Fashion boss disappears
The chairman of one of China’s most prominent fashion firms, Metersbonwe (美特斯邦威), has disappeared, the company said yesterday. Metersbonwe could reach neither Zhou Chengjian (周成建), ranked China’s 62nd-richest man last year by wealth publisher Hurun, nor the secretary of the board, it said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Trading in its shares would remain suspended “to protect investors’ interests,” the company said. Without citing a source, the Qianjiang Evening News said Zhou might have been detained in connection with an insider trading case. Hurun estimated Zhou’s net worth at US$4.1 billion.
Industrial production slips
Industrial production decreased by 0.3 percent in November from a month earlier, weighed down by falling activity in the manufacturing sector, the economy ministry said yesterday. Manufacturing output was down by 0.8 percent month-on-month, while construction output increased by 1.6 percent and energy output was up 2.5 percent, the ministry said. Other data released showed that exports inched up by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent to 99.3 billion euros (US$108 billion) in November. Imports grew more strongly, rising by 1.6 percent to 79.6 billion euros, meaning that the trade surplus fell to 19.7 billion euros in November from 20.5 billion euros in October.
Time Warner suspects hack
Time Warner Cable Inc on Thursday said the e-mail addresses and passwords of about 320,000 of its customers in the US might have been stolen by hackers. The company was told by the FBI about the possible compromise and has yet to determine how the information was stolen. However, the company said there is no evidence of a breach of the Time Warner Cable systems that operate customer e-mail accounts. The company said it is likely that the e-mails and passwords were previously stolen either through malware downloaded during phishing attacks, or indirectly through data breaches of other companies that stored the company’s customer information.
Noble downgraded to junk
Embattled trader Noble Group Ltd saw its credit rating downgraded to junk status by the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency on Thursday, citing the Hong Kong-based firm’s weakening “liquidity position.” Noble’s long-term corporate credit rating was lowered to “BB+” from “BBB-,” the ratings agency said, adding that the current depressed commodities markets and heightened risk aversion by lenders could complicate the company’s fund raising plans for the next few months. S&P’s move followed a similar move by Moody’s Investors Service in late last month.
Gap sales fall 5 percent
Gap Inc’s slump continued through the holiday season. The San Francisco-based retailer, which operates stores under its own brand, as well as Banana Republic and Old Navy, said on Thursday that a key sales measure fell 5 percent for the five-week period ending on Saturday last week. The decline was worse than the 3.5 percent drop analysts expected, on average. The company’s total revenue dropped 4 percent to US$2.01 billion for the five-week period. Gap’s shares dropped more than 8 percent in after-hours trading to US$24.52. Shares have been down nearly 40 percent for the past 12 months.
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