensation for their illnesses. Despite the findings, the South Korean firm said it would consider offering financial support for some of its former employees diagnosed with cancer, following allegations by civic groups and some former employees that its working environment caused leukemia. Samsung said 26 of its employees who worked at its chip plants had been diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma, and 10 of them had died of cancer. Civic groups say there are many more workers who have fallen ill due to a hazardous working environment.
Rare earth quotas raised
China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday it was issuing a second batch of rare earth export quotas for this year, with the second batch totaling 15,738 tonnes. China produces 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in electronics and defense and renewable energy industries. The WTO ruled last week that China breached trade law by curbing exports of eight raw materials, a judgement Europe and the US said meant China should also be forced to increase exports of 17 rare earths.
India inflation hits 9.44%
India’s annual inflation accelerated to 9.44 percent last month, official data showed yesterday, increasing pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates further. The rise in the benchmark wholesale price index — the government’s most-watched cost-of-living barometer — was up from May’s 9.06 percent, the ministry reported. The Reserve Bank of India has increased key rates 10 times since March last year and it is expected to raise them again at its next monetary policy meeting later this month despite signs the economy is losing steam.
GDP grows despite quake
New Zealand’s economy grew a better-than-expected 0.8 percent in the March quarter, despite a deadly earthquake, data showed yesterday, sending the local dollar up to a record high against the greenback. Finance Minister Bill English said the fourth-quarter figures — double the forecast 0.4 percent — showed the resilience of the economy in the face of the February earthquake, which shattered Christchurch and left 181 people dead. The Statistics New Zealand data also revealed full year growth of 1.5 percent, also above expectations.
Yum up on overseas sales
Yum Brands Inc, owner of the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains, said on Wednesday that strong sales overseas served up 10 percent growth in its second-quarter profit, even though its US business continued to struggle. Yum’s sales in China rose fast, and its profits there soared. But the company reported across-the-board declines in the US, including a 5 percent drop in revenue at Taco Bell restaurants open at least a year. Louisville-based Yum said it earned US$316 million, or US$0.65 per share, for the quarter that ended June 11, up from US$286 million, or US$0.59 per share, a year earlier. Its revenue rose 9 percent to US$2.8 billion.
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
Swancor Renewable Energy Co (上緯新能源) yesterday announced plans for a 4.4 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind project off Miaoli County as part of its commitment toward Taiwan’s energy transformation, the company said in a statement. The “Formosa 4” project includes three deep-water wind farms 18km to 20km off the coast, Swancor Renewable CEO Lucas Lin (林雍堯) said, adding that planning for the project began last year. A proposal for Formosa 4 was this week submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company said. Swancor Renewable jointly developed the Formosa 1 project, a 128 megawatt (MW) wind farm about 4km off Miaoli and the
INVEST IN TAIWAN: A metal components casting firm and the world’s largest maker of aluminum bicycle rims also obtained approvals to join the program Solar Applied Materials Technology Co (SOLAR, 光洋應用材料), a part of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) “green supply chain,” has pledged to invest NT$1 billion (US$34.1 million) to build a new plant at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. SOLAR has been collaborating with TSMC to extract precious metals from waste and reuse them as “sputtering target” material in high-end semiconductor manufacturing, a TSMC press release issued in May said. Established in 1978, SOLAR also offers key materials and integrated services to customers in the optoelectronics, information and communications technology, petrochemicals and consumer electronics industries,