Google to launch 3D model
Google plans to start cranking out prototypes next month of a 3D tablet designed to give users immersive experiences that could include virtual reality, according to US media reports. The tablet will have a 7-inch display and an array of sophisticated cameras, sensors and software, the Wall Street Journal said in a story citing unnamed sources. The tablet was reported to be part of Project Tango worked on by a special team at the California-based technology firm. The project was said to involve giving advanced mapping and virtual reality capabilities to mobile devices powered by Google’s free Android software.
Uber seeking fresh capital
Uber, the startup app that connects people with taxis and drivers, is seeking to raise fresh capital that would give it a US$12 billion value, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The Journal said Uber, which has already raised significant venture capital, is seeking US$500 million from various investor groups. San Francisco-based Uber, launched in 2009, offers a mobile app connecting passengers and taxis along with a “black car” service. Uber is the most prominent of the apps that are shaking up the traditional taxi landscape in cities around the world. Uber has also faced regulatory issues in Europe and protests from taxi operators who claim the service is unfair competition and fails to live up to standards set for such services.
Growth forecast slashed
The nation’s growth forecast was cut this year from 3.9 percent to 2.7 percent on Friday after a weak first-quarter performance linked to new taxes and an economic freeze in the US. The government revised its outlook after the national statistics agency reported 1.8 percent growth in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, a weaker-than-expected result. The finance ministry acknowledged that tax hikes on items such as junk food and sodas, part of a fiscal reform that came into force this year, put a damper on growth. Deputy Finance Minister Fernando Aportela said the effects of the new taxes were only “transitory” and that growth would speed up in the next three-quarters of the year. The central bank had cut its own annual growth forecast on Wednesday to a range of 2.3 percent to 3.3 percent in Latin America’s second-biggest economy.
Retirement age reduced
The government pushed a flagship pension reform through parliament on Friday to lower the retirement age to 63 for some citizens, despite warnings from economists that the move could hurt the economy. A previous ‘grand coalition’ government of conservatives and Social Democrats (SPD) had agreed in 2007 to gradually raise the official retirement age to 67 from 65 between 2012 and 2029. That plan was discarded and a reduction agreed at the SPD’s behest in negotiations for the present coalition last year. The new legislation passed easily through the Bundestag lower house of parliament, thanks to the large majority enjoyed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD. Early retirement was a pet project for the SPD, though economists have warned that the nation, with its ageing population and shortage of skilled labor, could suffer under the cost.
PLANNED OUT: The government is lifting sale and export restrictions on 60% of the 20 million masks made daily, but people can still make purchases using their NHI cards Twenty thousand boxes of 50 masks each would be on sale at FamilyMart convenience stores starting tomorrow, Taiwan FamilyMart Co Ltd (全家便利商店) said yesterday. A box of 50 masks would cost NT$249 for those with FamilyMart memberships and NT$299 for those without, with no limits placed on how many boxes a person can buy, the company said. Convenience store chain operator Hi-Life International Co Ltd (萊爾富) said that it would also start selling masks from tomorrow. It has yet to announce details about prices and quantity. Hypermarket chain operator Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福) said that it would start selling packs of five
BOOSTING BUYING: A source said that the idea of pre-ordering vouchers online is being considered, but the preliminary plan is for people to buy them at post offices A stimulus voucher program to be rolled out next month to boost consumption would be available not only to Taiwanese, but also foreign nationals and Chinese spouses who hold residency permits, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday. The government is fine-tuning the details of the program, which involves issuing vouchers for in-store purchases to revive buying amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During a radio interview on Monday last week, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said that the plan is to allow anyone, regardless of age or income level, to buy NT$3,000 (US$99.89) worth of vouchers for
Delta Electronics Inc (台達電), the nation’s leading power management solutions provider, has signed an agreement to acquire Canadian software firm Trihedral Engineering Ltd to bolster its smart production efforts, it said on Saturday. Delta said in a statement that it would acquire Trihedral for C$45 million (US$32.68 million) through its 100 percent-owned subsidiary Delta Electronics (Netherlands) BV. Trihedral specializes in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and industrial Internet of Things software, which would strengthen Delta’s hardware offerings in fast-growing areas such as automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics, it said. “The collection, monitoring and analyzing of data are critical to Delta’s two
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the