New airport planned
Lawmakers yesterday voted to build a controversial new US$16 billion airport near Ho Chi Minh City, as the country vies to become one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs. The project aims to ease airport congestion in the business hub and cater to an ambitious 100 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of cargo a year by 2050. If all goes to plan, the proposed airport in neighboring Dong Nai Province would turn the nation into a regional aviation hub.
Bacteria-free handset touted
BlackBerry might design a bacteria-free smartphone as it bids to become the secure mobile choice for the healthcare industry, chief executive John Chen (程守宗) said. “Healthcare workers have to be worried about one less thing to wipe down [with a bacteria-free handset],” Chen told reporters on Wednesday at a hospital north of Toronto where BlackBerry unveiled a clinical alerts pilot project. The Canadian mobile manufacturer is partnering with ThoughtWire and Cisco Systems Inc to provide nurses and doctors in a Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital unit with a portable messaging and alert system. BlackBerry is to provide the software and devices. A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that about 20 percent to 30 percent of germs transfer between a phone and a fingertip.
Garment workers on strike
More than 300 Chinese workers at a garment factory that supplies international brands such as Uniqlo have been protesting for about two weeks what they say is a unilateral decision by the management to close down. The strike is one of more than 1,000 collective actions since January by Chinese workers, who are increasingly turning to group actions in fighting for their rights. Workers at Shenzhen Artigas Clothing & Leatherware said the management is forcing them to move to another factory and they demand a proper negotiation for the relocation. Officials at Lever Style Ltd, which manages Artigas, have refused to comment, while Uniqlo Co has issued a statement urging for a peaceful resolution. The Japanese retailer said it could terminate its contract with the supplier if the matter is unresolved. Workers said they would like to receive proper payouts, including back payments for social security, overtime work and unused holidays.
H&M shares fall
Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) said that the rising US dollar would have a “very negative” effect on garment costs in the second half, after the greenback drove second-quarter profitability to the lowest level in nine years. Gross margin narrowed to 59.4 percent in the three months through last month, Stockholm-based H&M said yesterday, missing the 59.8 percent estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg. The shares fell the most in more than a month in early Stockholm trading and were down 2.2 percent to 332.50 krona at 9:03am. The vendor of US$9.95 beach dresses and US$12.95 espadrille sandals said that its purchasing costs would be “substantially increased” because of the US dollar in the second half, as Asian garment costs are often linked to the greenback. That trend has hurt other apparel retailers like Associated British Foods PLC’s Primark chain. The currency has strengthened 7.9 percent against the euro and 5.5 percent against the krona this year.
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
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
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