Duties imposed on gum
The US Department of Commerce on Friday said it had set preliminary duties up to 154 percent on imports of a food additive and thickening agent from China and Austria to offset what it said were unfairly low prices. The ruling is a victory for CP Kelco, a family-owned Atlanta-based company which filed a petition last year asking for anti-dumping duties on xanthan gum from the two countries. The US imported US$25 million of the gum from Austria and US$64 million from China in 2011. The department set a preliminary duty of 17.18 percent on imports from Austria and duties ranging from 21.69 percent to 154.07 percent on imports from China. The department will issue final duty determinations in May.
Hulu CEO to leave in April
Hulu LLC chief executive officer Jason Kilar said he is leaving the online video service two months after receiving a multimillion-dollar payout. Kilar, 41, will step down by April and is working with Hulu’s board on a transition, according to a statement yesterday on the company’s Web site. Chief technology officer Rich Tom will also exit. “The loss of Jason is a negative for all the media companies involved,” BTIG LLC analyst Rich Greenfield wrote in an e-mail. “Consumers lost one of the few executives who really understood how to put the consumer experience and user interface ahead of the business model.”
Bookseller’s sales fall flat
Barnes & Noble Inc posted a decline in retail sales in the holiday season as the largest US bookstore chain’s efforts to take on Apple Inc’s iPad with tablet-style Nooks fell flat with shoppers. Sales sank 11 percent to US$1.2 billion, the New York-based company said yesterday in a statement. Revenue at the Nook unit, which includes devices, accessories and content, fell 13 percent to US$311 million. The retailer released two new versions of the Nook tablet for the holidays, around the same time Apple introduced a smaller version of the iPad designed to keep customers from buying low-cost tablets from competitors. “Success of the iPad mini likely pressured sales of Nook tablets,” Stifel Financial Corp analyst David Schick wrote in a note yesterday. “It’s a challenging marketplace for them to compete with the likes of Apple and Amazon,” Michael Souers, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s in New York, said today in an interview. “It looks pretty bleak, long-term.”
Pilots offered unpaid leave
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has asked its captains to volunteer for unpaid leave amid a global economic slowdown that has dented long-haul travel demand, the airline said yesterday. The move came nearly a year after the company — considered a bellwether for the full-service airline industry — made a similar offer to its first officers. The airline has also frozen its intake of cadet pilots as part of a slew of cost-cutting measures. SIA has “a temporary surplus of pilots and are managing it through this scheme, which is entirely voluntary,” company spokesman Nicholas Ionides said. “The surplus of captains is limited and we regard it as temporary,” he added. SIA has more than 2,400 pilots — mostly captains and first officers. The global financial crisis had led to excess capacity and slower growth than anticipated, Ionides said.
STAYING AHEAD: Fitch said that TSMC remains technologically ahead of others, but Samsung is building a new chip fab, while China is investing in its domestic industry As escalating US-China tensions and COVID-19-related production disruptions force US technology supply chains to transform, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) US$12 billion chip fabrication plant in Arizona would be key to spurring greater US production of core semiconductor components, Fitch Ratings said. “We view the US-TSMC alliance as a first step in building a more autonomous US technology supply chain, given high barriers to entry, specifically related to the significant capital and design capability required for leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing,” Fitch said in a statement on Tuesday. “By working with TSMC, US chipmakers will not face the financial burden of incremental investment
DIVERSIFICATION: Although COVID-19 would push more companies to produce in emerging markets, DBS said that it was unlikely that firms would totally leave China Geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions are expected to accelerate the migration of manufacturing out of China, as concerns about the risk of production concentrated in one country increase, S&P Global Ratings said. Although its economic expansion might be weaker than previous levels due to the accelerated relocation of manufacturing, China’s economic growth would still be stronger than that of most other economies, the ratings agency said. “While absolute growth rates will moderate, we believe China’s economic performance will continue to be a key sovereign credit support,” S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Tan Kim Eng (陳錦榮) said in a statement on Thursday. “Its growth
Taiwan’s corporate landscape has changed significantly over the past 20 years, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) replacing Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) as the revenue leader, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電) has emerged as the most profitable firm, a survey of Taiwan’s 50 largest companies published on Tuesday last week showed. The Chinese-language CommonWealth Magazine survey ranked Taiwan’s 50 largest companies based on their revenue last year, and compared them with the results of a similar survey it conducted in 2000. Only 33 companies on the original list remained in this year’s rankings, the survey found, following two
GEOPOLITICAL RISKS: Beijing announced plans to strengthen ‘enforcement’ in Hong Kong, sparking losses across Asia led by the Hang Seng’s 5.6 percent plunge Local shares on Friday ended sharply lower amid renewed tensions between the US and China over Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (華為) and China’s plan to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong. The TAIEX on Friday finished down 197.16, or 1.79 percent, at 10,811.15 on turnover of NT$177.183 billion (US$5.9 billion), almost flat from a close of 10,814.92 on May 15. The market was down across all major sectors, in particular electronics shares, which finished down 1.99 percent from Thursday’s close. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest wafer foundry and a chip supplier