Authorities raid Coincheck
Japanese authorities yesterday raided virtual currency exchange Coincheck Inc, a week after the Tokyo-based firm lost US$530 million in cryptocurrency to hackers. The raid comes as bitcoin dipped to less than US$9,000 for the first time since November last year after India on Thursday said it would take measures to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies. The search of Coincheck’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Shibuya District was carried out by the Japanese Financial Services Agency, which had already slapped the company with an administrative order following the hack. Government officials have suggested Coincheck lacked proper security measures, making itself vulnerable to theft.
SUVs, pickups pad US sales
Automakers reported mixed US car sales for last month, with strong demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks continuing to provide a cushion in a declining overall auto market. Ford Motor Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Honda Motor Co all reported declines in year-on-year sales, while General Motors Co scored a modest increase and Toyota Motor Corp reported a more substantial jump. Overall new car sales totaled 1.15 million, up 1 percent compared with January last year, Autodata Ltd said, adding that last month’s figures mean the market is on track for annual sales of 17.12 million.
Deutsche Bank reports loss
Deutsche Bank AG yesterday said that US President Donald Trump’s tax reforms pushed it into the red last year. The Frankfurt, Germany-based bank said in a statement that its net loss last year totaled 512 million euros (US$640.8 million), narrower than the loss of 1.4 billion euros in 2016. Revenue last year fell to 26.4 billion euros, compared with 30 billion euros in 2016. However, at a pretax level, Deutsche Bank was back in the black, notching up a profit of almost 1.3 billion euros, compared with a loss of 810 million euros in 2016.
CBS mulling Viacom merger
US TV network CBS Corp on Thursday announced that it would explore a possible merger with Viacom Inc amid accelerating consolidation in the media industry. The CBS board “has established a special committee of independent directors to evaluate a potential combination with Viacom,” CBS said in a news release after the stock market closed. The move opens the potential to rejoin two companies that were split in 2006, combining CBS with Viacom’s networks, which include Nickelodeon, MTV, Black Entertainment Television and Comedy Central.
Budget to help farmers, poor
Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced a federal budget with a string of populist giveaways, from affordable housing to a health plan for millions of the poor, in an attempt to woo voters ahead of national elections next year. Speaking in parliament, Jaitley also announced a liberalization of agricultural exports, which would increase from US$30 billion to US$100 billion per year, to help push up crop prices for farmers. The government is also to help build more than 5 million affordable houses for the poor in the next financial year, which runs from April 1 to March 31 next year.
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
UPGRADE AND TRANSFORM: Although the cross-strait trade deal might remain, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said businesses should prepare for any disruptions Taiwan might face a decline in foreign trade with China if the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) ends this year, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday. The agreement, which was signed and put into effect in 2010 to reduce trade barriers across the Taiwan Strait, is expected to end this year, despite not having an exact termination date. “We have not received notification [from China] that it wishes to terminate ECFA,” Shen told reporters prior to attending a meeting at the Legislative Yuan. “Even if we are notified, the agreement would only cease after six months.” While acknowledging the
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this