Hackers spying for decade
Hackers, most likely from China, have been spying on governments and businesses in Southeast Asia and India uninterrupted for a decade, researchers at Internet security company FireEye Inc said yesterday. The cyberespionage operations dated back to at least 2005 and “focused on targets — government and commercial — who hold key political, economic and military information about the region,” FireEye said in a report, adding: “Such a sustained, planned development effort coupled with the [hacking] group’s regional targets and mission, lead us to believe that this activity is state-sponsored — most likely the Chinese government.” Bryce Boland, chief technology officer for Asia-Pacific at FireEye and coauthor of the report, said the attack was still ongoing, adding that the servers the attackers used were still operational, and that FireEye continued to see attacks against its clients, who number among the targets.
VW chair appears isolated
Ferdinand Piech, the grandson of the creator of the VW Beetle and the patriarch of the German automaker for more than two decades, is losing his grip on Volkswagen AG two years before his last term as chairman ends. Piech, 77, has found himself increasingly isolated after his hostile comments toward CEO Martin Winterkorn were quickly blunted by other power players at the Wolfsburg, Germany-based firm. The rebuttal may mark the beginning of the end of an era at Europe’s biggest carmaker. Volkswagen’s powerful works council, the state of Lower Saxony and even Piech’s cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, rallied to Winterkorn’s side after Piech escalated the power struggle by telling Der Spiegel in an interview on Friday that he was keeping himself “at a distance” from Winterkorn.
Elbit shifts market focus
US military spending may be flat, but that is not proving to be much of a problem for Israeli defense company Elbit Systems Ltd. The company, long dependent on the US for much of its sales, has been shifting its focus to faster growing markets in Asia and Latin America. Elbit said last month that demand from those regions helped push up its backlog of orders to US$6.3 billion at year-end, an 8 percent jump from 2013. The US market accounted for 28 percent of sales last year, still the biggest slice from any single country, including Israel. However, unlike US defense contractors that focus on large programs like airplanes, ships and tanks, Elbit is succeeding with niche products and services in high demand in emerging markets, like upgrading aircraft systems and enhancing cyberwarfare capabilities.
Australia hurt by ore prices
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday said that the low iron ore price was shaving billions of dollars off government revenue forecasts, but he would not increase taxes to make up the shortfall. Hockey said that every US$10 fall in the price of a tonne of iron ore — Australia’s most lucrative export — cuts US$2.5 billion in tax revenue a year for the government. The price has fallen from about US$100 when Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government was elected in September 2013 to less than US$48 last week due to weakening Chinese industrial demand and increased production. Hockey signaled that plans to return the national budget to surplus would be delayed when he announces his economic blueprint on May 12 for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
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,