Seoul, Beijing extend deal
South Korea and China have agreed to extend their currency swap deal, Seoul said yesterday, easing concerns that the deal would fall through due to tensions over a US missile defense system. Bank of Korea, South Korea’s central bank, and its finance ministry said in a joint statement that the two Asian countries renewed the deal worth 64 trillion won or 360 billion yuan (US$55 billion) for another three years. Currency swap deals allow countries to borrow money from other countries in their own currency, useful especially at a time of financial turmoil.
Virgin backs Hyperloop One
British billionaire Richard Branson on Thursday placed another bet on the future with an investment in Hyperloop One, which is developing super-high-speed transportation systems. Hyperloop One said Branson’s Virgin Group Ltd would take the company global and rebrand itself as Virgin Hyperloop One in the near future. Branson has joined the board of Hyperloop One, which is to develop pods that would transport passenger and mixed-use cargo at speeds of 402km per hour. The pod lifts above a track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to low aerodynamic drag.
HSBC chooses new CEO
British banking giant HSBC Holdings PLC on Thursday said it had chosen John Flint, its head of retail banking and wealth management, to succeed Stuart Gulliver as chief executive, who is retiring. Flint begins his new role on Feb. 21 after Gulliver had already announced his intention to step down after more than seven years, during which time he has overseen a huge reduction in staff numbers and operations amid a troubled period for the bank and sector as a whole. Flint joined HSBC in 1989 and spent the first 14 years with the bank working in Asia. HSBC employs more than 230,000 staff worldwide.
BNP to expand in Asia
BNP Paribas SA plans to significantly increase the number of client advisers employed by its Asian wealth-management business, seeing an opportunity in the retreat of some European rivals from the region. BNP has been investing and hiring in Asia for several years and intends to continue its push, said Vincent Lecomte, co-head of the French bank’s wealth-management business. “The best way for us to grow is to attract new clients as well as new teams,” Lecomte said in an interview in Paris. He said the bank intends to recruit a few dozen relationship managers by 2020.
Tesla recalls Model X’s
Tesla Inc on Thursday said that it is recalling Model X sport utility vehicles to fix second-row seat-backs which might shift forward during crashes. Internal testing revealed that cables in second-row fold-flat seats in last year’s and this year’s models might need to be adjusted to “ensure the safety” of those riding inside, a Tesla spokesperson said in an e-mail on Thursday. “We just ask that you temporarily avoid having two adults sit in the second row left and center seating positions at the same time.” The number of Model X vehicles being recalled was estimated at 11,000, with only a small percentage expected to have the seat cable problem. While Tesla cars have been met with high demand and glowing safety reviews, the firm has struggled to crank models off the assembly line.
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
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
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to