Japanese automakers are bracing for a potential consumer backlash should tensions with China escalate after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a shrine memorializing war-dead on former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) birthday.
Nissan Motor Co said it was “closely monitoring” developments in Japan-China ties after Abe’s visit.
The appearance at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine drew a condemnation from China in less than an hour, with Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) saying that his nation “strongly” protests.
Shares of Japan’s three biggest automakers rose in Tokyo trading yesterday.
“As a company, we have no means to intervene in politics,” Huo Jing (霍勁), a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Nissan, said by telephone. “All we can do is to be better at our job.”
Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co reported their first annual sales declines in China last year after the Japanese government purchased a group of disputed islands from their private owner, sparking nationwide protests and a consumer backlash. Abe’s visit yesterday’s coincided with Mao’s 120th birthday.
“They chose today to visit the shrine, which makes it even harder for Chinese people to accept,” said Cui Dongshu (崔東孰), deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai-based Passenger Car Association. “The signal they are sending is very dangerous. It will deter some buyers as they may worry about the safety issue of their car and even themselves if the political environment worsens.”
Toyota climbed 2.9 percent to ￥6,340 in Tokyo trading yesterday, its biggest gain since Oct. 9. Honda added 0.9 percen,t while Nissan rose 0.8 percent.
Japanese automakers are regaining ground in China, though the recovery has come at a cost as they sacrifice profit for volume, Cui said.
Abe’s visit may spark a repeat of last year when consumers boycotted Japanese cars, he said.
Thousands of Japanese cars were vandalized and businesses attacked by mobs in last year’s demonstrations. Fast Retailing Co, owner of the Uniqlo clothing brand, closed shops in Beijing at the height of the protests.
Two dealerships selling Toyota and Honda vehicles in Qingdao in eastern China were set on fire by anti-Japanese protestors last year, while many owners of Japanese-brand cars pasted Chinese flags or patriotic slogans on their vehicles in the hope of avoiding attacks.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday posted monthly revenue that suggested second-quarter sales surpassed analysts’ estimates, underscoring how its technological lead is helping the chipmaker weather the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions on its second-biggest customer Huawei Technologies Co (華為). Apple Inc’s main iPhone chipmaker posted sales of NT$120.88 billion (US$4.08 billion) for last month, up 40.8 percent year-on-year and bringing its revenue for the second quarter to NT$310.7 billion, beating the NT$308.8 billion analysts expected on average. TSMC, a barometer for the industry thanks to its heft in the global supply chain, had previously lowered its revenue outlook for this
‘POSITIVE EFFECT’: Phison this year began shipping SSDs to Japan’s largest pachinko maker, which uses the components in its machines featuring high-resolution graphics Phison Electronics Corp (群聯電子), a designer of NAND flash memory controllers and modules, yesterday reported that revenue last quarter grew 11 percent from a year earlier on the back of new orders from Japan’s largest pachinko maker. Revenue last quarter expanded to NT$10.86 billion (US$366.82 million) from NT$9.79 billion a year earlier, Phison said. However, on a quarterly basis, revenue slumped 15.62 percent from NT$12.87 billion, it said. The Miaoli-based company said that it is benefiting from growing demand for solid-state drives (SSDs) used in devices beyond computers, which is stimulating growth for the NAND flash memory industry. Pachinko machines are one