Fri, Jun 28, 2019 - Page 12 News List

ASE undeterred by trade dispute woes

RUSH ORDERS:Many customers have put in short-term orders due to low visibility, while the firm’s diverse fab locations would help in case it needs to move production

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter, in KAOHSIUNG

From left, ASE Technology Holding Co chief operating officer Tien Wu, chief financial officer Joseph Tung and board director Bough Lin yesterday attend the firm’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Kaohsiung.

Photo: Hung You-fang, Taipei Times

ASE Technology Holding Co (ASE, 日月光投資控股) yesterday said that the US-China trade dispute is to overshadow the world economy and decelerate the development of new technologies, but would not affect its goal of growing revenue in the next few quarters.

The dispute has proven that ASE’s longstanding strategy to globalize is imperative, given that the results of trade talks are unpredictable, chief operating officer Tien Wu (吳田玉) told reporters in Kaohsiung.

Asked whether customers of the world’s largest chip packager and tester have asked ASE to reduce the proportion of its production in China, Wu said that most customers are still assessing the matter.

However, the dispute might cause some changes to ASE’s customer portfolio, as orders from different regions might vary, he said without elaborating.

The company is worried that the dispute might drag on, which could hinder the progression of cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, Wu said.

The Kaohsiung-based firm has been diversifying its manufacturing sites, giving it the agility needed to shift production to other locations, it said.

ASE this year built production lines in Brazil and Mexico, adding to its existing fabs in 16 nations, including Taiwan, China, South Korea and countries in eastern Europe, the company said.

Its global workforce as of the end of last year had increased to about 93,891, it added.

“ASE has been scaling its global manufacturing footprint over the past 20 years,” Wu said. “We are diversifying our customers as well. We serve clients from around the globe.”

Regarding the firm’s business outlook in the second half of this year, Wu said that “visibility is poor because of several factors,” including the trade dispute, dynamics in crude supply and rising US-Iran tensions.

However, “[customer] demand remains healthy,” he added. “Low visibility has led to an influx of short-term and rush orders.”

The appearance of Siliconware Precision Industries Co Ltd (SPIL, 矽品精密) chairman Bough Lin (林文伯) at ASE’s annual shareholders’ meeting received media attention. Lin is director of ASE’s board.

It was the first time that Lin attended an ASE shareholders’ meeting following the merger of SPIL, a company cofounded by Lin’s father, and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光半導體) in April last year.

The companies are to start integrating after a restriction imposed by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce is removed on Nov. 24.

Shareholders approved the distribution of a cash dividend of NT$2.5 per share, representing a payout ratio of 42 percent based on the company’s earnings per share last year of NT$5.95, or NT$25.26 billion (US$812.2 million).

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