India’s costs closer to coal
India’s solar power cost fell to a new low, edging closer to coal, as declining panel prices and increased competition drew offers to build plants from groups backed by BlackRock Inc and Electricite de France SA. India, which uses competitive bidding to select companies offering to generate clean energy at the lowest cost, awarded 750 megawatts of permits on Friday, half of that eligible to use imported equipment. The Indian government also offered grants to offset project costs for the first time, helping attract bids for triple the capacity auctioned. Winners of the import-eligible capacity, who bid seeking the least from the 18.75 billion rupees (US$302 million) of subsidies, priced electricity from solar panels at an average 6,500 rupees a megawatt-hour, down 25 percent from a national tender two years ago, said Jasmeet Khurana, head of market intelligence at solar consultancy Bridge to India Energy Pty. India plans a sixfold increase in solar capacity drawing US$11.7 billion of investment by 2017 to reduce blackouts as plunging panel prices help photovoltaic projects compete with coal and gas-fired plants.
S Korea, Australia ink deal
South Korea and Australia signed yesterday a currency swap deal worth US$4.5 billion, the Bank of Korea said, in a move to boost trades and help curb currency swings. The deal — signed by the countries’ central bank governors — allows the two nations to purchase and repurchase each other’s currency of up to 5 trillion won, the Bank of Korea said in a statement. The three-year deal, which is renewable upon agreement, is to allow greater flexibility for businesses to use local currencies for trade that have been commonly settled in US dollars, the statement said. “The agreement is designed to promote bilateral trade for the economic development of the two countries,” it added. Bilateral trade amounted to US$30 billion last year, the bank said.
US$140m to fund innovation
US President Barack Obama plans to commit US$140 million for two manufacturing innovation initiatives led by the US Department of Defense in the Midwest, the White House said in a statement. An institute to be located in the Detroit area is to focus on “lightweight and modern metals manufacturing,” the administration said in a statement on Friday. Aluminum, titanium and high-strength steel manufacturers are to work with universities and labs on research and development. A digital manufacturing institute in Chicago is to be the host for manufacturing and software companies to develop interoperable software and hardware for supply chains and to reduce manufacturing costs. The consortium’s 41 companies include Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc.
Bankers to circumvent cap
The bosses of Britain’s biggest banks are on course to be awarded millions of pounds in share payments to circumvent a bonus cap imposed by Brussels — a move that risks inflaming the toxic row over City of London pay deals. The new payments would be in addition to bank leaders’ basic pay because the EU is limiting bonuses to 100 percent of salaries — or 200 percent if shareholders approve larger payments. The big-four high street banks are consulting shareholders about bonuses for chief executives that hit the 200 percent limit, alongside discussions on additional share payments so that none of the elite boardroom-level bankers would be worse off as a result of the cap.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be
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,
‘SWARM TECH’: Joint venture FARobot is to develop autonomous mobile robots that would first be deployed in Hon Hai’s factories to optimize production efficiency Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and Adlink Technology Inc (凌華科技) have formed a robotic venture that aims to use “swarm technology” to create robots that can communicate with one another on the factory floor to optimize production efficiency. Hon Hai is Apple Inc’s leading iPhone assembler and the world’s largest contract electronics maker, while Adlink supplies industrial computers and Internet of Things solutions. Through a subsidiary, Hyield Venture Capital Co (鴻揚創投), Hon Hai holds a 51 percent stake in autonomous mobile robot (AMR) developer FARobot (法博智能移動), while Adlink owns the remaining 49 percent. Together, the two companies put up NT$200