China adds wireless players
An Alibaba Group (阿里巴巴) unit and 10 other companies are to compete for wireless subscribers in China after regulators awarded new operating licenses, a step toward opening the world’s largest mobile market. Alibaba’s HiChina unit, which offers Web site development services, and the other new operators can lease wireless capacity from the nation’s existing carriers in a trial intended to boost competition in the US$213 billion market, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday. The country’s current carriers, China Mobile Ltd (中國移動), China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd (中國聯通) and China Telecom Corp (中國電信), are all state-run. Opening the market to new operators aims to help cut prices and bring more choices to the nation’s 1.2 billion wireless users. For Alibaba, it allows China’s largest e-commerce group to develop new services to boost user loyalty.
China urbanization quickens
China’s urbanization rate is expected to hit 60 percent by 2018, according to a prominent government think tank report, two years ahead of previous official expectations, bringing a potential economic boost to the world’s second-largest economy. China’s urban population has boomed over the last three decades, with over half of all Chinese living in cities for the first time last year. Around 54 percent of the population lives in cities now, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ blue book report, the Xinhua news agency said yesterday. China’s leaders are pushing for a larger number of the country’s near 1.4 billion population to live in cities, a drive to boost economic output and reignite growth that slowed to a 13-year low of 7.8 percent last year.
Textron buys plane maker
American industrial conglomerate Textron announced it has agreed to pay US$1.4 billion to purchase US business and defense plane builder Beechcraft in a cash deal. The transaction is due to be finalized in the first half of next year, subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions, the companies said. Beechcraft, previously known as Hawker Beechcraft, exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just 10 months ago to restructure its debt while being shielded from creditors and solving its financing problems. After purchasing all outstanding equity interests in Beech Holdings — Beechcraft’s parent company — Textron, which produces Cessna planes and Bell helicopters, will namely buy up patents for the Hawker 4000 business jet.
US benefits claimants fall
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop since November last year. However, economists say the figures from late last month and this month are warped by seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The US Labor Department reported on Thursday that the less-volatile four-week average rose 4,250 to 348,000. Claims had jumped 75,000 over the two weeks that ended Dec. 14 before plunging last week. The Labor Department struggles to account for seasonal hiring by retailers and other businesses and for temporary layoffs of cafeteria workers and other employees at schools that close for the holidays.
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
ROW: A probe would determine if the rights of shareholders who were not allowed to vote yesterday had been violated, while the stock exchange also wants answers The election of board directors yesterday at Tatung Co (大同) sparked controversy after the company blocked some institutional and individual shareholders from participating in the general shareholders’ meeting, prompting the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to announce that the vote would be investigated. Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) was re-elected as chairwoman of the household-appliance maker’s nine-member board, but prior to the vote she announced that several shareholders would not have voting rights. They were being denied a vote because they had contravened the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act (企業併購法), and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and