Bitcoin drops on probe
Bitcoin prices plummeted after the People’s Bank of China announced it was investigating exchange platforms trading in the virtual currency. The Chinese central bank said it had dispatched inspection teams to several of the nation’s major bitcoin trading platforms in Beijing and Shanghai. The move, announced on Wednesday, sent the Bitcoin Price Index, an average of the major exchanges, to drop more than 15 percent to an intraday low of US$752.11 on Wednesday. Prices recovered slightly to US$768.76 yesterday, still far below its highs last week. The investigation was targeting foreign currency exchange, market manipulation, money laundering and financial security risks, the bank said.
Uniqlo profit jumps 45%
Uniqlo’s parent company yesterday said that quarterly net profit jumped by almost half from a year ago, as it refocused on a strategy aimed at luring thrifty shoppers. Fast Retailing Co’s net profit rose 45 percent to ￥70 billion (US$609 million) in the fiscal first quarter to November, while revenue edged up 1.6 percent to ￥529 billion. The company, Asia’s biggest retailer, said sales were under pressure in September and October owing to “unseasonably warm weather.” However, “once temperatures dropped in November, same-store sales picked up,” it said in a statement, referring to locations that have been open more than a year. The company left unchanged its annual forecast for a ￥100 billion net profit on revenue of ￥1.85 trillion.
Alphabet shifts to balloons
Google parent company Alphabet Inc on Wednesday confirmed that it is opting for balloons instead of drones in its quest to deliver Internet service from the sky. Alphabet said that it gave up on its Internet drone project, called Titan, about a year ago. Its staff moved elsewhere at Google X, including a project called Loon focused on creating a network of high-altitude balloons that would provide Internet service to people on the ground no matter how remote. Some people from the team also shifted to Project Wing, which is creating delivery drones.
Richemont posts sales gain
Richemont, the maker of Cartier necklaces and IWC Schaffhausen timepieces, reported an unexpected gain in Christmas-season revenue, boosted by demand for luxury jewelry and a rebound in watch sales at its own stores. Revenue gained 5 percent excluding currency shifts in the three months through December, the Geneva-based company said yesterday. Sales improved in all regions and businesses, giving Richemont some respite after revenue fell 12 percent in the first half. Revenue in Asia-Pacific, which accounted for about a third of total sales in the first half, gained 10 percent, the first increase in two years.
Holiday lifts Tesco sales
Supermarket chain Tesco PLC, Britain’s biggest retailer, yesterday announced rising sales during the festive period, which followed a strong third quarter. Chief executive Dave Lewis said that the company delivered a third successful Christmas in the UK and sales rose for an eighth consecutive quarter. Total group sales jumped 6.5 percent during Tesco’s third quarter ending November compared with a year earlier. In the following six weeks, sales grew 4.3 percent.
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
ROW: A probe would determine if the rights of shareholders who were not allowed to vote yesterday had been violated, while the stock exchange also wants answers The election of board directors yesterday at Tatung Co (大同) sparked controversy after the company blocked some institutional and individual shareholders from participating in the general shareholders’ meeting, prompting the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to announce that the vote would be investigated. Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) was re-elected as chairwoman of the household-appliance maker’s nine-member board, but prior to the vote she announced that several shareholders would not have voting rights. They were being denied a vote because they had contravened the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act (企業併購法), and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and