H&M trims expansion
Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) cut its store expansion plan as the Swedish clothing retailer’s earnings fell for an eighth consecutive quarter and the buildup of unsold garments worsened. Pretax profit dropped 1.3 percent to 5.93 billion kronor (US$639.7 million) in the three months through last month. Analysts had expected 6 billion kronor. H&M said it would open 45 fewer stores than originally planned this year. The good news is that H&M’s sales rose 12 percent this month, the first month of the third quarter.
Apple buys self-driving firm
Apple Inc has bought struggling self-driving vehicle start-up Drive.ai, as it continues to explore the potential market for robotic vehicles, despite curtailing its work on the technology. The Cupertino, California-based company on Wednesday confirmed its acquisition of Drive.ai without disclosing the price. A filing with California labor regulators disclosed that Drive.ai planned to close its doors today, laying off 90 people. Apple did not say whether its deal included the engineers who were set to lose their jobs.
Leak handling ‘clumsy’
Ireland’s incoming central bank chief was criticized yesterday for his “clumsy” handling of an accidental budget leak that he blamed on hacking. In a damning report, the State Services Commission said that Secretary of the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf was more intent on blaming others for the security breach than addressing his own failures and those of his department. Makhlouf is to leave his job in Wellington this week before becoming Central Bank of Ireland governor in September.
Renault change ‘not needed’
French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday said there was no need to change France’s stake in automaker Renault SA, insisting that the issue had nothing to do with the crisis faced by its Japanese partner, Nissan Motor Co. Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan and the French state in turn holds a 15-percent stake in Renault. “There is no reason to change the cross-shareholdings, the governance and ... the state’s holding in Renault, which has nothing to do with Nissan,” Macron said in Tokyo. “It is not by changing the shareholdings that Nissan will get better.”
Instagram to add ad space
Instagram on Wednesday said it plans to launch advertising on its Explore page, expanding marketing opportunities on the Facebook Inc-owned social network. In the coming months, ads are to appear on the Explore feed, where users go to discover content aligned with their interests, an Instagram blog post said. The statement said the ad rollout would be done “slowly and thoughtfully.”
Blackstone buys offices
Blackstone Group LP has struck its biggest deal in Australia, agreeing to buy A$1.52 billion (US$1.06 billion) of offices in Sydney’s central business district. New York-based Blackstone is to take control of the office space above Scentre Group’s Westfield mall on Sydney’s main shopping strip. Scentre is to retain ownership of the mall and Sydney Tower, a 309m-tall landmark housing an observation deck and revolving restaurant.
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
INVEST IN TAIWAN: A metal components casting firm and the world’s largest maker of aluminum bicycle rims also obtained approvals to join the program Solar Applied Materials Technology Co (SOLAR, 光洋應用材料), a part of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) “green supply chain,” has pledged to invest NT$1 billion (US$34.1 million) to build a new plant at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. SOLAR has been collaborating with TSMC to extract precious metals from waste and reuse them as “sputtering target” material in high-end semiconductor manufacturing, a TSMC press release issued in May said. Established in 1978, SOLAR also offers key materials and integrated services to customers in the optoelectronics, information and communications technology, petrochemicals and consumer electronics industries,
‘SWARM TECH’: Joint venture FARobot is to develop autonomous mobile robots that would first be deployed in Hon Hai’s factories to optimize production efficiency Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and Adlink Technology Inc (凌華科技) have formed a robotic venture that aims to use “swarm technology” to create robots that can communicate with one another on the factory floor to optimize production efficiency. Hon Hai is Apple Inc’s leading iPhone assembler and the world’s largest contract electronics maker, while Adlink supplies industrial computers and Internet of Things solutions. Through a subsidiary, Hyield Venture Capital Co (鴻揚創投), Hon Hai holds a 51 percent stake in autonomous mobile robot (AMR) developer FARobot (法博智能移動), while Adlink owns the remaining 49 percent. Together, the two companies put up NT$200