EU car sales continue to rise
European car sales rose a 20th consecutive month last month, bolstered by a reviving economy and new models from Renault SA, BMW AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Registrations increased 6.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.21 million vehicles, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said in a statement yesterday. Four-month sales jumped 8.1 percent to 4.85 million cars. The gains extend the auto market’s longest growth streak since the ACEA began compiling figures in 1990 and maintain a recovery from a two-decade low reached in 2013. The ACEA gathers figures from 27 of the 28 EU countries, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
S Korea to double range
South Korea is to double the daily trading range of shares starting next month as the country seeks to boost the appeal of its US$1.3 trillion equities market. Commencing on June 15, stocks on the KOSPI and KOSDAQ indexes would be able to move 30 percent compared with the current level of 15 percent, the Korea Exchange said in an e-mailed statement. The South Korean Financial Services Commission first announced the plan in September last year, after the 200-day average trading volume of the benchmark stock gauge fell in July last year to its lowest level since 2007.
Jack Ma bemoans lawsuit
The founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) has defended the e-commerce giant’s stance against counterfeit goods and expressed regret over a lawsuit filed by the owner of luxury brands Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Jack Ma (馬雲) yesterday said his company cooperates with brand owners to fight counterfeiting and has a large staff of employees dedicated to that. A lawsuit filed by France’s Kering SA last week in a US court accuses Alibaba of cooperating with and profiting from sales of counterfeit goods. Speaking at a news conference in Seoul, Ma said: “We express regret about the company’s choice to sue us and not to cooperate with us to fight against counterfeit goods.” Ma complained the lawsuit was “creating internal conflict” rather than cooperation to fight a “common enemy.”
MasterCard complaint likely
MasterCard Inc is poised to receive an antitrust complaint from EU watchdogs probing card-payment fees, according to three people with knowledge of the case. Regulators might send a statement of objections to MasterCard before the end of July, the people said. Such filings in antitrust probes are usually a precursor for fines. EU antitrust regulators have targeted swipe fees on credit and debit cards for more than a decade, warning that the way the charges are collectively agreed on is anti-competitive.
Electricity slowing growth
Power outages are the biggest brake on South Africa’s economic growth, Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene said on Monday, as factories, homes and offices across the country continue to suffer from long electricity cuts. South Africa is forecast to grow at 2 percent this year, far below the rate needed to ease high unemployment and growing frustration among many young blacks more than two decades after the end of apartheid. Nene also said the country’s electricity shortages were due to “inadequate maintenance of the power plants and distribution networks resulting in deteriorating and unreliable performance.”
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
NERVOUS MARKET: With the infection sources still unknown for three COVID-19 cases that had departed Taiwan, investors have become uneasy, an analyst said Local shares yesterday came under heavy downward pressure, falling more than 1 percent as renewed fears over a possible increase in domestic COVID-19 infections hit market sentiment after the nation last week reported a case related to a Belgian national. Selling focused on the bellwether electronics sector, led by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), which pushed down the broader market as investors ignored gains posted by tech heavyweights on the US market at the end of last week, dealers said. The TAIEX closed down 151.77 points, or 1.2 percent, at 12,513.03, on turnover of NT$231.43 billion (US$7.84 billion). Foreign