US firms pessimistic
US businesses are increasingly pessimistic about their prospects as a bilateral trade dispute rumbles on, with growing numbers of companies expecting their revenues and investment to shrink, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said yesterday in its annual China Business Report. The report said that 75 percent of US firms opposed Washington’s use of punitive tariffs to force Beijing into a trade deal and market-access reforms. About half of companies surveyed said they expect this year’s revenues to increase year-on-year, while just over a quarter expect them to fall — compared with just 6.1 percent in the previous year’s survey.
University slams Foxconn
The University of Wisconsin says it has received just US$700,000 of the US$100 million that Foxconn Technology Group (富士康) pledged to fund engineering and innovation research at the school’s Madison campus. The Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday reported that progress has been slow since the company made the promise in August last year. University spokesman John Lucas said that there had been “no significant progress in discussions” on the investment that was touted at the time as the largest research partnership in the university’s history. The official partnership agreement did not mention a specific dollar figure or when the company would provide the funds. Foxconn declined to confirm how much money it has invested in the university, but said it remains committed to engineering and research there.
Public housing planned
Supply of public housing could increase next year as the city-state on Tuesday introduced measures aimed at making such homes more affordable. Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong (黃循財) said the measures would help more citizens from lower to upper-middle income households buy their first homes. The Housing & Development Board would probably have to increase supply next year to meet the additional demand expected to stem from the changes, the Ministry of National Development said. The new measures, which do not apply to the private sector, took effect yesterday.
Fiscal stimulus ruled out
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said that the government is sticking to its balanced budget policy, tempering expectations for fiscal stimulus in Europe’s largest economy. “As a federal government, we take seriously the responsibility for a solid budget policy,” Merkel told an event organized by the taxpayers’ federation. “I can assure you that we are sticking to the goal of a balanced budget.” Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz earlier in the day said that the government was ready to pump “many, many billions of euros” into its economy to counter any significant slowdown in growth.
Trade surplus grows
The nation’s trade surplus last month widened dramatically from July, backed by a strong increase in smartphone shipments, as its surplus with the US continued to increase, Customs Department data released yesterday showed. The surplus came in at US$3.435 billion, up from US$43 million in July and beating a government forecast for a surplus of US$1.7 billion, the department said. Exports rose 12.6 percent from the July to US$25.885 billion, while imports fell 2.1 percent to US$22.450 billion, it said.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the
SCATTERED: Production would be dispersed among a number of countries, which would bring an end to so-called world factories, Hon Hai chairman Young Liu said Decentralized production would be the new focus in manufacturing, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) yesterday told an online forum held by the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所). “The COVID-19 pandemic exerted a heavy impact on supply chains as well as production ... [production] would no longer be concentrated in solely one country, this is the end of what we used to call world factories,” Liu said during a panel discussion hosted by MIC director Victor Tsan (詹文男). As the US and China continue to dominate and sway international relations, the rest of the world is