GDP shrinks 0.5 percent
The economy saw its first decline since October 2009 last month as manufacturing and investment shrank amid the ruble’s worst rout in a decade. GDP shrank 0.5 percent last month from a year earlier after a 0.5 percent increase in October, the Ministry of Economics said on its Web site. Seasonally adjusted GDP fell 0.2 percent in the month after a 0.1 percent advance in October. The world’s biggest energy exporter is facing its first recession since 2009 next year as oil, trading near a five-year low and sanctions imposed over Ukraine pushed Russia into its biggest currency crisis since 1998. With oil prices at US$60 a barrel, the economy might contract about 4 percent next year, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov said.
Xiaomi raises US$1.1bn
Xiaomi Corp (小米) raised US$1.1 billion in a new funding round that values China’s largest smartphone vendor at US$45 billion, or about triple its closest competitor, Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想). Investors include Yuri Milner’s DST, GIC Pte and All-Stars Investment Ltd, according to a statement posted yesterday on Xiaomi chief executive Lei Jun’s (雷軍) verified microblog. Lei is expanding overseas and unveiling new products, including an air purifier, to build on growth in China, where Xiaomi leads Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc in smartphone sales. Lei plans to sell 100 million phones next year after expanding into India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Chinese firms merge
China’s government said it merged Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co (北京能源投資) and Jingmei Group (京煤集團) into a 200 billion yuan (US$32 billion) business in line with its policy to improve efficiency in the energy industry and reduce pollution. The merger of Beijing Energy and Jingmei, a coal supplier based in the capital, will improve electricity supply, Lin Fusheng (林撫生), head of Beijing’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, said in a report by Xinhua news agency yesterday. The merger took place on Sunday, Beijing Energy — which invests in electricity projects — said on its Web site. The new company, Beijing Energy Group Co, is to manage coal-fired power plants, renewable energy projects, heating supply and coal mine development, Xinhua reported. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), in a pact with US President Barack Obama, agreed to cap China’s carbon emissions by 2030 and use renewable sources for 20 percent of the nation’s energy.
Germans eye oil benefit
Germany expects low oil prices to boost growth in Europe’s biggest economy by between 0.2 and 0.3 percent next year, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday, citing an internal memo for Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Oil prices have fallen by about 45 percent since June. The ministry expects oil prices to remain low in the long term and increase to about US$80 a barrel only by 2018, Der Spiegel reported. The memo also said that Germany would pay about 12 billion euros (US$14.62 billion) less to oil-producing nations than it did this year, a 25 percent reduction, Der Spiegel said. The ministry declined immediate comment. Germany expects the economy to expand by 1.3 percent next year after predicted growth of 1.2 percent this year. OPEC expects oil prices to rebound to between US$70 and US$80 a barrel by the end of next year, they said last week.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and