US firms in anti-trust probes
Beijing yesterday said it has been investigating two US companies — including chipmaker Qualcomm — since last year over potential anti-trust violations. The confirmation by the National Development and Reform Commission, one of the country’s three anti-trust watchdogs, came after both companies had already acknowledged the investigations. Commission official Xu Kunlin (許昆林) discussed the probes yesterday at a press conference, saying they were launched after separate complaints by unnamed industry players in the country that the US companies were abusing their market dominance to charge high prices.
Swiss curbs risky: Moody’s
Ratings agency Moody’s warned on Tuesday that immigration curbs in Switzerland would hit the economy and the country’s key banking sector, after voters narrowly backed proposals to curtail immigration from the EU in a referendum on Feb. 9. “The introduction of quotas on labor immigration could reduce housing demand, thereby exerting pressure on residential house prices, and potentially leading to a faster-than-anticipated slowdown in residential housing markets,” Moody’s said. “In addition, negative repercussions on Swiss-EU trade may put pressure on export-oriented businesses, thereby leading to weaker corporate asset quality.”
Hockey urges asset sales
State governments that sell assets such as airports and utilities as part of a national policy to rekindle economic growth will get new tax arrangements to offset lost revenue, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said yesterday. Hockey wants to reinvest the money from asset sales into new national infrastructure that he hopes will fill the investment void left by the slowing mining industry. The government hopes sales of state firms will raise as much as A$130 billion (US$117 billion), but the policy would also result in some lost revenue for states by putting the businesses in private hands.
Sony sells 5.4 million PS4s
Sony on Monday appeared to be winning the latest battle in a long-running video game console war. The Japanese giant announced that it has sold more than 5.4 million PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles since the new-generation gaming system debuted in November. Microsoft said it sold 1 million Xbox One consoles in the day after its release and that figure reportedly tripled by the start of this year. It has not released its latest Xbox One sales.
NASDAQ opens center
NASDAQ has opened a customer service center in the Philippines in a coup for the country’s rapidly growing outsourcing industry. The operator of the namesake US stock exchange yesterday said the office will be part of its efforts to provide 24-hour support services for its corporate clients. It says the Manila office has 170 staff.
Coca-Cola Q4 sales fall
Coca-Cola’s fourth-quarter profit fell as the world’s biggest beverage maker once again sold less soft drinks in North America. For the three months ended Dec. 31, Coca-Cola earned US$1.71 billion, or US0.38 per share, on revenue of US$11.04 billion. The maker of Sprite, Dasani and Vitaminwater water said on Tuesday that sales volume declined 1 percent in North America. It also saw slower growth in emerging markets, such as India and China.
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,