Non-urban land prices rise
Land prices outside the nation’s three main cities rose for the first time since the bursting of a property bubble in the early 1990s, adding to signs that a moderate economic recovery under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is gradually filtering to the regions. The average price of land outside Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya edged up 0.4 percent as of Jan. 1 from a year earlier, rising for the first time since 1992, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism data released yesterday showed. Falling unemployment, higher pay, low interest rates, and demand for hotels and retail space to cater to foreign tourists helped boost land prices, the ministry said. Overall, land prices rose 1.2 percent, increasing for a fourth straight year, the report said.
Paris tied for priciest city
Paris has climbed to the top of the world’s priciest cities for expatriates, tied with Singapore and Hong Kong, according to a survey released yesterday that named Caracas as the cheapest. The French capital was the only eurozone city in the top 10, rising from second-most expensive last year and from seventh position two years ago. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said it was the first time in the more than three decades that three cities were equally ranked top, after Singapore led the chart outright a year earlier. The top 10 list was dominated by Asian and European cities. Currency appreciation, inflation and devaluation, as well as political upheaval played a part in this year’s rankings, said the EIU, which surveyed 133 cities. The survey is aimed at helping companies calculate compensation packages and allowances for expatriate staff and business travelers.
Tencent cutting management
Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) is putting about 10 percent of its managers on notice, as China’s largest gaming and social media company shakes up its workforce amid cooling growth and intensified competition, people familiar with the matter said. President Martin Lau (劉熾平) late last year told an internal meeting that its lowest-performing general managers would need to leave or be demoted, mainly because not much staff pruning has occurred in the past, the people said. Tencent follows a slew of Chinese tech companies from JD.com Inc (京東) to Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行) that are shaking up their ranks. Funding has shrunk alongside a cooling in the nation’s economy.
Goldman to buy ETF channel
Goldman Sachs Group Inc agreed to buy a distribution channel for its expanding roster of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The acquisition of Standard & Poor’s Investment Advisory Services LLC gives the New York City-based bank another vehicle to bring its funds to investors through the creation of model portfolios — ready-made packages of ETFs that its asset-management arm is to oversee. Goldman currently offers 18 ETFs, which together manage about US$11.6 billion, or less than 1 percent of the US$3.8 trillion market. The deal is expected to close in the first half of the year, the group said on Monday, without disclosing the terms of the agreement. Investment Advisory Services oversees about US$33 billion in assets. The portfolios offer issuers a way to get their products into more hands and stand out in a marketplace of more than 2,000 funds. The pitch to advisers is that they can focus more on the personal side of their jobs rather than on making asset allocation choices with ETFs or single securities.
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