Didi raises US$5.5bn
China’s ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行) on Friday said it had raised more than US$5.5 billion in new financing amid reports that the fund injection makes it the most valuable start-up in Asia with a worth more than US$50 billion. Beijing based-Didi, which claims nearly 90 percent of China’s ride-hailing market after buying rival Uber Technologies Inc’s assets in the country last year, said it would use the money to “support its global strategy and continued investments in AI-based technologies.” Didi’s valuation makes it No. 1 in Asia and No. 2 in the world after Uber’s US$68 billion, according to rankings by the Wall Street Journal.
GDP surpasses expectation
The economy has fared better than expected under the uncertainty caused by US President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, with GDP up 0.6 percent in the first quarter. The GDP growth, announced on Friday by the Institute of Statistics, slightly beat analysts’ expectations of a 0.5 percent boost. GDP growth was partly driven by a boost in exports, which grew 11.2 percent in the first quarter. Eighty percent go to the US. The government and central bank expect GDP to rise between 1.3 percent and 2.3 percent this year.
Crude prices buoy expansion
Rising crude prices helped Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp easily beat analysts’ quarterly profit expectations on Friday, setting an upbeat tone as the two companies press ahead with shale oil expansions. First-quarter results were especially robust at Exxon, with quarterly profit more than doubling to US$4.01 billion, even as production fell 4 percent. Chevron swung to a US$2.68 billion quarterly profit and turned cash flow positive, earning more than it spent, a milestone Wall Street analysts had long sought. Chevron’s results were helped by US$2.1 billion in asset sales.
Time not for sale
Time Inc’s stock tumbled on Friday after the publisher said its board is not considering a sale of the company. The New York-based company said that a number of parties expressed interest in the business, but Time’s board decided the company was better off continuing with its current plan, which includes increasing revenue from its digital operations and using its brand on other platforms such as TV, events and new products. Aside from its namesake magazine, it also owns brands like People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. Shares ended the day down US$3.1, or 17 percent, at US$15.2.
Qualcomm slashes forecast
Qualcomm Inc is slashing its profit expectations after saying that Apple Inc is now refusing to pay royalties on technology used in the iPhone. Apple sued Qualcomm earlier this year, saying that the San Diego chipmaker has abused its control over essential technology and charged excessive licensing fees. Qualcomm on Friday said that Apple now says it will not pay Qualcomm any fees until the dispute is resolved. Qualcomm now expects earnings per share between US$0.75 and US$0.85 for the April to June quarter. Its previous forecast was for earnings per share between US$0.90 and US$1.15.
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
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
Yageo Corp (國巨), the world’s third-largest supplier of multilayer ceramic capacitors, has formed a strategic alliance with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) to develop key electronic components for electric vehicles and digital healthcare, it said yesterday. The alliance is to help Yageo boost its revenue from high-end components for vehicles and industrial, medical and aerospace devices, as well as those used in 5G and Internet-of-Things devices, the company said. The companies signed the strategic alliance agreement at Yageo’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店). Their cooperation is to start this quarter, the companies said in a joint statement. “Through the cooperation
SUPPLY CONSTRAINTS: The transferred orders might not provide an immediate revenue boost given local chipmakers’ high utilization rates, a senior analyst said Shares of local contract chipmakers yesterday rose as much as the 10 percent daily limit, as investors bet on orders being transferred from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際) after the US imposed export restrictions on the Chinese chipmaker. United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) shares soared 10 percent to close at NT$27.5 as 380 million shares changed hands on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. UMC is the world’s No. 3 foundry by revenue, followed by SMIC, according to data from market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技). UMC has product and customer portfolios similar to those of SMIC, TrendForce said, adding that UMC offers 14-nanometer and